Recruits Join Gopher Nation

New University of Minnesota football coach Tim Brewster has introduced his first recruiting class, and the group includes a few surprises among the 22 names on the coach’s list. Among the surprises were the names of Harold Howell and Tray Herndon of Jacksonville, Fla., and the coach’s son, Clint Brewster of Denver. The younger Brewster, a quarterback, had previously committed to attend the University of Illinois. Perhaps it was the signing of a quarterback who also is the coach’s son that resulted in a pair of other surprises. Two high schoolers previously thought to be on the list were missing, and both of them quarterbacks. Coach Brewster refused to comment on the absence of quarterbacks Travaris Cadet of Miami and Phil Haig of Henry Sibley High School in Minnesota. Both had been recruited by former Gopher head coach Glen Mason.

“It’s been very exciting for me and my staff to get out and recruit for the University of Minnesota,” the exuberant Brewster exclaimed.

“My staff has done an absolutely miraculous job basically being on the road for two weeks. We’ve had two weeks to work at this thing and my guys have done just a tremendous job.” He acknowledged that the group “didn’t get everybody we set out to get.”

They did, however, get Clint Brewster, who is ranked as the 17th best pro-style quarterback in the U.S. and the third-ranked overall player in Colorado. In addition, the coach and his staff were able to lure the speedy duo of Herndon and Howell from Florida to the chillier climate of the Upper Midwest.

Brewster was able to retain commitments of those on the list who were recruited by Mason’s people

“I’d like to thank Glen Mason and his staff. A large part of this class was signed or committed by [Mason]. There’s tremendous character and athletic ability in this group. [Mason] did a very good job of getting this class started and we finished it.”

Already, Brewster is looking to next year’s recruiting. “We’re well into the 2008 recruiting class already, and we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that the top players in this state come to Minnesota. What we have to do is we have to identify these players earlier; we have to get on them and stay on them. We’re going to offer scholarships to these young guys earlier than they have in the past.”

He indicated that it won’t be easy coaching his son. “I think it’s going to be a hard road for Clint to play football here at the University of Minnesota. He’s chosen to take that road. If he’s good enough to play, he’s going to play. If he’s not good enough, it’ll be very obvious to everybody, and he won’t play. He will earn his ability to get on the field just like every other player in this program. I’m going to get a chance just to watch my son and see him grow as a player here at a great university.

“We have a couple of outstanding quarterbacks on campus already. I think the competition at quarterback is going to be excellent.” He added that every position on the Gopher roster “is going to be wide open. We’re going to create competition. That’s what’s going to make this team great on offense, defense, and in the kicking game. The number one thing we’re looking for is toughness,”

Brewster indicated that player passion and intelligence also are crucial, plus “we’re looking for playmakers. Regardless of position, we need playmakers on this football team. That was one of the things that we really wanted to focus on the last two weeks of recruiting—getting guys who we felt like could do something with the ball and score points.”

According to Brewster, Howell will be a playmaker for the Gophers. “He is one of the most dynamic high school football players in the country today,” his new coach said. “He can do some unbelievable things with the football and has great speed. He is absolutely electrifying. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be adding him to this class.” Howell is here because of Brewster’s relationship with the head coach at Mandarin High School in Jacksonville. “J.D. Hall has been a friend of mine since 1985. He told me the kid is 5-8 and 160 pounds. I looked at him on film and thought he looked 6-2, 200 pounds.”

As he has in the past, Brewster made repeated references to the “Gopher Nation,” a legion of fans throughout the state. “There is a Gopher Nation,” he said, “and we’re going to wake it up.”

The list of signees:

Duane Bennett RB 5-9 190 Fairview Heights, Ill. (O’Fallon Township High School)
Clint Brewster QB 6-1 190 Denver, Colo. (J.K. Mullen HS)
Chris Bunders OL 6-3 305 Maple Grove, Minn. (Osseo HS)
Justin Chatman ATH 5-9 165 Mesquite, Texas (Horn HS)
Marc Cheatham WR 6-2 210 Oakland, Calif. (Laney College [Calif.])
Durrell Clark-James DB 6-1 190 San Francisco, Calif. (City College of San Francisco [Calif.])
Ryan Collado DB 5-9 165 Cincinnati, Ohio (Hills Christian HS)
Trey Davis OL 6-2 275 Farmington, Minn. (Farmington HS)
Serge Elizee DT 6-1 300 Miami, Fla. (College of the Sequoias [Calif.])
Tray Herndon WR 5-10 170 Jacksonville, Fla. (The Bolles School)
Harold Howell ATH 5-8 160 Jacksonville, Fla. (Mandarin HS)
Anthony Jacobs DE 6-2 265 Northfield, Minn. (Northfield HS)
Collin McGarry TE 6-4 230 Stillwater, Minn. (Stillwater HS)
Ryan Orton OL 6-4 265 Eden Prairie, Minn. (Eden Prairie HS)
Shane Potter DB 6-1 195 Clearwater, Minn. (Becker HS)
Eric Small DL 6-2 265 Naperville, Ill. (Joliet JC [Ill.])
Andre Tate RB 6-2 215 Mendota Heights, Minn. (Henry Sibley HS)
Kyle Theret DB 5-11 185 Denver, Colo. (J.K. Mullen)
Curtis Thomas S 6-1 190 Aldine, Texas (Aldine HS)
Jimmy Thompson WR 6-1 180 Hayward, Wis. (Hayward HS)
Logan Uu LB 5-10 225 Oakland, Calif. (Laney College [Calif.])
Ryan Wynn OL 6-5 240 Plymouth, Minn. (Maple Grove HS)

The list includes players from eight different states plus eight signees from Minnesota. The group includes one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, four offensive linemen, three defensive linemen, one linebacker, five defensive backs, and two specialists.

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