February 14, 2008

Roses are Red...

Violets are Blue.
Tim Brewster can recruit,
And I want to go to Pasadena TOO.

So the Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable is heating back up. Maize n Brew (who is a decent guy for a Wolverine fan) has taken the lead for a special Football Recruiting Roundtable.

When I started Gopher Nation I didn't expect that I'd enjoy following football recruiting so much. At first trying to keep track of the massive list of names wasn't nearly as easy as basketball. But Tim Brewster has made this process fun and lets hope that the next few years will be full of more highly rated players and each year we can say this is the best Gopher recruiting class in decades.

Without further adeau let's get to the roundtable...

1. As a general question, evaluate your recruiting class. Is it more or less what you expected, were you pleasantly surprised or horribly, horribly disappointed? Were your team's needs adequately addressed or will you be starting a two star running back at center next year?

I'll answer the last question first. There isn't a group of recruits available to adequately address my team's needs. Give me the 11 best defensive players in the country and we still move from the worst defense in the history of the NCAA's to a mediocre defense. So nothing would adequately meet our IMMEDIATE needs.

But this class is outstanding and arguably the best class in Minnesota history. There could be several new starters on defense from incoming freshmen and JUCO transfers. I think that by October you could easily see the entire defensive backfield as new starters and the front seven will likely see a handful of fresh faces either starting or contributing on a regular basis.

Offensively we signed a few incredibly talented individuals but only a couple will get significant playing time.

So to answer your question, I am happy with this class with ONE (and by one I mean two) exception. The nagging commits that we missed were significant as they were the top two rated players from within our boarders, but we'll get to those traitors in a moment.

2. Who were the big catches in your recruiting class? Name two players matriculating to your school whose existence everyone else in the Big Ten will curse for the next four years.

There may be a number of players who contribute for 4 seasons and do very well, but I'm going to give you the prize of the class who will be potentially an all time Gopher great and then a lesser rated player that I believe will be the diamond in the rough.

QB - MarQueis Gray (pictured right)- at 6'4", 22o, athletic and fast but Gray has been described as a a pocket passer that happens to be a good athlete. Gray will be a perfect fit for the Gophers "Spread Coast" offense. He will likely red shirt and may not play for a couple years but he will add a dynamic-ness to this offense that we haven't seen in forever.

ATH - Troy Stoudermire - T-Stud was not highly rated but he is a tremendous athlete who may play WR or CB and will likely be in the PR mix. In high school he was the QB who led Dallas Skyline to the Texas 5A Quarter Finals. T-Stud may red shirt but I believe he will be a dynamic play-maker.

3. You can't win them all. Maybe some slick talking carpetbagger schmoozed his way into your living room, sold you a set of ginzu knives made out of tin foil, and walked off with your wife and your star recruit. Perhaps an in-state lock who grew up with [Insert University Here] posters on his wall and your coach's face tattooed on his arm decided to go elsewhere for reasons no one seems to understand? Did your recruiting class lose someone big on signing day, who was it, and was your school able to ink someone else to cover his loss?

There are two recruits that we lost and needed to sign in the worst way. Minnesota loses the best in state recruits every year to the Ohio State's (some LB called Laryngitis or something), Notre Dame's (Trevor Laws would have helped this D last year), Nebraska's and those pesky rodents to our East. This recruiting season was no different. Tim Brewster came in and promised to make us good (we'll give that time), promised to recruit (delivered) and keep Minnesota kids at home (missed 2)...

DE - Willie Mobley - this Judas left us for Ohio State. He would have started at DE game 1 and would have helped to set a precedent for future in state studs. Mobley was close to signing with Minnesota but in the end he wants to lose his last game for the next 4 seasons to an SEC team. We did not land an adequate replacement.

WR - Michael Floyd (pictured right)- typically the best players from Cretin Derham Hall leave Minnesota and attend Notre Dame. Floyd was the highest rated Minnesota player and seeing him dominate the Army All-American game demonstrated how much we could use him. But we did land a couple other 4-star receivers and this loss doesn't leave a gaping whole (Brandon Green fills Floyd's shoes).

4. There's been a spirited debate about this whole "Coaches' Code" among the members of the Big Ten coaching fraternity. Do you believe this exists or is it a line being floated by the guys who couldn't keep their recruiting classes together? Bonus points for declaring your coach a poacher or a poachee in creative fashion!

I think coach BB the Badger cheats and I want him to get caught, but I don't have any proof (yet). But I really don't have an opinion on this as I haven't been paying attention long enough to see anything.

All in all this was a great recruiting class and Brewster has already received two commits for 2009. Both are in state recruits with QB-Moses Alipate easily ranking in the top 100. I'm looking forward to seeing if Brewster can top 2008.


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