This fall on campus, it might have been easy to forget about the annual early signing period for basketball recruits. For Minnesota’s Richard Pitino, the 2015 class has been wrapped up for months, marking the first time since 2009 a Gophers recruiting class was complete before October.

Pitino’s third recruiting class — and the first in which he was able to engage prospective players for a full season — consists of two nationally ranked guards in Kevin Dorsey and Dupree McBrayer, another big man project in Jonathan Nwankwo and guard Jarvis Johnson, the state’s most highly touted recruit. They all have verbally committed and are expected to sign this week, as early as Wednesday, the first day of the signing period.

There is a wrinkle to the program’s early 2015-16 plans, however. Zach Lofton was kicked off the team two weeks ago for failing to meet the team’s expectations, and now another scholarship will be in play for the spring. While the Gophers figure out what to do with that opening, here’s a look at the players joining the team next season:

Kevin Dorsey

Pitino’s most highly rated recruit at Minnesota, the lightning-fast 5-11 point guard turned down his home-state Maryland and Nebraska. Dorsey, a four-star recruit who is ranked 86th overall in the class, should be able to step in immediately. With his speed and long wing span, he has the potential to be a difference-maker defensively.

 

Jarvis Johnson

The DeLaSalle standout has been on the radar of coaches across the country for years, but he was dropped from the national rankings after a tough summer on the AAU circuit. Still, Pitino knows well how the 6-1 combo guard’s athleticism and ability to find guys in transition will benefit an up-tempo system. Johnson, who chose Minnesota over a litany of schools including Iowa State, Michigan State, UCLA and Wisconsin, needs to become a better scorer. “I gave more thought and time to my college decision, and in the end I realized it was important to come back to where I started the process,” Johnson said when verbally committing.

 

Dupree McBrayer

The 6-4 combo guard may have been a bit of a late bloomer, but once he blossomed, there was no shortage of attention cast his way. The lefty, ranked 135th nationally per Rivals, is a sharpshooter from New York whose driving game showed a lot of improvement over the summer. If McBrayer can learn to play through contact and finish in traffic, he could be a force instantly.

 

Jonathan Nwankwo

With the Gophers losing Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker after this season, the tough, 6-9 Nwankwo represents more depth on the horizon. The Nigerian-born New Yorker already has the raw tools — the athleticism to run the floor and rebound, as well as shot-blocking potential. The three-star athlete is honing his back-to-the basket moves and his 10-foot shot at Victory Rock Prep in Florida.