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.
Chanhassen offensive lineman Frank Ragnow confirmed today via text that he will be making his official visit with the Gophers this weekend.
Ragnow has offers from all over the country, including Florida State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Arkansas, and has been labeled as one of the most important targets on Minnesota's board.
With Ragnow and Minneapolis Washburn running back Jeff Jones both on official visits, this becomes a critical recruiting weekend for the Gophers.
Minneapolis Washburn senior running back Jeff Jones will be making his official visit to the University of Minnesota on Friday, and he’ll arrive on the heels of some more good news.
Jones is one of four running backs who’ve been selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game, Washburn coach Giovan Jenkins said, confirming a report by GopherIllustrated.com. That game is played in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 2 , and televised by ESPN.
Jones rushed for 1,525 yards and 34 touchdowns this season, adding another eight touchdowns as a receiver. The four-star recruit gave a verbal commitment to the Gophers last February but has since said he’s keeping his options open until National Signing Day on Feb. 5.
For now, Jones has no other official visits planned, Jenkins said.
“I think he really likes the U,” Jenkins said. “The relationship he has with Coach [Jerry] Kill and Coach [Tracy] Claeys is second to none. No other staff has put in the kind of leg work they have.”
Gibson could play wide receiver, tight end, running back or perhaps even defense in college. He is rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com, which lists Northern Illinois and Louisiana Tech among Gibson's other offers.
He is the 10th player in the 2014 class to give the Gophers a verbal commitment.
The Gophers landed a verbal commitment this weekend from Julien Kafo, a defensive end from Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, the Star Tribune has confirmed.
Rivals.com lists Kafo as a two-star recruit, who also has offers from Nebraska and Iowa. He is the Gophers' ninth commitment for the 2014 class.
Some quick notes from tonight's practice:
* Rodrick Williams (turf toe) and Derrick Wells (injured shoulder) both participated in Wednesday's practice. Acting head coach Tracy Claeys said their availability for Saturday's game will be determined later in the week.
* Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said the team won't pick a starting quarterback between Mitch Leidner and Philip Nelson until after Thursday's practice.
"The big thing is Mitch started the last two weeks, but Philip knew he was going to play, and Philip came in and took great advantage of the reps he got," Limegrover said. "So we may flip it, we may keep it exactly the same.
"I think everybody in the entire greater Twin Cities metropolitan area cares more about our starting quarterback than me and Coach [Jerry] Kill and [quarterbacks coach Jim Zerbrowski. We’ve got two good ones, and I think it’s unfair to say we’re going to go with one guy the whole way. We like them both."
* Kill was at practice and took questions from reporters again. He looked and sounded great. He plans to coach from the coaching booth again Saturday at Indiana.
"The bottom line is we’ve won back-to-back games, and I’m smart enough to know, let’s not upset the apple cart," he said. "Let’s keep doing what we’re doing and we’ll be fine.
"It’s great for me because I get to be around kids more, and I’m doing a heck of a lot of recruiting. When I get done here, I’ve got about five or six calls tonight. Because that’s the biggest thing; we’ve got to let the recruits know I’m alright.
"But that’s been great. Through all the adversity, we’re moving forward. And sometimes adversity determines what kind of person you are, and what kind of people you have. And we’ve got a long way to go, there’s no question about that, but we’re on the right track."
|Sports (4)||Football (10)|
|College football (569)||Bowl games (14)|
|Gopher coaches (90)||Gopher quarterbacks (68)|
|Gopher recruiting (38)||Gopher road games (23)|
|Gophers disciplinary action (12)||Gophers injuries (84)|
|Gophers on TV (9)||Gophers preseason practice (66)|
|Gophers recruiting (22)||Gophers spring football (60)|
|TCF Bank Stadium (8)||The Big 10 (67)|
|NCAA: football (7)||Gophers game day (109)|
|Gophers postgame (48)||NCAA (17)|
|Gophers awards and honors (20)||Gophers post season (9)|
|Gophers roster moves (17)||Coaching (44)|
|Gophers player capsules (13)|