Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
Need more proof that Minnesota’s in-state high school football talent was down this year?
Rivals.com released its annual report this week, showing the number of scholarship players each state is sending to FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) schools.
Minnesota has seven: James Onwualu (Notre Dame), Keelon Brookins (Wisconsin), Malik Rucker (Iowa), Jack Cottrell (Boston College), Chris Wipson (Gophers), Tyson Reinke (Kent State) and Jackson Wilson (Air Force).
For comparison, the state of Wisconsin produced 24 FBS scholarship players this year, Iowa had eight, and Idaho had seven. So Minnesota and Idaho were tied.
Last year, Minnesota produced 17 FBS signees, and 10 of those landed with the Gophers, including Philip Nelson, Jonah Pirsig, Isaac Hayes and Andre McDonald.
In 2011, Minnesota had 11 FBS signees, so maybe the number will bounce back again next year. The Gophers already have a verbal commitment from Jeff Jones, a four-star junior running back from Minneapolis Washburn.
According to Rivals.com, one of every 124 high school players in Florida signed an FBS scholarship this year. In Minnesota, it was one of every 3,403 players.
Last week, Chip Scoggins wrote about the effect Minnesota’s talent deficit is having on the Gophers, and here’s my story explaining why the Gophers signed just one scholarship player from their home state this year.
As for the possibility that Big Ten teams will drop FCS (formerly Division I-AA) opponents from future schedules, Michael Rand weighs in here on how that might impact the Gophers and FCS programs from the Dakotas.
Update: An e-mailer made a terrific point that bears mentioning here. Minnesota has produced a ton of players who've been a big part of the recent success at St. Thomas, North Dakota State and Minnesota-Duluth. The Rivals.com report focused on players heading to FBS schools, but Minnesota's contributions to those other programs shouldn't be overlooked.
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