Jerry Kill Opening Statement
“It was a challenging recruiting class because we had to recruit against a lot of good people, and we were fortunate enough to, for the most part, be successful, and as I told some of our administration, today I could have came in here and three or four things could have went the other way and they didn't,” he said. “They went our way. And that's a good thing for us.”
Gophers Land Campbell
The Gophers pulled a Signing Day surprise with the signing of JUCO linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. The talented athlete had offers from Kansas State, Tennessee, and Texas but in the end, picked Minnesota.
“De'Vondre Campbell is a young man I didn't know if he would commit today or not,” said Kill. “We had him committed, but I wasn't sure. So we had to go up to the last day on a couple of them.”
Length and Speed
Kill stated that one of the main things the Gophers tried to find in this class was a combination of length and speed.
“Then I look at our class and I look at those long arms and I look at speed and that takes care of a lot of issues,” he said. “And so I think we've got length and speed in the class, which is important.”
The Gophers had to fend off a number of teams in order to land some of their prized recruits. Minnesota was able to land a commitment from quarterback Donovahn Jones on the eve of Signing Day.
“The thing about Donovahn Jones is Arkansas offered him,” said Kill. “They wanted him to play defense. You know, Wisconsin got in late.”
Texas native and offensive tackle recruit Alex Mayes has been committed since last summer but a late push from the Big 12 made the Gophers sweat.
“He's a young man that kind of sums up our class through a long time of recruiting and a long building relationship, had the determination yesterday not to stay at home and go to Baylor University or go to Oklahoma University at the last second, and he hung in there and that really has to do with Coach [Matt] Limegrover and the relationship we built with that family and getting in that home and doing your job,” said Kill.
Kill Pitches Twin Cities
Kill noted that while in a number of recruiting battles, the main thing he pitched to recruits was the Twin Cities and the opportunities following the completion of a degree at the University of Minnesota.
“And I tell you, in recruiting, what helped us more than anything is we sold our university, the Fortune 500 companies, the opportunity after football,” he said. “We got several business school people. We sold our university and what our state had to offer young men past four years.”
Minnesota was able to land just one Minnesota native, Chris Wipson, in their 2013 class.
“It just happens to be this year, am I disappointed that we just got one kid, you bet,” he said. “I mean I wish we could have landed a couple more in there. But we didn't. So we move forward...we'll continue to recruit Minnesota hard.”
Recruiting the South
Kill credited his staff for being able to pull three recruits out of Georgia and Florida respectively.
“I would tell you Florida Coach [Bill] Miller has been here a long time,” he said. “He was here back 15, 20 years ago and he has a tremendous reputation. And also Coach [Robert] Reeves. And Coach Reeves recruited Florida for me when I was at Southern and Northern Illinois. So we have two people that are good recruiters and do a great job.”