Recruiting needs: Minnesota Golden Gophers


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Minnesota needed a quick fix last year and got it in the form of seven junior college transfers. The strategy paid off as the Golden Gophers improved their win total by six and received solid production from players like cornerback Traye Simmons and safety Tramaine Brock.

But head coach Tim Brewster will build his program with top high school talent, and his 2009 class will provide a better barometer of what to expect from the recruiting whiz.

Despite returning the nucleus from a bowl team, Minnesota has gaps to fill going forward, especially as it returns to its roots as a power run team. Offensive line depth was a major problem this season, and Brewster will try to add several big pieces up front. The defensive line loses All-Big Ten performer Willie VanDeSteeg, but Minnesota returns several rising seniors who should fill out the depth chart this fall.

Another spot that needs a few more bodies is the secondary, which will lose Simmons, Brock and cornerback Marcus Sherels after the 2009 season. Expect Brewster to load up on defensive backs or players who have the athleticism to eventually shift to cornerback or safety.

Minnesota's offense returns virtually intact, and quarterback MarQueis Gray, who is now eligible, likely will succeed Adam Weber as the starter in 2011. But wide receiver and running back remain areas that could use an immediate contributor. Wideout Eric Decker won't be there forever, and Minnesota needs to plan ahead to replace his remarkable production.

The Gophers also lose their starting punter and starting kicker, so expect them to add a specialist on National Signing Day.