Football team gets first commitment of 2013

Tartan High School’s Keelon Brookins verbally committed to Minnesota on Saturday.

Samuel Gordon

Keelon Brookins of Tartan High School (Oakdale, Minn.) committed to play football for the Gophers this weekend.

With the commitment, Brookins became the first member of Jerry Kill’s 2013 recruiting class.

Brookins, who said he had interest from Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Missouri and Michigan amongst others, said Minnesota’s academics and coaching staff played a big role in his decision.

“[The school I chose] had to have a fantastic education program … My father went to the U and graduated with his masters and doctorates degree from Minnesota so that had a big impact,” he said.

“They’re on the uprising, and I can contribute and benefit from that … The coaches showed great character and love. They welcomed me into the family and I felt at home.” has the 5-foot-11, 175-pound high school junior listed as one of its top-150 prospects for the 2013 class.

Brookins turned in one of the top performances at the 2011 Nike SPARQ Combine, highlighted by his 4.60-second 40-yard dash time and 35-inch vertical jump.

He missed all but one game of his junior season with an ACL injury. As a sophomore in 2010, Brookins caught 13 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns and had five interceptions as a cornerback.

Brookins said Gophers coaches recruited him as an athlete, and though he is open to playing any position, he sees himself as a defensive back.

He said offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys and defensive backs coach Jay Sawvel were the most active Minnesota coaches in the  recruiting process.