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New Gophers football coach does solid recruiting job

By Chip Scoggins

McClatchy Newspapers

MINNEAPOLIS — Exactly three weeks ago today, Tim Brewster conducted his first press conference introducing him as the new Gophers football coach at the McNamara Alumni Center.

Today, he will conclude an abbreviated but hectic recruiting season by announcing his first recruiting class on the first day of the national signing period.

Forced to make up a lot of ground as the recruiting season reached the 11th hour, Brewster and his new staff managed to salvage a respectable class by hanging on to most of the commitments secured by the previous staff while also adding a few of their recruits.

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As of Tuesday evening, the Gophers had 21 known commitments, although signing day often brings an unexpected development or two.

Considering all that has happened with the program since New Year’s Eve — it feels like an eternity ago, doesn’t it? — the team’s incoming class is perhaps better than could be expected.

"Not bad at all," said Tom Lemming, a national recruiting expert. "I’m really impressed by Brewster and the staff that he’s put together. He got some very good recruiters. I think it’s a sign that Minnesota is entering its heyday as far as recruiting in the next few years."

It’s certainly an interesting class. The group includes five junior college transfers, eight players from Minnesota, six defensive backs, Brewster’s son and a guy whose last name is Uu (Logan, a JUCO linebacker from California).

"The class should finish somewhere in the 45-55 range in national rankings," said Zach Johnson, analyst for the Rivals recruiting site Gophersillustrated.com. "This might be your typical Glen Mason-type class, but it is safe to say that, when given a full year, coach Brewster’s staff will rank a lot higher."

Brewster has indicated in recent days that he might have a signing-day surprise. That has created speculation that one or possibly more of the top in-state prospects who have committed to other schools - Cretin-Derham Hall’s Broderick Binns, Eden Prairie’s Bryce McNaul and Blake Sorensen and Armstrong’s David Gilreath - could have a change of heart. All four players have stated publicly that they will honor their commitments, but it’s not inconceivable that one could change his decision today.

Lemming said the fact that those four and a few national recruits considered Brewster’s message on short notice represents a minor victory, even if they don’t change their choice.

"They didn’t get a lot of guys turned, but they’re getting guys’ attention," Lemming said. "That’s a big step."

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Brewster got at least one recruit to change his commitment — his son Clint, a quarterback from J.K. Mullen High in Denver who withdrew his commitment to Illinois on Sunday after visiting Minnesota. According to NCAA rules, Brewster can discuss his recruitment of Clint and the rest of the class in depth for the first time today.

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