Mason looks to have solid 1999 recruiting class

Michael Dougherty

With Wednesday’s announcement that St. Paul Johnson’s Thomas Tapeh would accept a scholarship to attend Minnesota, the Gophers have put together an impressive list of recruits for the 1999 season.
On Feb. 3, the first day recruits can sign with colleges, Gophers coach Glen Mason will hold a news conference to announce the group of players he has signed to national letters of intent.
According to local news reports, the following 18 players are expected to sign with Minnesota. They have 21 tenders available, and Tapeh’s signing leaves them with two openings.
In alphabetical order.
Asad Abdul-Khaliq, 6-feet-1, 185 pound quarterback from Fort Union, Va. Abdul-Khaliq signed with the Gophers last year but was unable to meet academic requirements. Phil Archer, 6-2, 230, linebacker Cretin-Derham Hall; Andre Brown, 5-9, 180, defensive back, Fort Scott Community College, Kan.; Anthony Dabruzzi, 6-8, 280, offensive lineman, Stillwater; Tony Dupree, 6-1, 215, linebacker, Jersey City, N.J.; Mike Galloway, 6-1, 180, defensive back, Columbus, Ohio; Dan Gitlewski, 6-6, 250, tight end, Oak Creek, Wis.; Benji Kamrath, 6-3, 195, quarterback, Mayville, Wis.; Dan Kwapinski, 6-4, 245, defensive lineman, Lisbon, N.D.; Matt McIntosh, 6-feet-8, 285 pound offensive lineman from Hartland, Wisc., brother of Badgers’ All-Big Ten tackle Chris McIntosh. Paul Nixon, 6-2, 205, defensive back, Columbus, Ohio; Dan Nystrom, 5-11, 200, place-kicker, Robbinsdale Cooper; Tony Patterson, 6-3, 190, quarterback, Belleville, Ill.; Eric Rothwell, 6-4, 285, offensive lineman, McFarland, Wis.; Chris Smith, 6-4, 290, defensive lineman, Milford Academy (Conn.); Thomas Tapeh, 6-2, 210, running back, St. Paul Johnson. Ben Utecht, 6-5, 210, wide receiver, Hastings; Eli Ward, 6-0, 180, defensive back, Akron, Ohio; Maurice White, 6-4, 265, offensive/defensive lineman, Detroit, Mich.
Allen Wallace of Superprep magazine and the official football recruiting analyst for the USA Today, said he has Tapeh ranked as the 45th best player in the country.
Wallace had four other players from this group ranked in his top 125 Midwest prospects: Dabruzzi was ranked 36th, McIntosh 73rd, Archer 86th and Patterson 114th.
Despite the fact that this is one of the most impressive recruiting lists in recent Gophers history, Wallace said it doesn’t put the team in the top half of the Big Ten.
“I would say Minnesota, right now, is probably in the bottom three of the Big Ten,” Wallace said. “Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State are at the top of the list.”