Hartman: Kill optimistic about recruiting success

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 31, 2014 - 6:46 AM

With national signing day fast approaching, the U football coach focuses on filling needs, not counting stars.

Next Wednesday is a big day at the Bierman Building — national signing day — when Gophers football coach Jerry Kill and his staff will find out if they’ll get the top players they have been recruiting for months.

“I’d say that recruiting is going pretty good,” Kill said the other day. “I’m sitting here with a family and I need to make it a lot better. I’m right in the middle of a conversation, so that’s how important you are. As long as we finish strong here, it could be really, really good.”

Kill is one of many college coaches who don’t put stock in how many stars a high school player receives from various recruiting services. The Gophers definitely don’t recruit on that basis.

“It’s not football people doing that,” Kill said. “I think everybody does it the way they want to. Winning is the thing that is most important, and character.

“The class that we inherited, I don’t know how many stars were in that class. It was supposed to be one of the top 15 classes in the country, and I think there are seven or eight players left out of that class. I think there’s a lot more to it than that.

“I don’t pay any attention to it. We had guys in the Senior Bowl from other schools and so forth that I coached, so I really can’t explain that. [Former Northern Illinois quarterback] Jordan Lynch, I don’t think had a star and he was in the Heisman [Trophy finalists]. I think that sums it up. Recruiting isn’t over yet, everyone has about a week and a half to get that done. … You’ve seen where we’re at with our program and we’ll keep moving it forward.”

Kill said a lot of the Gophers’ recruiting is for needs at certain positions.

“The big need that we have right now is our class is definitely going in the right direction, and the big key for us is we need to get two receivers landed right now,” he said. “That’s the most critical piece of what we’re doing. We’ve done good at running back, but we need to get more playmakers on the edge and we’re concentrating on offense and doing that.”

What are your thoughts on recruiting teammates from the same high school?

“Sometimes it helps, and sometimes they want to separate out,” Kill said. “We have some of that going on right now. You get a couple of kids at one school, one wants to go one way, one wants to go another, and sometimes they both want to come because it’s more comfortable. I think each situation is different.”

Kill is excited about recruiting two junior college fullbacks from the same school, Riley Oharah and Miles Thomas of Butler County Community College in El Dorado, Kan., who are in school now and will take part in the Gophers’ spring practice.

“They’re really good players,” he said. “The fullback thing, you watch pro football and a lot of teams are going back to having that fullback. Auburn had it in what they did. Those guys are kind of underrated guys and so forth, but they’re the ones that help you win a lot of games. They’ll help us. I know our guys are working out with them right now and feel great about those two kids. That was a big deal for us, we needed that. I know the place they come from and I know they’re tough. They’re tough, hard-nosed kids.”

What are the players doing now?

“Well right now, we had a team meeting a week ago,” Kill said. “We had another one Saturday ’cause we had guys off the road. They’ll be in the weight room. [Quarterback] Mitch Leidner kind of took the bull by the horns and came back a week ago and we had everybody out there working. He jumped all in it with his leadership, and it’s different.

“All I can tell you is that we have kids that after the bowl game [a 21-17 loss to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl], they were embarrassed, didn’t feel good about it. I told them they better be starving when they get back and it isn’t going to happen anymore. I think they’re starving right now. That’s important. I said that after the game. When you get off the plane on Friday afternoon, walk in and you have your guys working out there and they’re voluntarily doing it, it’s pretty neat. I think our kids are very, very serious about where we want to be next year.”

Wildcats could be test

Two underdogs pulled off road upsets in Big Ten basketball on Wednesday, with Penn State going into Columbus, Ohio, and beating the No. 24 Buckeyes 71-70 in overtime and, even more surprising, Northwestern — a team with an 11-11 overall record and 4-5 in the conference, upsetting No. 14 Wisconsin 65-56 in Madison, Wis.

Northwestern, the Gophers’ opponent at Williams Arena on Saturday, had not won at Wisconsin since 1996. The big thing the Gophers have to be concerned about is the improved Wildcats defense.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Golden State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Vancouver 2 2nd Prd 12:31
Buffalo 1
Arizona 3 2nd Prd 13:22
NY Rangers 2
Montreal 3 2nd Prd 12:00
Columbus 1
Philadelphia 0 1st Prd 2:25
Toronto 1
Chicago 1 1st Prd :01
Florida 0
St. Louis 0 1st Prd 15:08
Winnipeg 0
Minnesota 7:30 PM
Ottawa 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Detroit 9:30 PM
San Jose
Northern Ky 78 FINAL
Kennesaw St 53
East Tenn St 73 FINAL
Citadel 74
Winthrop 33 2nd Half 13:24
Campbell 42
Delaware 51 2nd Half 13:00
Drexel 36
Jacksonville St 37 2nd Half 12:11
Eastern Ky 40
Northeastern 37 2nd Half 10:41
Elon 48
Sacred Heart 65 2nd Half 13:15
Fair-Dickinson 62
Western Carolina 29 2nd Half 13:53
Furman 27
Char Southern 41 2nd Half 16:59
Gardner-Webb 52
Western Ill 27 2nd Half 16:27
Nebraska Omaha 36 2nd Half 16:38
IUPU-Ft Wayne 46
Radford 41 2nd Half 16:50
Liberty 38
St Francis-NY 27 2nd Half 19:43
Long Island 32
Wofford 38 2nd Half 14:06
Mercer 39
Minnesota 46 2nd Half 15:34
Michigan State 52
High Point 52 2nd Half 15:41
UNC-Asheville 47
Samford 35 2nd Half 18:04
UNC Greensboro 40
Nebraska 38 2nd Half 12:44
Ohio State 52
Wagner 34 2nd Half 15:00
Robert Morris 58
Mount St Marys 30 2nd Half 15:30
St Francis-PA 37
Houston 35 2nd Half 16:07
Temple 37
Vanderbilt 32 2nd Half 14:19
Tennessee 42
Chattanooga 37 2nd Half 15:39
Va Military 42
Milwaukee 32 2nd Half 17:18
Wright State 32
Coastal Carolina 28 2nd Half 15:50
Presbyterian 43
Central Conn St 50 2nd Half 13:00
Bryant 48
Ga Southern 36 2nd Half
Appalachian St 20
SIU Edwardsville 2 1st Half 15:12
Austin Peay 8
Green Bay 9 1st Half 15:52
Ill-Chicago 5
Texas-El Paso 4 1st Half 14:35
Louisiana Tech 13
FIU 7 1st Half 15:46
Marshall 7
Rider 8 1st Half 15:47
Monmouth 5
Eastern Ill 0 1st Half 18:17
Murray State 0
Charlotte 2 1st Half 16:41
North Texas 12
North Dakota St 4 1st Half 13:12
Oral Roberts 13
Old Dominion 9 1st Half 14:42
Rice 4
TX-San Antonio 13 1st Half 13:54
Southern Miss 13
UT Martin 8 1st Half 14:19
Tennessee St 8
Fla Atlantic 9 1st Half 15:18
Western Ky 11
Northern Ariz 10 1st Half 15:34
North Dakota 12
Grand Canyon 7 1st Half 17:40
Chicago State 5
Utah Valley U 2 1st Half 15:50
ULM 7:25 PM
South Alabama
Texas-Arlington 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 7:30 PM
Ark-Little Rock
Troy 7:30 PM
Texas State
Arizona 8:00 PM
SMU 8:00 PM
Tenn Tech 8:00 PM
Morehead State
Rutgers 8:00 PM
Southern Utah 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Montana State 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
UC Davis 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UC Irvine 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
Montana 9:00 PM
BYU 9:00 PM
Pacific 9:00 PM
Santa Clara
Arizona State 9:30 PM
San Diego 10:00 PM
St Marys-CA 10:00 PM
San Francisco
Oregon State 10:00 PM
Long Beach State 10:59 PM
Rice 68 FINAL
Old Dominion 83
Manhattan 67 FINAL
Monmouth 84
Georgia Southern 39 FINAL
Appalachian St 66
Marshall 74 FINAL
FIU 50
TX-Arlington 62 FINAL
Arkansas State 67
South Alabama 38
Troy 73 2nd Half 0:50
Texas State 54
Georgia State 39 2nd Half 0:32
Ark-Little Rock 54
William & Mary 57 2nd Half 13:51
Coll of Charleston 36
Delaware 45 2nd Half 11:59
UNC-Wilmington 37
UMBC 17 2nd Half 17:12
Maine 37
UMass Lowell 30 2nd Half 20:00
Vermont 25
Albany 27 2nd Half 20:00
Hartford 18
Stony Brook 38 2nd Half 15:23
Binghamton 31
Boston College 31 2nd Half
(8) Louisville 46
(23) Syracuse 36 2nd Half 18:38
Clemson 25
(16) Duke 26 2nd Half 15:37
Georgia Tech 40
Florida 22 2nd Half 20:00
Alabama 25
NC State 33 2nd Half 15:52
(9) Florida State 51
Miami-Florida 42 2nd Half 13:17
Wake Forest 47
LSU 26 2nd Half 16:49
Ole Miss 34
(11) Miss State 28 2nd Half 18:55
(2) South Carolina 39
Fairfield 42 2nd Half 14:31
Iona 35
Marist 41 2nd Half 11:07
Saint Peters 43
Quinnipiac 56 2nd Half 18:58
Rider 19
Virginia 33 2nd Half
(15) North Carolina 35
Pittsburgh 32 2nd Half 14:58
(4) Notre Dame 59
Ohio State 47 2nd Half 17:23
Penn State 33
Massachusetts 30 2nd Half
Dayton 40
(22) George Washington 43 2nd Half 15:29
Richmond 35
Saint Louis 30 2nd Half 16:19
Rhode Island 41
Wright State 43 2nd Half 15:40
Detroit 35
Green Bay 45 2nd Half 12:15
Oakland 40
Western Ky 46 2nd Half
Florida Atlantic 36
Indiana 35 2nd Half 20:00
(5) Maryland 47
North Texas 30 2nd Half 20:00
Charlotte 40
Central Arkansas 31 2nd Half
Sam Houston St 20
SE Louisiana 36 1st Half 0:35
Northwestern St 28
Nicholls 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Denver 7 1st Half 15:30
No Dakota State 11
IUPU-Ft Wayne 2 1st Half 14:20
Nebraska Omaha 7
South Dakota
Lamar 6 1st Half 17:01
McNeese State 8
Western Ill 7 1st Half 15:24
South Dakota St 10
Missouri 7:00 PM
(12) Texas A&M
(13) Kentucky 7:00 PM
(20) Rutgers 6 1st Half 15:30
(25) Northwestern 4
Southern Miss 2 1st Half 17:24
TX-San Antonio 0
Wisconsin 0 1st Half 20:00
(17) Iowa 0
North Dakota 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Northern Colorado 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Louisiana Tech 0 Postponed
Texas-El Paso 0
Eastern Washington 8:00 PM
Montana State
Idaho 8:00 PM
Auburn 8:00 PM
(6) Tennessee 8:00 PM
Gonzaga 8:00 PM
San Diego
USC 8:00 PM
Portland 8:00 PM
(24) California 8:00 PM
(19) Stanford 8:00 PM
(7) Oregon State
Chicago State 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UMKC 8:00 PM
Utah Valley U
San Francisco 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
UCLA 9:00 PM
Washington St
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
Hawaii 9:00 PM
Long Beach St
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question