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.
The Gophers lost one of their 2015 recruiting commitments over the weekend, when Almonzo Brown, a wide receiver from Suwanee, Ga., made it public that he was back on the market.
I will be Decommitting from the university of Minnesota. Thanks to all the fans and the coaches for the opportunity.— Almonzo Brown (@the_OCHO_brown) December 21, 2014
Brown is a consensus three-star recruit who has received offers from Florida, Iowa, Georgia Tech and Kansas State. He committed to the Gophers in August, so they'll be back on the market for at least one more receiver in this class.
Meanwhile, coach Jerry Kill continues to rave about the four wide receivers who redshirted this year, especially Isaiah Gentry. After coming back from knee surgery, Gentry has been opening eyes this month in practice. It sounds like Gentry has a very good chance to start next year. Desmond Gant, Melvin Holland Jr., and Conner Krizancic aren't far behind.
The Gophers added another coveted offensive lineman to their 2015 recruiting class Tuesday, when Tyler Moore, a center/guard from Houston North Shore High School gave a verbal commitment to Minnesota.
Moore, a consensus three-star recruit, also had reported offers from Texas, Kansas and BYU.
I am glad to announce my commitment to the UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA! #Ski-U-Mah I could be more fired up!— Tyler Moore (@Ohh_MOE) December 16, 2014
He is Minnesota's 18th commitment for the 2015 class and fifth offensive lineman. The Gophers have made the offensive line and secondary big priorities in this class. The other O-line commits are Nick Connelly (Red Wing), Bronson Dovich (Chaska), Ted Stieber (Akron, Ohio) and Quinn Oseland (Springfield, Ill.).
Here's a highlight video:
The Gophers continued stocking up on defensive back recruits Wednesday, when they landed a commitment from Iowa Western Community College safety Charlie Rogers.
Rogers is a consensus three-star recruit who also had a reported offers from Illinois, Utah State and Wyoming, among other schools. The Iowa City native has two years of college eligibility remaining and plans to enroll at the university next month, so he can take part in spring practice.
The Gophers will have holes in their secondary next year with Cedric Thompson, Derrick Wells, Grayson Levine and Marcus Jones all set to graduate.
They now have 17 commitments for 2015, including six defensive backs.
Rogers announced his commitment on Twitter:
The Gophers landed another recruiting commitment Tuesday, this time from the high school where Jerry Kill made his head coaching debut.
Kiante Hardin, a speedy 5-10, 164-pound cornerback from Webb City (Mo.) High School, announced he was heading to Minnesota on Twitter, giving the Gophers 16 commitments for the 2015 class.
Kill coached at Webb City in 1988 and 1989, going 25-1 with one state title.
Hardin, a consensus three-star recruit, also had reported offers from Army, Bowling Green and Northern Iowa, among others.
Blessed to say that I have committed to the University of Minnesota!�� #SkiUMah— KiAnte Hardin (@khard_7) October 14, 2014
The secondary is a major priority for the Gophers with their 2015 recruiting class, and they added a Louisiana defensive back to the mix Monday.
Alonzo Craighton, a 6-1, 185-pound cornerback from Geismar (La.) Dutchtown High School, announced his commitment to Minnesota on Twitter.
Craighton is a consensus three-star recruit, who also had offers from Louisiana Tech and Memphis. He is the Gophers' 15th commitment for 2015, and the fourth defensive back, joining Ray Buford (Southfield, Mich.) Jacob Huff (Bolingbrook, Ill.), Antonio Shenault (Roselle, Ill.).
The Gophers could add two or three more defensive backs to this class, knowing they need to replace current seniors Cedric Thompson, Derrick Wells, Grayson Levine and Marcus Jones.
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