Gopher-Badger-Hawkeye Recruiting ClassesGOPHERS:
As of now, I am not too high on what the Gophs brought in. ESPN has their class ranked ninth in the Big Ten. Now, ranking recruiting classes is not a science. Recruits are unproven. Surely, no one was thinking the Gophers were going to get two All-Americans in Mark Setterstrom and Greg Eslinger. However, this class lacks a big name. A few years ago, we stole Maroney from Illinois (which I think was more fortunate for him than for the Gophs) and picked Brandon Owens out of Florida. Those were big names. This year, we have Adam Weber, who should be a solid, if not great, quarterback in a year or two (leaving next year to Cupito, the year after to Mortenson, and 2008 to be a battle between Mortenson and Weber). Terrance Sherrer, running back out of Ohio, sounds like he will be solid, and the Gophers seem to know running backs. Brylee Callendar, a JUCO from Lakeville, is also an interesting prospect. I look forward to seeing him in the Spring Game. I think he has a good shot at seeing the field next year. Losing Aundre Henderson (DT) was huge; so was losing Walker Lee Ashley. They need defense, and I'm not sure if they got it. Time will tell, I guess.
ESPN has them in the middle of the pack. The biggest name on Bucky's board appears to be Lance Smith, RB from Ohio. Does he have a shot at playing next year? The position must be wide open. Lance Kendricks also has alot of raw talent at WR. They got Kim Royston out of MN's Cretin Derham Hall. He's a legit four-star corner. Overall, it looks like they got not only better overall talent than Minnesota, but also more depth. Bielema seems to have picked up where Alvarez left off.
Hawkeyes:The only team that has done a better job than Wisconsin of recruiting in a state with limited D1 talent is Iowa. None of Iowa's current signee is from Iowa. Ferentz consistently brings in guys no one has ever heard of and turning them into great players. Dallas Clark and Chad Greenway both come to mind. I think Iowa got more talent than Wisconsin (and of course MN), but not quite as much depth. I don't know where they were at in terms of scholarships available, though. Iowa's top three recruits: defense. Maybe that explain why they have beaten the Gophs five effin straight times in an effin row!! Man, I hate the Suckeyes. Which reminds me why I am souring on Glen Mason: he can't beat the two teams I really want him to beat. But I digress. Iowa's class isn't great, but you can virtually guarantee that Ferentz will make it alot better.
On a related note, B.O. underwent something like 8 hours of surgery in Rochester last week to try to fix his shoulder. I've talked to a few folks with the team, and when I bring up Owens being back, they just kindof somberly shake their heads. It's really a shame for both parties because B.O. was a great football player, certainly the best the Gophers have had on defense in some time. It's also sad for Brandon because he had NFL potential. For those of you who saw what Michael Robinson did to him, you knew he was going to be in trouble. That was a wicked hit.
Another note, Gary Russell has yet to register at the University of Minnesota this semester (just search his name at www.umn.edu and you will find that he last registered Fall 2005). Apparently, Russ has had some trouble in the classroom (my insiders have also told me he and Ernie Wheelright aren't big on going to class). I've also recently heard he is getting it together and will be back this summer. I'm glad Amir Pinnix is still around. Guys on the staff have told me he is a great kid and good in the classroom. I hope he has a nice year next season.
Maybe the saddest note of all is that I heard the U of M lost 9 of last year's 23 scholarship atheletes. That's the type of attrition that can cripple a program. They'll need to recover from that quickly, maybe bringing in a few late qualifiers between now and fall camp.