All in the family: Tom Olson follows brother and dad to the U

Tom’s older brother, Ed Jr., started eight games at offensive tackle last season.

Andrew Baker

In 1982, Ed Olson Sr. played his last season with the Gophers football team in a brand new, state-of-the-art indoor facility called the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

âÄúBack then all the games were Saturday night,âÄù Olson said, âÄúso it was the thing to do on a Saturday night, and we sold them out âĦ you couldnâÄôt get tickets.âÄù

These days the Metrodome resembles a giant, deflated volleyball and the Gophers are fresh off a 3-9 campaign, but excitement in the Olson household is nonetheless through the proverbial roof âÄî and with good reason.

Next fall, EdâÄôs son Tom, an offensive lineman out of Mahtomedi and the top-ranked recruit in the state, will join his brother, Ed Jr., on the field at their fatherâÄôs alma mater.

âÄúIf you walk into our house, itâÄôs pretty much maroon and gold all over the place,âÄù Tom said. âÄúMy dad grew up teaching us Gopher football and all that. He still supported anywhere else we wanted to go, but I know down deep he always wanted us to go to the Gophers.âÄù

Minnesota has had a hard time keeping top high school talent in-state in recent years, something the GophersâÄô new head coach, Jerry Kill, has deemed unacceptable.

âÄúThe program just needs to win a little bit and needs to show that they want all the kids in the state,âÄù Ed Sr. said.

He told the story of how Tom, despite receiving letters of interest from several top-tier programs around the country, said he was only interested in restoring the glory days of Gophers football.

âÄú[My commitment] never wavered,âÄù Tom said of the interim period between the firing of former head coach Tim Brewster and the hiring of Kill. âÄúOnce I was offered [a scholarship] after my sophomore year, I committed right then.âÄù

In high school, Olson played on the varsity team all four years.

Despite having a brother at Minnesota âÄî after redshirting in 2009, Ed Jr. started eight games at left offensive tackle for Minnesota in 2010 âÄî Tom never let the inevitable hype and speculation affect his work ethic or character, Mahtomedi head coach Dave Muetzel said.

âÄúHeâÄôs a very physical player,âÄù Muetzel said, âÄúbut yet as a teammate he is humble. A lot of times when youâÄôre touted as the top recruit in the state, that can get to your head, and it didnâÄôt get to TommyâÄôs head at all. HeâÄôs been great in our program. He is the hardest worker.âÄù

Asked whether Tom needed to improve in any specific facets of his game, Muetzel said, âÄúNo. Just keep getting better âĦ Obviously, heâÄôs taken the next step to play at a very high level in college, but heâÄôs going to be up to that challenge.âÄù

Tom and his father both said they are excited at the prospect of being in on the ground floor of a new Gophers coaching regime.

Among the coaches on KillâÄôs staff, Tom has spent the most with offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover, who also coaches the offensive line.

âÄúAs a dad, youâÄôre kind of handing your kid over to the coaching staff,âÄù said Ed Sr. âÄúI want to know that theyâÄôre in good hands, and I have no hesitations whatsoever when I think of coach Kill and coach Limegrover and the rest of the staff.âÄù