Gophers RB recruit Herrod could follow in Cobb’s footsteps

J’Vonte Herrod will make his college decision next month.

Jack Satzinger

It’s said that everyone likes a good underdog story.

That’s one reason Gophers fans have fallen for junior running back David Cobb this season.

Cobb started the season third on Minnesota’s depth chart, but has since gained the starting spot and rushed for more than 1,000 yards after just 65 yards combined in his first two seasons. 

And another up-and-coming running back might be joining him in Dinkytown soon.

J’Vonte Herrod hails from North Cobb High School in Georgia. He might join Cobb in the Twin Cities when he makes his college decision in the next month.

Cobb grew up in Killeen, Texas and has spoken with Herrod about playing in Minnesota after growing up in the south.

“[Cobb] basically says the running backs are taken care of,” Herrod said. “Coach [Brian] Anderson trusts them, they get the ball a lot.”

They sure do. Cobb has 219 carries in 12 games played this season.

That’s one of the things Herrod particularly likes about Minnesota, their prolific rushing attack.

The Gophers’ run game is spurred by a veteran offensive line and next year the vast majority of them will be back.

Herrod said the prospect of playing behind Minnesota’s offensive line makes them very attractive.

“They’re bonded as one,” Herrod said of the offensive line. “It all starts with the line. If they cooperate, it’s going to be a lot smoother for me as a running back.”

Another big factor for Herrod’s recruitment is whether or not a program is bowl-eligible.

Three of the schools he’s considering – Marshall, Utah State, and Minnesota – are. 

Utah State topped Northern Illinois 21-14 last night, stymying a strong rushing attack.

“They came out there fired up,” Herrod said. “I love their dedication. They put everything they had into last night and they got the win.”

In October, Herrod’s lone offers were local Kennesaw State and Wingate University.

Then Anderson discovered the 6-foot, 210-pound running back and offered him a scholarship to play for the Gophers.

Since then, Herrod has gained interest from dozens of other schools.

Most of the programs he’s considering – Southern Mississippi, Western Kentucky, Appalachian State, Marshall, Tennessee, and Utah State – are much further south than Minnesota.

Herrod said he’s not deterred by the cold weather because the Gophers take care of their players.

“Out of state players from down south that are used to warm weather, they keep them warm and fed, feeling like they’re at home,” Herrod said. “They make sure their players are happy.”  

Cobb had offers from Memphis, Stanford, and nearby North Texas. He spurned those schools for Minnesota, but is now back in Texas for his final game of 2013.

“It’s great to come back, for me, in my home state and play in front of my family and friends,” Cobb told reporters Thursday. “I definitely am not taking the experience for granted.”

Herrod noted the similarities between he and Cobb and thinks he will have a similar impact as a surprise player.

“If I get the ball enough, with an offensive line like [the Gophers], I could probably get 1,000 yards in eight games,” Herrod said.

He hasn’t made up his mind yet, but Minnesota has definitely made an impression on Herrod. He’ll be watching Friday’s bowl game intently, rooting on the Gophers’ running back.

“I’m looking for my Gophers to win tonight,” Herrod said.