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Continued: Gophers' 2014 recruiting class looks to be Kill's best

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 5, 2014 - 10:54 AM

The Ragnow decision stung the Gophers because they had worked hard to keep him home, and he kept them as a finalist until Friday.

“It hurts to lose two linemen from their own state, but they made up for it with their out-of-state catches,” said Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports Network.

One of those catches is Connor Mayes, a center from Van Alstyne, Texas, who played in the U.S. Army All-American Game. He’s the brother of Gophers lineman Alex Mayes.

“If [Connor Mayes] wouldn’t have committed to Minnesota so early, he could have played virtually wherever he wanted,” Johnson said. “He turned down offers from Oklahoma, TCU — where he’s got some family history — Texas A&M, Texas Tech. Everybody wanted this kid.”

Gaelin Elmore, a tight end from Somerset, Wis., had offers from Wisconsin and Nebraska but stuck with the Gophers.

“It’s not too often that Minnesota beats out Wisconsin for a recruit that the Badgers want out of Wisconsin,” Johnson said. “This is probably the first case that I can remember in 12 years.”

Jerry Gibson, a 6-3 athlete from Theodore, Ala., gave the Gophers a scare when he visited South Carolina last weekend, but all indications have him signing with Minnesota. He could wind up playing tight end, defensive end or linebacker.

“Gibson, if they can hang on to him, is outstanding,” Lemming said. “He’s a guy who could play right away as a freshman.”

The Gophers knew they needed wide receivers, especially since their top two at season’s end — Drew Wolitarsky and Donovahn Jones — were both true freshmen. It took until this past week, but the Gophers wound up getting three receivers that Rivals.com ranks as three-star recruits — Melvin Holland Jr. (from Ashburn, Va.), Isaiah Gentry (Cincinnati) and Conner Krizancic (Mentor, Ohio).

“Not only do I like them, I think they complement each other perfectly,” Johnson said.

Kill can’t comment on specific recruits until they sign their official letters of intent. He is scheduled to address the media at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Barring any last-minute changes of heart by recruits, he’s expected to be in fine spirits.

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