Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Kill says Gophers football recruiting going well

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 22, 2012 - 7:00 AM

The running back has the look of a star, the quarterback is a born leader, the cornerback and linebacker possess the speed to stifle Big Ten offenses. This being football recruiting, it's also entirely possible that none of these things is true.

But "we're in great shape with our recruiting," coach Jerry Kill said about the second group of newcomers he will bring to the Gophers, most of whom will sign letters of intent in six weeks. "We've got a good amount done, but there are maybe six or seven things we're still working on."

Kill is prohibited by NCAA rules from discussing or even mentioning individual players until they formally sign national letters of intent to attend Minnesota, which can't happen before Feb. 6. But the coach said he's been delighted by the difference that the Gophers' invitation to next week's Meineke Car Care Bowl makes.

"Playing in the bowl game, and playing in a very good one, especially in the state of Texas, it's helped us pick up some momentum, maybe get some kids on campus that we couldn't have a year ago," Kill said. "The publicity and the things that come with being in a bowl, being on TV, people being a little excited, it all adds up."

What it adds up to exactly won't be known until signing day, and even then it will be months or years before the effect is evident on the field. But the Gophers have been told by at least 14 high school and junior college players that they will attend Minnesota next season, according to a tally kept by Gophers Illustrated, a affiliate that closely tracks Minnesota recruiting.

Included among them is Chris Streveler, a run/pass quarterback from Marian Central Catholic in Chicago's northern suburbs, to add depth to a depleted roster of QBs. And Nate Andrews, a receiver-turned-cornerback from Fairhope, Ala., who also has received an offer from Tennessee. There's Lewisville, Texas, defensive end Hendrick Ekpe, whose brother Scott started at defensive tackle for the U this year as a freshman. At linebacker, the Gophers have received commitments from Chris Wipson, a Wayzata linebacker who is recovering from knee surgery, and De'Niro Laster, a linebacker from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, who had offers from Illinois and Kansas.

The prize of the class, however, may be Berkley Edwards, a running back from Chelsea, Mich., and brother of Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards. The younger Edwards visited Cal-Berkeley and Iowa before settling on Minnesota.

"That's the type of running back they need -- a home-run hitter, a guy who can run away from people," said Zach Johnson, publisher of the Gopher Illustrated website. "All indications are that Edwards is that guy, a legit 4.3 [seconds in the 40-yard-dash] guy. I'm not saying he's [ex-Gopher and NFL back] Laurence Maroney, but he's got that kind of potential."

"The guy is an absolute steal," said Josh Helmholdt,'s Midwest analyst. "He's built like a lot of NFL backs, short and stocky, but his speed is tremendous. He's a quiet, humble young man who works his tail off."

In Andrews and Laster, Johnson said, the Gophers are executing Kill's plan to favor speed over size on defense. Both are former wide receivers. "Laster is the kind of linebacker this staff wants. You find a guy who can run and can get up to 220, 230 without losing that speed," Johnson said. "They're not interested in big, clumsy guys who hit really hard but can't run."

Well, a little size doesn't hurt on the offensive line, where tackle Alex Mayes of Van Alstyne, Texas, was one of the first recruits to accept Kill's scholarship offer.

"I didn't expect to leave Texas," said the 6-6, 280-pound teen, "but when I visited up there, I fell in love with the place. Coach [Matt] Limegrover and Coach Kill, those are the kind of coaches I want to play for." One of the best parts? Minnesota's weather, of all things. "I'll be nice to have two-a-days in 80-degree weather instead of 105," Mayes said.

So where will this group of recruits rank among their peers? Ohio State and Michigan appear to be having tremendous recruiting success for the second consecutive season, with the rest of the league lumped together, well behind the top two. "It's fair to say that [Minnesota] will rate in the bottom half of the league," Helmholdt said, "but a few players could shuffle those teams quite a bit."

Gophers coaches have spent much of December on the road meeting with recruits, then flying home to conduct bowl practices and host official visits. Some of the focus has already turned to high school juniors, Kill said, in hopes of receiving some early commitments next spring. But the Gophers are also waging several head-to-head battles with other Big Ten teams for players, decisions that likely won't be known until signing day or just before.

How many players will the Gophers sign? It's a fluid number, Kill said. The Gophers have only 12 graduating seniors, but the departure of other players -- such as backup quarterback Max Shortell's recent decision to transfer -- frees up additional scholarships. The coach said on a radio program on Sunday that he could have 20 scholarships available, and Big Ten rules allow teams to "oversign" three extra players in anticipation that some recruits may not qualify academically.

"You always figure there's going to be some changeover, and you make an educated guess," Kill said. "I sit down with every kid to see where they're at. You see if they're disappointed they're not playing enough, want to play more [somewhere else]. It happens every year, to every team, but the numbers always seem to work themselves out."

  • related content

  • Chart: Gophers' Class of 2013 highlights

    Friday December 21, 2012

    The Gophers have commitments from more than a dozen recruits with six weeks to go before signing day. Among the projected standouts in their Class of 2013:

  • Success raises optimism for Gophers in Big Ten play

    Saturday December 22, 2012

    It's been all about defense, defense, defense up to this point for the Gophers. Minnesota has been averaging a league best in both blocked shots and steals.

  • Tailback Berkley Edwards.


    Meineke Car Care Bowl: 8 p.m. Friday vs. Texas Tech • Reliant Stadium, Houston • TV: ESPN (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Dallas 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12:00 PM
San Diego 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12:00 PM
Chicago 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 3:25 PM
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
North Carolina 89
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
(2) Connecticut 96
Houston 50
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Gophers Football 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.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon




question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question