Gophers stress precision in football recruiting decisions

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 6, 2012 - 10:51 PM

Because he's had to load up on numbers in his first two recruiting classes, Gophers football coach Jerry Kill is preparing for smaller classes in the future.

hide

Gopher coach Jerry Kill at the spring game last month.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It's been less than three months since high school seniors put pen to paper, but Gophers football coach Jerry Kill already is planning for future recruiting classes. For next February's signing day, certainly -- Kill collected his first verbal commitment toward that class nearly a year ahead of time.

But these days, that's the short-term view. Kill has been giving some thought lately to the Gophers recruits who will sign letters of intent in 2018.

Yes, those future Gophers are 11 and 12 years old now, but Minnesota's coach wants to make sure there are enough scholarships available for them when the time comes. And that means making adjustments now.

"I wouldn't say it's a problem right now, but there's no question that you eventually want to get your numbers balanced out, and we are trying to do that," Kill said. "But it takes awhile."

The Gophers will have only 12 seniors on scholarship next season, so it's possible that they could have only 12 scholarships to hand out next February. It likely will be more than that -- "There's always some natural attrition every year," Kill said, "so we may still end up with 16 or 17" -- but there is little chance that Kill and his staff will sign 27 scholarship athletes, as they did in February, or even the 23 they brought in a year before.

The scholarship shortage means Kill and his recruiters will be even more cautious than usual when considering to whom they make offers, in order to keep from being left too thin at a position. Summer camp season, a key time for evaluation and offers, is just around the corner.

"We'll be more selective about our particular needs, no question," Kill said. "It doesn't really change how you recruit, but you have to make sure each kid is the right fit, because you won't really have a surplus at any position."

But the Gophers apparently aren't hesitating when they see a player they want, either. According to Gopher Illustrated, a rivals.com website that closely tracks college recruiting, Kill offered Tartan High School defensive back Keelon Brookins a scholarship a couple of weeks after wrapping up the 2012 class, and the Oakdale athlete accepted. That makes Brookins the first member of the Gophers' Class of 2013, although the Titans senior-to-be said he still will make visits to other campuses. Several other high school seniors-to-be also have received scholarship offers from the Gophers.

Recruiting already is a juggling act, with no player (or scholarship) commitment certain until a letter of intent is signed. For the Gophers, this year will be even more fluid.

"It's nerve-wracking, because we may have half the usual number, and you have to make sure you fill your immediate needs," offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said. "But at the same time, you don't want to get a huge disparity. You almost can't move as quickly as you'd like because you don't want to keep yourself in that hole. You don't want it to be a repeating cycle."

That's the long-term view that Kill is taking -- the class of 2013 might be unusually small, though probably not as small as the 11-member class that Wisconsin, which found itself in a similar bind, signed three months ago. The important thing, though, is making sure the shortage doesn't recur again in 2018, when most of those 2013 recruits -- after a redshirt season and four years of eligibility -- will graduate.

To deal with that, it's possible, Limegrover said, that a handful of players who committed to the Gophers last month may "greyshirt," or delay enrolling in school until next January. It means they can't work out or practice with the team this summer and fall, but it effectively makes them members of next year's recruiting class, helping even out the disparity between the two class sizes.

"There's a couple of guys we signed this year who would probably be in the top five players in the state next year, but who we could greyshirt," Limegrover said. "We know what we've got with them, but who knows what next year's class will be like? So we bank some talent that way. You don't want to do it too much; it's got to be the right kid and the right situation. But in certain cases, it really fits."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 7 2nd Qtr 6:20
Seattle 0
Miami 83 FINAL
Boston 75
LA Lakers 80 FINAL
New York 92
Arizona 3 FINAL
Montreal 2
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Nashville 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Miami-Florida 54 FINAL
Florida State 55
Oakland 96 FINAL
Youngstown St 80
Cincinnati 46 FINAL
East Carolina 50
Michigan 66 FINAL
Michigan State 76
Marist 75 FINAL
Canisius 67
Fordham 77 FINAL
Dayton 101
Manhattan 87 FINAL
Monmouth 76
Quinnipiac 100 FINAL
Niagara 105
Utah 67 FINAL
USC 39
Connecticut 68 FINAL
Houston 70
California 90 FINAL
Washington 88
North Dakota St 64 FINAL
Western Ill 62
Penn State 65 FINAL
(22) Rutgers 76
(14) Texas 59 FINAL
TCU 64
Coll of Charleston 49 FINAL
Towson 71
Cornell 53 FINAL
Yale 60
Xavier 68 FINAL
Providence 57
Drexel 61 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 44
Stony Brook 60 FINAL
New Hampshire 52
Maine 52 FINAL
Albany 44
Miami-Florida 66 FINAL
Pittsburgh 81
(21) Georgia 72 FINAL
(10) Kentucky 80
Arizona 69 FINAL
Colorado 81
Wake Forest 63 FINAL
(4) Notre Dame 92
Loyola-Chicago 56 FINAL
Illinois State 72
(24) Oklahoma 69 FINAL
West Virginia 78
St Johns 73 FINAL
Seton Hall 78
Delaware 73 FINAL
Hofstra 62
Binghamton 49 FINAL
UMass Lowell 66
Vermont 49 FINAL
Hartford 60
William & Mary 72 FINAL
Northeastern 66
Boston College 60 FINAL
(16) North Carolina 72
Virginia 77 FINAL
Clemson 72
(2) Connecticut 83 FINAL
Temple 49
Arkansas 53 FINAL
Alabama 42
Virginia Tech 71 FINAL
Georgia Tech 79
Kansas 58 FINAL
(3) Baylor 66
Canisius 51 FINAL
Rider 52
Monmouth 52 FINAL
Fairfield 54
Quinnipiac 81 FINAL
Saint Peters 50
Butler 55 FINAL
Creighton 62
Wichita State 61 FINAL
Drake 64
Evansville 52 FINAL
Indiana State 67
(18) Miss State 67 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
Villanova 47 FINAL
DePaul 49
Georgetown 73 FINAL
Marquette 80
North Texas 55 FINAL
Rice 58
Auburn 45 FINAL
(12) Texas A&M 78
(11) Arizona State 58 FINAL
Utah 48
Missouri State 56 FINAL
Northern Iowa 64
Michigan 60 FINAL
(15) Nebraska 75
Minnesota 49 FINAL
Northwestern 70
Wisconsin 73 FINAL
Illinois 62
Bradley 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 76
Florida 67 FINAL
Vanderbilt 58
(20) Iowa 88 FINAL
(5) Maryland 93
(1) South Carolina 77 FINAL
Ole Miss 59
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close