EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 05: Le'Veon Bell #24 of the Michigan State Spartans rushes with the football while pursued by Aaron Hill #57 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers on a play in the third quarter of the game at Spartan Stadium on November 5, 2011 in East Lansing, Michigan. The Spartans defeated the Gophers 31-24. (Photo by Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images)
This week, we venture to the Land of 1000 Lakes to check in on perennial B1G doormat, the Minnesota Golden Gophers and their incoming recruiting class. Did Jerry Kill bring in enough talent to begin winning the contest for the state's least terrible football team?
Last year was as forgettable as they come. In his first year, Jerry Kill's team went 3-9 overall, with a 2-6 record in the B1G Legends division. The worst part was that many of the losses were blowouts of an embarrassing variety. For example, Minnesota lost 42-13 to Wisconsin, 41-14 to Nebraska and the worst loss, 58-0 to Michigan. Statistically, Minnesota were 10th in the B1G in offense and 11th in defense. The good news is that there is nowhere to go but up for the Gophers.
Issac Hayes-OL-6'2'', 270 lbs., Mendota Heights, MN-With all due respect to the late, great Chef from South Park, Colorado, this Issac Hayes is a flat out beast. While not that heavy, Hayes has tremendous strength and has good hand skills. The most impressive thing about Hayes, who is the 116th best player in the nation (ESPN), is his speed and agility. Hayes has the speed to pull on sweeps and bootlegs and clear a path for the ball carrier. If Kill gives Hayes someone to block for, he'll have a very good career at Minnesota.
Jamal Harbison-WR-5'11'', 190 lbs., Charlotte, NC-This ESPN 4-star athlete is a proto-typical wide receiver. Lining up, primarily, wide in high school, Harbison demonstrated the ability to blow by corners and safeties in high school with regularity. It appeared that Harbison played with a decent quarterback in high school and, therefore, was never in a posiiton to make a difficult catch. So, it appears that Harbison has good hands, but will his hands be good enough to be able to fend off good cornerbacks. Also, it appeared that many of the high school corners played off the ball, so it remains to be seen whether he can get off the line of scrimmage at this level. However, Harbison has the skills to be a good wideout in the B1G.
Andre McDonald-WR-6'2'', 200 lbs., Minnetonka, MN-McDonald jumps off the film. Large for a wideout, McDonald has enough speed that he also served as an effective return man. At 200lbs., McDonald was able to plow through tacklers, often carrying defenders with him en route to the endzone. While McDonald was fast enough to play wide in high school, his skill set probably tanslate to working in the slot in college. Still, McDonald should prove to be an effective pass catcher for the Gophers.
Overall Analysis: Minnesota had a good recruiting class this year, signing 3 4-star athletes and 12 3-star players. Out of 27 recruits overall, the split between offense and defense was 12 & 15 respectively. Still, although Minnesota added some quality depth, this class is about 1-2 years from making an impact on the field. Overall Grade: C
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