The verbals are coming in at a torrid pace lately.
As media outlets prognosticate on the upcoming Big Ten season there are two things Gopher fans can count on this year. 1-The Gophers will be picked 11th nearly 100% of the time. 2-The only Golden Gopher you will see on any pre-season all conference lists is punter Justin Kucek. Kucek is a senior so brining in punter to replace him is obviously important for Brewster and Co.
The coaching staff has received a verbal from their top punter priority. Dan Orseske has decided he will make the move from Chicago to Minneapolis next fall to compete for the starting punter position as a true freshman (P-Blake Haudan will be a senior next fall so he may get a year as the starter).
|Size: 6-3, 195 lbs|
|High School: Brother Rice (Chicago, IL)|
|Stars: none at this point|
|Notes: Brother Rice water polo has won 13 state championships (Orseske does not play WP) |
|Other Offers: Northwestern (take that LTP) |
It is hard to gauge how good a high school punter truly is but after performing well at a Gopher camp this summer, Orseske earned a scholarship offer. He took a week to think it over and this weekend Orseske gave the Gophers his verbal. This verbal brings our commit list to eight as we get to the midway point of the summer.
At the Kohl's Punting and Kicking camp in May, Orseske averaged 44.9 yds per punt with an average hangtime of 4.08 seconds. Those numbers were nearly 5 yds further with .30 seconds of extra hangtime than the next best punter at the camp.
Orseske has spent his summer making the tour of football camps (Illinois, Northwestern, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, N. Illinois). His only other offer was from Northwestern, but ultimately the decision was down to Minnesota or Illinois (who he expected to offer).
Hopefully this team gets to a point where a punter isn't as much of a factor as Justin Kucek has been. An offense the moves the ball and a defense that gets some three-and-outs does more for field position than an All-American punter, but having a strong and accurate leg can do a lot to bail you out.
Dan Orseske, we welcome you to Gopher Nation with open arms. No offense to you but the less we see of, you the better.
On a related topic, lets talk about recruiting pipelines for the Gophers. In a season and a half of recruiting for Brewster and staff there are a couple of areas where the Gophers are making significant inroads. With the addition of Orseske, it adds another kid from the Chicago area. I don't know that a punter becoming the 3rd commit from one area makes us a recruiting heavyweight in the area, but if Brandon Green, Johnny Johnson and now Orseske can have some success we should be able to demonstrate that Minnesota is a viable destination for Chicago area recruits.
The two biggest recruiting hot beds in the country are Texas and Florida. Brewster isn't exactly batting 1.00 in Florida with the flame out of Harold Howell, the de-comittment of Padric Scott and the transfer of Tray Herndon. We continue to pursue highly rated athletes from the Sunshine state but have yet to land a big fish or two to make us viable players down there. Maybe WR-Victor Keise will be the first in a long line of Florida studs to give the Gophers some of that southern speed.
Texas, however, has been a different story. Landing the Skyline-4 has clearly established the Gophers at that particular school, and hopefully the Dallas area. But our Texas pipeline has tapped into more than just the Dallas area. Eric Lair (3-star TE) was an early commitment last summer and this springs verbal from Hasan Lipscomb (4-star RB) gives us another major athlete from the Houston area. Six highly ranked players from the two largest cities in Texas gives us a fighting chance with future recruits. The key to all of this is of course sustaining some success on the field. If the Gophers are able to demonstrate some Big Ten competitiveness in the near future then kids from Texas (or Florida, California, Ohio, wherever) will be more apt to braving Minnesota winters for a chance at starring as a Golden Gopher.
CB-Michael Carter - Florida recruit would give us street cred and much needed help in the secondary
DE - Craig Drummond - Chicago native who needs to get on that I94 tollway north and give us our second 4-star Chicagoan.