Kill to show results of his hurry-up recruiting offensive

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 2, 2011 - 6:06 AM

A 6-foot-6 quarterback from Kansas leads the new Gophers coach's first recruiting class, one also full of receivers and offensive linemen.

Quarterback Max Shortell led Bishop Miege High to a Kansas state title as a junior. The 6-6 Shortell threw 50 touchdown passes the past two years.

Photo: John Sleezer, John Sleezer/Kansas City Star

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Jerry Kill didn't have time to land the sort of recruits he'll pursue in the future, but he delivered some crowd-pleasing elements just the same. A herd of offensive linemen for the fundamentalists. A trio of wideouts for the alarmists. And for everyone else, another promising quarterback to generate dreams of big-game victories.

C'mon, what football fan doesn't love projecting stardom on the next quarterback? And the one after that?

Max Shortell, who led Bishop Miege High to a Kansas state championship as a junior, will be among the highlights of National Signing Day for the Gophers, one of roughly two dozen new players who will sign letters of intent today to attend Minnesota.

"He's got a great arm and good instincts," Tom Lemming, recruiting analyst for the CBS College Sports network, said of the 6-6 Kansan. "We had him at our combine last year, and you could see he's a smart kid who makes good decisions."

In the inexact science that is college recruiting, we won't know about Shortell, or any of these players -- or in this case, the man who recruited them -- for another few years.

Despite the presence of Shortell and two-time All-Metro guard Tommy Olson of Mahtomedi, Kill's first class of recruits appears headed toward a general ranking among the bottom third of the 12-team Big Ten.

But here's the national consensus about Kill: He deserves time to recruit his way.

"I guarantee that while they've been trying to fill this class in a hurry, [Minnesota's coaching staff] has been focused on junior recruiting. You need a year to get to know the kids," Lemming said. "A coaching change is too disruptive to expect a great class right away. His 2012 class will be very important."

In Tim Brewster's shadow

For now, though, the Gophers will sign a class largely made up of players who committed to former coach Tim Brewster, or who were wooed by Kill at Northern Illinois and switched allegiances when he did.

Barring last-minute changes in commitments, SuperPrep magazine will rank the Gophers 10th, 11th or 12th in the Big Ten, according to publisher Allan Wallace. CBS College Sports will place them ninth or 10th, Lemming said. puts Minnesota eighth in an 11-team league; presumably, the addition of Nebraska will drop the Gophers to ninth.

"We rated 1,216 different prospects in our magazine, and 14 of Minnesota's recruits were not included. That's a pretty large number for a BCS [conference] team," said Wallace, who is also national recruiting editor of "Any time you replace the coach after the season, the new coaches hear a lot of recruits say, 'I like you, but I don't know you well enough.'"

A lot of them knew and liked Brewster. SuperPrep rates five members of Minnesota's class among the region's top 100 prospects, and all five -- Shortell, Olson, Bloomington (Ill.) offensive lineman Kyle McAvoy, Edina receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts and Holy Family linebacker Peter Westerhaus -- originally committed to the now-departed former coach.

But the new coach made an impression in the mere 60 days he's been on the job, too.

"The No. 1 concern when he was hired was, will he emphasize recruiting? And there's no doubt about it now," said Zach Johnson, publisher of, the local affiliate. "He and his staff have solid connections. [Kill] has that 'Oh golly, just-happy-to-be-here' persona, but he's pretty savvy. He knows his business. He's not going to try to find recruits in rural Kansas. He knows he needs the best players he's ever recruited."

Strong on O-line, at wideout

Johnson has been rating Gopher recruits for eight years, and judges this one "on par with the last two classes," though short of the heralded 2008 class.

"It's balanced. They got the clear-cut No. 1 player in the state [in Olson], a highly regarded quarterback, and the group on the offensive line are pretty impressive," Johnson said. "Combine that with the bunch they got last year, and [offensive coordinator] Matt Limegrover has a lot to work with. The line should become a position of strength over the next four years."

There's also a crop of wide receivers who are "sneaky good," Johnson said, with junior-college transfer Ge'Shun Harris projected to play as soon as this fall, while Crawford-Tufts and speedster Quentin Gardener from Denton, Texas, develop over a few years.

That's important, since Kill pronounced the position a critical need, considering only one experienced pass-catcher returns to the position in 2011.

And though MarQueis Gray hasn't started a game at quarterback yet, the jockeying to be his successor in two years can begin now.

With Shortell joining sophomore Moses Alipate and redshirt freshman Tom Parish, last year's prize quarterback recruit, Kill might have plenty of options under center in 2013.

"Brewster was a good recruiter; they've got some talent in this class. I'd say good, not great," Lemming said. "But Kill is an underrated recruiter. Wait till he brings home his own class."


    Today is the first day that high school seniors can sign letters of intent, binding them to colleges in the fall.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: M. Melancon 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: T. May 3
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco - LP: Y. Petit 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 3
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 5 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 8
San Diego 12:00 PM
Dallas 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 12:00 PM
Houston 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Oakland 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Denver 3:25 PM
Kansas City 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Miss State 34 FINAL
(8) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(14) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(24) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
(22) Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 12:00 PM
Ottawa 3:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question