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 got another recruiting commitment Friday, this time from Fargo South running back James Johannesson, who rushed for 2,671 yards and 29 touchdowns last year as a junior.
The 6-1, 210-pound Johannesson is a consensus three-star recruit who also had reported offers from North Dakota State and North Dakota.
Some have compared Johannesson to former Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead, saying Johanneson would have had more schools after him if he weren’t relatively hidden in Fargo.
Johannesson's commitment came one day after the Gophers landed a commitment from Georgia wide receiver Almonzo Brown. They now have 12 players committed for their 2015 class.
Johannesson announced his decision on Twitter:
Quick update on Jeff Jones, the prized running back recruit from Minneapolis Washburn: I was told today that the Gophers hope to hear from the NCAA regarding his eligibility at the end of next week. Jones has been admitted to the U, but the NCAA is currently reviewing his case to determine if he's eligible for his scholarship.
They open their season next Thursday against Eastern Illinois, but Jones likely will redshirt for the Gophers either way. Everyone wants to know soon because the U starts fall semester on Sept. 2.
Jones was right on the bubble to qualify academically for a Division I scholarship coming out of Washburn. If the NCAA would at least grant him an initial eligibility waiver, he would get his scholarship and could compete for the Gophers in 2015. He could still head to Iowa Western Community College, but all signs still point to him landing with the Gophers.
The Gophers landed a coveted wide receiver recruit Thursday night, when Almonzo Brown, from Suwanee, Ga., committed to them, despite receiving offers from Florida, Iowa, Georgia Tech and Kansas State.
The 6-2, 214-pound Brown is a consensus three-star recruit, and the 11th commitment the Gophers have received for their 2015 class.
Brown announced the news on Twitter:
I am proud to announce I will be committing to... pic.twitter.com/VFMfYMPCN7— Almonzo Brown (@the_OCHO_brown) August 22, 2014
The Gophers continued adding big offensive linemen to their 2015 recruiting class Wednesday, when they landed a commitment from Quinn Oseland, a 6-6, 310-pound tackle from Springfield, Ill.
I am blessed and proud to announce I have officially committed to the University of Minnesota to continue my education and athletic journey— Quinn Oseland (@Q_Oseland78) August 13, 2014
Oseland, a consensus three-star recruit, told GopherIllustrated.com that he had narrowed his choices down to Minnesota, Illinois and Oklahoma State. He also had reported offers along the way from Oregon, Michigan State and Mississippi State, among others.
Oseland is the Gophers’ 10th commitment for 2015, and the fourth offensive lineman, joining Red Wing’s Nick Connelly (6-7, 260 pounds) Chaska’s Bronson Dovich (6-5, 283) and Ted Stieber, from Akron, Ohio (6-6, 295).
Prized recruit Jeff Jones posted a Facebook picture Friday, showing his letter of admission from the university.
That’s good news for the Gophers, but they are still awaiting word regarding Jones’ NCAA eligibility. Jones was rated the nation’s No. 7 running back by Rivals.com but came just short of qualifying with his grades coming out of Minneapolis Washburn.
Jones has taken summer school, and soon, the Gophers expect the NCAA to either clear Jones, or at least grant him an initial eligibility waiver. The waiver would allow him to use his scholarship, but he couldn’t play until 2015.
Now that Jones has been admitted to the U, he also has the option of going there even if the NCAA deems him ineligible. In that scenario, he could use a school loan and work to become eligible for 2015. Jones also has the option of attending Iowa Western Community College.
At this point, even if the NCAA clears Jones to play this fall, he likely would redshirt with the Gophers. As Coach Jerry Kill has said, the main point is making sure Jones is ready to play next year, after two of the team's current running backs, David Cobb and Donnell Kirkwood, have graduated.
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