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.
Brian Bobek, one of the top centers in the nation out of high school when he arrived at Ohio State in 2011 but played little as a freshman. Because he is transferring within the Big Ten, he loses a year of eligibility and will have two years left starting in 2013. Bobek e-mailed out an official statement after the transfer:
I am excited to announce that I have given my commitment to Coaches Jerry Kill and Matt Limegrover to join the University of Minnesota football program. Minnesota was one of the first schools my family and I had contacted when I made the decision to transfer, and the coaches responded as soon as they got permission from Ohio State to contact me.
Coaches Kill and Limegrover are exceptional coaches, and I am confident they and the rest of the staff are on the way to restoring the winning tradition of the Minnesota football program. I look forward to making a contribution to Minnesota football and, once eligible, having an opportunity to achieve my personal goals as a football player.
The University of Minnesota offers a quality education, and I hope to take advantage of the many opportunities of going to school in a great city like Minneapolis. Also, my family and I are happy for me to have the chance to continue to compete in the Big Ten, one of the best football conferences in the country.
I once again want to thank the athletic department and football program at The Ohio State University for their consideration and assistance in easing my transition to the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Golden Gopher football program.
Coach Jerry Kill was understandably happy with the 27 scholarship players and four walk-ons who formally committed to Minnesota on Wednesday, and especially the speed that the new recruits will add to the Gophers.
Take the quartet of wide receivers who chose Minnesota, for instance. "I tell you what, those are four guys that can get it and go," Kill said of Jamel Harbison, Isaac Fruechte, K.J. Maye and Andre McDonald. "I think people in the Big Ten will tell you that -- they can run, they're athletic."
A few other comments from the Gophers coach about his first true class at Minnesota:
-- "I feel good about this group and where we need [to be to] compete in the Big Ten."
-- On whether quarterbacks Philip Nelson or Mitch Leidner could play next fall: "I want them to come in and think they're going to play, and work hard. We'll see what happens. ... If a freshman is going to play, he has to handle is academically and athletically." Both quarterbacks, he noted, were recruited by Iowa but chose Minnesota. "I feel like we're getting two of the better quarterbacks in the Midwest. ... They're both smart and they're both talented, and [you] don't worry about it. It will all work out in the long run."
-- "Out of all the home visits I made, I think we lost one kid at the end, a kid named Drew Davis [who] is going to North Carolina State. We all enjoyed Drew on his visits. Smart kid. [N.C. State] offered him last week, [and] that's home, five minutes from his house, and he committed there."
-- "We felt there was some need, certainly, in the secondary, that we needed some immediate help." The Gophers signed seven defensive backs.
-- "We've got to keep the best players in the state. We have to. So we've got to be a little more patient. This is our state. ... The great thing about Andre [McDonald], when I sat at his house, there was no question this is what he wanted to do. He figured out this was what was best for him, and that was good. That's what it comes down to."
After a year in which he committed to Minnesota, changed his mind, then returned to the fold last week, Hopkins wide receiver Andre McDonald has formally accepted a scholarship with the Gophers.
The university announced, via its @GoldenGopherFB account on Twitter, that McDonald signed his national letter of intent Wednesday morning, becoming one of the first dozen or so high school seniors to complete his paperwork. Also signing just after sunrise: fellow Minnesotans Maxx Williams, Jonah Pirsig, Nick Rallis, Isaac Hayes, Ben Lauer and Duke Anyanwu. The Gophers are expected to sign more than two dozen new players today, the first day incoming freshman can accept scholarships, plus add several more walk-ons, who sign "acceptance of admission" paperwork. (A full list of the projected class is here.) Coach Jerry Kill will discuss his recruiting class at a press conference this afternoon, then attend a booster-club social tonight.
UPDATE: Dinero Moss of Sunrise, Fla., was listed as a Gophers signee by Rivals.com and even had #minnesotacommit on his Twitter bio. But he tweeted about an hour ago that he had switched his commitment and was taking his talents to Iowa.
SECOND UPDATE: Apparently "Iowa" does not mean the Hawkeyes when it comes to where Moss is headed. According to this tweet from Iowa recruiting analyst Todd Worly, Moss is going to Ellsworth Community College in Iowa.
Minnesota waited until the final week before signing day to make their offer, but defensive tackle Yoshoub Timms was eager to accept it, according to Gopher Illustrated, a website that closely tracks Minnesota recruiting.
Timms, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound recruit from Fort Walton Beach in the Florida panhandle, accepted coach Jerry Kill's offer Sunday night, the rivals.com-affiliated site reported, making him the fifth defensive lineman known to have committed to Minnesota. Recruits can sign letters of intent beginning Wednesday.
Timms reportedly had several other schools pursuing him, including Syracuse and Southern Miss. He visited the Minneapolis campus last week, but left without a formal offer. When it came over the weekend, Timms accepted right away.
Andre McDonald, a highly recruited wide receiver from Hopkins, announced Thursday evening on KARE-11 that he has committed to the Gophers.
McDonald, who had 1,253 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior for the Royals, previously committed to both the Gophers and Vanderbilt before de-committing from both. McDonald is considered the No. 1 recruit in the state by Rivals.com.
Nothing is official until McDonald signs his national letter of intent. The signing period begins Wednesday.
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