Young twins just might be key for U

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 6, 2011 - 8:29 AM

The Gophers offensive line is getting younger, and the McAvoys could be part of a bright future.


Twin brothers Luke (left) and Kyle McAvoy of Bloomington, Ill., signed with the Gophers last week.

Their size and strength got them here, and their speed and intelligence will help them succeed. But Kyle and Luke McAvoy, twin brothers and soon-to-be-Gophers, have another talent that gets offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover excited.

"They can read each other's mind," Limegrover said. "You really notice it when they're together."

He's hoping they are together on Minnesota's offensive line for several seasons, exercising the trait that Limegrover believes is more important on the line than anywhere else. "You're not always able to look each other in the eye and make a call," said Limegrover, who also coaches the Gophers offensive line. "Nonverbal communication is critical. That's why continuity matters so much on the line. And you can't beat having brothers."

If that's the case, the Gophers might be set for a few years. In addition to the McAvoy twins, a pair of 6-5 road graders from Bloomington, Ill., who signed letters of intent Wednesday, the Gophers added Tommy Olson, an all-state guard from Mahtomedi who will join his sophomore-to-be brother Ed at the university next fall.

That's not a bad foundation for the 2013 and 2014 offensive lines, considering the 20-year-old Ed Olson is the only one of the four who is older than 18. Limegrover said the Gophers' odd lineup situation might force the brother acts onto the field even earlier.

Little experience, plenty of candidates

Next year's roster features three fifth-year seniors on the offensive line, plus sophomores Ed Olson and Brooks Michel -- and nobody else with a single play of college experience. That's why the Gophers recruited six linemen a year ago, all of whom redshirted, then added another half-dozen last week.

"You don't like to piggy-back a big class on a big class, but we've got nothing in the middle, between the seniors and the pups," Limegrover said. That shortage caused the Gophers to play a game at Illinois last November with only six offensive linemen, gambling than nobody would get hurt; new coach Jerry Kill decided to bring in a junior-college transfer to add experienced depth but changed his mind after surveying the available prospects, none of whom impressed him.

That leaves an incredibly young core for Limegrover to sort out, beginning this spring. "Usually for recruits, it's like climbing a ladder to get to a starting position. When you come in as a freshman, you're looking at a lot of butts ahead of you," he said. "But here, it's like the ladder has fallen down and everybody is shoulder-to-shoulder. It's a situation where some kids are going to play before you'd like them to."

Tommy Olson is a prime candidate for that responsibility, if he can win a job in September, and military-school graduate Josh Campion might get a shot as well. Plus, there's that pool of redshirt freshmen who spent last fall in the weight room, which Limegrover calls "the greatest unknown of all -- I'm just now getting to see those guys at morning workouts. They're not strong enough yet, but that'll come."

A few of them -- Matt Eggen, Marek Lenkiewicz and Zac Epping -- were recruited by Limegrover at Northern Illinois, so he knows they will fit the Jerry Kill system, he said, and 300-pound Jimmy Gjere "just oozes athleticism out there."

And so do the McAvoy twins, two of the less-heralded but potentially high-impact members of the 2011 recruiting class.

They're not identical, and nowhere does that show up more than on the football field, said Rigo Schmelzer, their coach at Bloomington High School. Kyle, in fact, projects as a guard, while Luke's future is probably outside, as a tackle.

"Kyle is a mauler -- a get-in-your-face, knock-you-on-your-backside, north-south blocker, just ferocious," Schmelzer said. "Luke is more analytical and a little quicker. He's working hard to become as strong as Kyle, but he has better footwork. If Minnesota is looking to run the ball, they've got two good kids to clear the way."

Kyle McAvoy also is the No. 2-ranked heavyweight wrestler in Illinois, 32-0 heading into the weekend's regional meet, but he plans to give up the sport in college.

Staying together

The twins originally believed they might attend different schools -- they visited every Big Ten campus except Ohio State and Penn State, and Luke was investigating Ivy League schools last summer -- before Tim Brewster offered to make them both Big Ten players like their older brother Tim, who played for Michigan.

"We talked about it, and we thought that would make a lot of things easier," Kyle told the Bloomington Pantagraph last July, after committing to the Gophers. "The transition between high school and college is big. Having your brother there would definitely help."

After Brewster was fired in October, the pair remained of one mind about Minnesota, even after top-ranked Oregon inquired about Kyle's availability.

"When I visited them, they raved about the campus and the fit up here. It made my job easy. To go to one house and get two [Division I] quality players, that's pretty sweet," Limegrover said. "It's a recruiter's dream."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question