The Minnesota Golden Gophers season ended in late December with a loss in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, but head coach Jerry Kill and his coaching staff have been hard at work securing the future of the program since.
Recruiting is a never-ending process and Kill knows it.
With two of the three starters departing, the linebacker position is the biggest question mark for next season. Kill and his staff have gone hard after linebackers and may not be done. He has already gotten commitments from four linebackers, including a junior college prospect.
Damien Wilson from Jones County Junior College is reportedly already enrolled and on campus. He is the front-runner to be the starting middle linebacker next season. His presence is even more important if Brendan Beal cannot play. Rivals and Scout give Wilson a two-star rating and ESPN has him as a three-star prospect. ESPN lists his key traits as diagnosing and outside run support.
Rayfield Dixon from Loxahatchee, Fla. is the most recent linebacker commitment. Rivals and ESPN give him a three-star rating as an outside linebacker while Scout gives him a two-star rating as a safety. At this point he is a little undersized at 190-195 pounds - depending on which recruiting service you look at, but he has the frame at 6-2 or 6-3 to add weight. ESPN lists his key traits as outside run support and tackling.
De'Niro Laster from Cleveland, Ohio may be the most diverse prospect among the Gopher commitments. He is listed as a three-star outside linebacker from Rivals, ESPN rates him as a three-star athlete and Scout gives him a three-star rating as a wide receiver. ESPN lists his key traits as versatility and ball skills.
Chris Wipson from Plymouth, Minn. is the only native Minnesotan committed to the Gophers on scholarship. It is a down year for prospects in Minnesota. Wipson is ranked as a two-star prospect by Rivals and a three-star rating by ESPN and Scout. ESPN lists his key trait as tackling.