New era of Michigan-Ohio State Domination?

michigan-ohio-state

Michigan-Ohio State has always been “The Game.” OSU and UM have always been the big boys of the Big Ten. But are we approaching a new era of extremely clear-cut domination on the college football gridiron between the Wolverines and Buckeyes?

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Recruiting Philosophies: How Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald finds, replenishes his Talent

northwestern wildcats football

Some college football coaches recruit according to a primary philosophy. They stress one ideal above the others. It can be recruiting to fill positions of need, recruiting specific players that meet the profile of your system, or it could be recruiting players based on scout’s rankings, the star system beside their name. I asked Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald at NU Media Day about what he emphasizes; it certainly isn’t the third one.

“That’s a great question. I have no idea what a star means, I was a negative-star-rated player. No disrespect to those who rate young men, they don’t work for us, they don’t rate for us. What’s important in our program will ever have a correlation to a start program,” he said.

By Paul M. Banks

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Seantrel Henderson Key for Minnesota Football

seantrel

By Mike Gallagher

You might not have heard of Seantrel Henderson.  But if you follow the college recruiting scene at all, you’re probably jumping out of your chair just by reading his name.  But for those of you not familiar, here’s what he brings to the table.

Henderson is a 6-8, 301 pound offensive tackle currently attending Cretin Derham-Hall in Saint Paul, MN.  He is an AAU basketball star, but more importantly for the Gophers, he is Rivals.com number one recruit in the nation.  As an offensive tackle, that is a mighty accomplishment.

You may recognize the names of a few other Rivals number one prospects; Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, and Jimmy Clausen.  Ringing any bells?

Even more important to the Gophers football team is the fact that he is actually considering the U as an option.  The other five schools rumored to be in the running?  Florida, Notre Dame, USC (they already have commitments from the second and third best national prospects), Oklahoma, and Ohio State.

On that list, the team that stands out like a sore thumb is the University of Minnesota.  Obviously the prestige of the other programs dwarfs that of the Gophers, but only Henderson is the judge of that, and come signing day, only he will make that decision.

Obviously rumors have swirled about Henderson liking this school and not liking that school, but let’s throw that out because we can speculate until the sky starts falling and still will not know.  But think of the ramifications of Henderson coming to Minnesota.

All the problems for the Gophers offensively have started up front this year.  The Gophers, following pathetic performances versus Illinois (L 35-32), and South Dakota State (W 16-13), are now 112th in the nation in yards/gm.  Adam Weber is getting no time and that has left him 96th in the nation in passing efficiency, and 378th in yards.  The receivers the Gophers are left with sans Eric Decker can’t get open in two seconds, they need time that they’re not getting.

With Henderson, the offensive line could start rebuilding, and that would improve the Gophers in every area.  He is ranked as the second best pass blocker in the nation, and in any video you watch, he manhandles the guy across from him (http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4222005).

Adam Weber (or Marqueis Gray http://thesportsbank.wpengine.com/minnesota-golden-gophers/eric-decker-out-for-season-adam-weber-should-follow/) would get more time, the receivers more time to get open, and Kevin Whaley, who has performed well at times this year, could get some holes opened for him rather than seeing a mass of humanity every carry.  Henderson is a guy that you line up against the opponents best pass rusher, and a guy you can build a run game behind.

That being said, let’s not get too carried away, too many times the Gophers have let top recruits walk right out of their backyard, including one of Henderson’s good friends and former teammates, Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd.

floyd

The implication when Tim Brewster was hired was that that kind of thing would not happen anymore.  Floyd leaving hurt the Gophers, especially looking at the team now, a playmaking receiver would be nice.

But having a rivals.com #1 talent walk out of the state would completely discredit the main reason Brewster was given this job.  Brewster has had two of his number one targets walk out on him already, and two may be a fluke, but three is a definite trend.

With the loss to Illinois two weeks ago and the pewtred performance against FCS powerhouse (if there is such a thing) SDSU in which the Gophers failed to score an offensive touchdown, it has officially fallen apart for Tim Brewster’s squad on the field.  Should Henderson walk away from his home town team for greener D-1 pastures and be the third top Gopher target to do so, surely it’s all fallen apart for Brewster off the field as well.

I completely understand that it’s a number one national prospect and it may be unrealistic to expect him to come to a Gopher team that has shown him absolutely no signs of hope the last few weeks on the field.  But he has kept Minnesota on his list for a reason, and knowing that, Tim Brewster should put the full court press on this kid.

Henderson definitely wouldn’t solve all of the Gophers problems, but he would be a GREAT place to start.