Tim Brewster’s Recruiting Classes: Failing

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By Mike Gallagher

It’s been six years since Paul Bunyan’s axe has graced Minnesota’s campus.  The case in which it rests is a barren and pathetic sight.  You could say it almost resembled the play of the Gophers last Saturday.  The score had no business being as close at it was. Zach Brown handed the Gophers seven garbage time pts. via fumble.

Somehow, the Gophers managed to scrape together one more chance.  That, however, was quickly squashed by the Gophers O-line, which was issuing free passes for the Badgers defensive linemen to get in.  Weber had no more than two seconds to find anyone on the last drive and finally fumbled to end the game, but he can hardly be blamed for that.

It was a game the Gophers needed to win for gaining legitimacy on the Big Ten stage.  When they needed it most, the supporting cast did not step up, which seems to be a recurring theme around TCF Bank Stadium.  You can only lose so many games versus legitimate opponents before people start asking what the problem is.  Don’t look too deep though, because this one is easy.

Take a look at the Gophers stats page on any website or media guide you have handy.  Who are the key contributors?  Look closely, and you’ll notice a trend.  Almost everyone giving anything worthwhile is a senior.  Eric Decker and Nick Tow-Arnett (1-2 in receiving yards), redshirt junior (a.k.a. senior) Adam Weber. Nate Triplett, Lee Campbell, and Simoni Lawrence are the top three tacklers on the squad, and starting corners Treye Simmons and Marcus Sherels.

The list goes on, but the real interesting list here is the underclassmen:  WR’s Vincent Hill, Brandon Green and Brodrick Smith, RB’s Duane Bennett, Shady Solomon and Deleon Eskridge.  Brewster’s QB son Clint and prize of Brewster’s 2008 recruiting class QB Marqueis Gray. timbrewsteryelling

These are just the position players he’s brought in to plug holes, but they’ve been more like sieves than plugs for the offense.  This is especially true with the hands of former four-star recruit Brandon Green, who is being relied on as a second option, but can’t seem to hold on to the ball.  The other four-star recruit, Vincent Hill, no longer attends the U and is not listed on any college roster anywhere now.  Brodrick Smith and Clint Brewster also transferred.  Marqueis Gray was an All-American in high school and 4 star recruit, and has contributed nothing.  Yes, he has Weber ahead of him on the depth chart, but the coaching staff has still been unable to find anyway to really make him produce consistently on the field. The three running backs are 1-2-3 on the depth chart, but it’s a non-existent running attack that has only yielded 96 yards a game (106th in the nation).

Both of the last two classes have been nationally ranked coming in.  But key departures and lack of development from very naturally talented athletes have hurt key positions.  It’s clearly showing how their stars can only carry them so far.  They need to put something together outside of Adam Weber to Eric Decker or they’re going to suffer a brutal wake up call against Penn State and Ohio State after they dispose of Purdue next week.

Some help from underclassmen would be nice, but since they can’t perform, it lies on the seniors.  Let’s not think about next year, because it might make this year look like a national title.

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