May 18, 2008

Gophers lose Bryce McNeal to Michigan

Breck's Bryce McNeal has decided to play for Michigan and Rich Rodriquez's version of the Spread Offense. McNeal is clearly the #1 prospect coming out of Minnesota this year. The players who will likely occupy 3-5 have already committed to being Gophers. McNeal's very early commitment leaves me with a few thoughts.

First of all it is nice to get this out of the way in May rather than November. Last year the staff spent many hours working on Willie Mobley and Michael Floyd only to see them hold out until October or November. Time can now be spent on other WRs.

Let's also not completely give up hope, this isn't over. A verbal commitment, especially this early, isn't exactly a lock to leave us. Should Brewster turn things around this year, should we beat up on Michigan as they fall to a embarrassing season or should he realize he'll be featured more in Mike Dunbar's offense than RichRod's or should Michigan bring in several other highly rates RWs then he could always change his verbal and actually sign with Minnesota. Clearly the chances are greatly diminished but there is a lot of time between now and signing day in February.

Finally, It is hard to argue with the recruiting results of Tim Brewster in his first full year of chasing high school all over the country. This year's incoming class is the best we have seen in decades and probably ever. We have athletic and speedy kids coming from Texas, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Chicago and Detroit to name a handful of hot spots. Coach Brewster coming off a 1 win season landed a top 25 class, which is remarkable to say the least.

BUT, he has failed to live up to one of his early promises. We all know he vowed to take us to the Rose Bowl (that seems a ways off) but so far what hurts more is that he has yet to "lock down the borders." The previous staff was unable to retain the best of Minnesota's prospects, largely because of poor relationships and a lack of interest. The current staff has put in more time and effort but have equaled the formers' success rate.

The class of 2008 saw the best two in state players leave for Ohio State and Notre Dame. 2009 will have us keeping more but we still have to watch the top of the list compete against the Gophers in another Big Ten uniform.

Next on the list is TE Ra'shede Hageman from Mpls-Washburn. Hageman is getting interest and offers from Florida, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois Nebraska and other Big Ten schools. Hageman is probably the #2 prospect in the state, and should be a top priority for the Gopher staff. Don't let the best two leave yet again.


MGO on the McNeal commitment
Michigan Sports Center on McNeal with more to come HERE.

Ruesse would be happy to know there is little other coverage within the blogosphere.


Jon Marthaler said...

One request for clarification: early on, you say that #2-#4 have already committed to being Gophers... but later you suggest that Hageman is #2. I'd be interested to hear your take on who the top 5 or 6 prospects in MN are for this recruiting year.

Tom said...

sorry, I thought I deleted that top portion. My best guess of top 5 in the state are..
5-Campion? or could be somebody else.