No. 1 recruit going to USC; Gophers sign Jimmy Gjere

Two of the top three in-state recruits signed letters of intent to play for Minnesota.

by Michael Rietmulder

University of Minnesota head football coach Tim Brewster unveiled his 2010 recruiting class Wednesday, which included two of the top three in-state recruits, but not Seantrel Henderson, one of the most sought-after high school players in the nation. The class of 25 student-athletes is ranked 50th nationally by and 68th by based on the talent of the committed recruits. Henderson, a 6-foot-8, 330-pound offensive tackle from Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, was rated the second-highest prospect in the nation by Henderson announced his decision to attend the University of Southern California on Wednesday âÄî the first day high school football players can sign letters of intent âÄî after a highly publicized recruiting process. The University was said to have been on HendersonâÄôs short list, and the five-star recruit met with Brewster on Sunday evening at TCF Bank Stadium. While Henderson undoubtedly would have been the feather in BrewsterâÄôs maroon baseball cap, the third-year coach landed other top homegrown talent. âÄúWhat weâÄôre trying to do is plant the seed in young peoplesâÄô heads that the dream is to wear maroon and gold,âÄù Brewster said. Brewster was successful in recruiting offensive lineman Jimmy Gjere. Rivals ranks Gjere as the No. 2 player in the state. The four-star recruit went to Irondale High School in New Brighton, Minn., where he was a two-sport athlete, playing hockey and football. Gjere was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game. Irondale football coach Ben Geisler said Gjere is an all-around athlete and a leader on the field. âÄúHe can do anything we ask him to. He honestly could probably start at quarterback for me,âÄù Geisler said. Any disappointment Gophers fans have from not signing Henderson may be alleviated by Gjere, who plays the same position. Geisler said the 6-foot-7, 275-pound Gjere is extremely quick and describes his footwork as âÄúamazing.âÄù Also signing with the Gophers on Wednesday was Woodbury High SchoolâÄôs Lamonte Edwards. Like Gjere, Edwards is a four-star recruit and rated the No. 3 recruit out of Minnesota, according to Rivals. National recruiting expert Tom Lemming ranked Edwards as the No. 23 outside linebacker in the nation, though Brewster said he will play running back at the University. EdwardsâÄô high school coach Beau LaBore said in his sophomore season he questioned EdwardsâÄô commitment to the team after he was having trouble making it to practice. Not long after talking to Edwards about his commitment level, Edwards missed the bulk of a morning practice. LaBore said he was ready to âÄúgive him the businessâÄù before learning the reason for his tardiness. Edwards, who lived eight miles away from the school, did not have a ride and had walked the entire way. âÄúThat was kind of a moment when I was like âÄòOK, this kidâÄôs starting to get it,âÄôâÄù LaBore said. Edwards is one of three running backs in this yearâÄôs class, including Donnell Kirkwood (Delray Beach, Fla.), who could compete for playing time. Brewster said he expects to see many players competing for playing time next season, something he said is a hallmark of great teams. Other notable signees include Tom Parish, a dual-threat quarterback from Hartland, Wisc. Tom Taraska, his high school coach, said Parish comes from a long line of quarterbacks. Taraska said both his father and grandfather were quarterbacks at the University of Wisconsin. Taraska compares Parish to Tyler Donovan, whom newly-hired Gophers quarterbacks coach Jeff Horton coached at Wisconsin. The Gophers signed three players from Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa., including tight end Tiree Eure, who is already enrolled at the University. Brewster said Euree could help to fill the void left by Nick Tow-Arnett who will graduate this year. Athletics Director Joel Maturi said he approves of BrewsterâÄôs recruiting efforts, but warned of making snap judgments. âÄúI think [Brewster] said it right. Recruiting isnâÄôt an exact science, and I donâÄôt think any of us should fully judge what those facts mean until later,âÄù Maturi said. âÄúOn paper, it looks pretty good.âÄù