Return to Glory

Return to Glory

Friday, March 16, 2012

James Onwualu Verbally Pledges to Notre Dame

A sad day for Gopher football recruiting as class of 2013 wide receiver James Onwualu has already ended the recruiting process by committing to Notre Dame. James Onwualu is already widely regarded as the top Minnesota high school prospect in the 2013 class. James is a big strong and versatile athlete at 6'1" 200 lbs and has been clocked in the 40 yard dash around 4.5. He plays for Cretin Derham Hall, which has sadly had a strong pipeline to Notre Dame for years. You may recall, Michael Floyd also played his high school ball for Cretin Derham Hall and made the choice to play for Notre Dame. Michael went on to have an extremely productive college career and now it appears Michael Floyd will be a first round NFL draft pick in April.

Jerry Kill has been working hard to try and close up the Minnesota border, but it looks like this is one premier recruit that will escape the state. James already has offers from Arizona, Stanford, Northwestern, Michigan St., Michigan, Iowa, Purdue, Kansas, Vanderbilt and of course Notre Dame. Granted, it is only March 16th and James can't sign a letter of intent for virtually an entire year, but it doesn't seem like he has the Gophers very high on his list. The good news is that thanks to a stellar 2012 recrutiing class at the wide receiver position the loss of Onwualu is not significant from the perspective of our depth at the position. Instead, the key blow is simply that another top flight Minnesotan has chosen to leave the state to play football.

Here is the recent history of the elite Minnesota high school recruits that have left Minnesota to play college football.

In 2008, Minnesota's #1 recruit and widely regarded as a blue chip 5 star recruit was Michael Floyd who chose Notre Dame. Also, #2 Minnesota recruit Willie Mobley chose Ohio St. In 2009, Minnesota's #1 recruit Bryce McNeal chose Clemson. In 2010, Seantrel Henderson was Minnesota's #1 recruit, and according to many the #1 recruit in the entire country, chose Miami. Other key Minnesotans in 2010 were AJ Tarpley who chose Stanford and Beau Allen who chose Wisconsin.

With the arrival of Jerry Kill, it seems that more elite in state talent is choosing to wear the Maroon and Gold. Tommy Olson was the #1 recruit in 2011 and chose the Gophers. In 2012, all the key in state guys stayed home. The only exception is that technically the #1 recruit was offensive lineman Nick Davidson, but he was a transfer from North Carolina who was only in the state of Minnesota for his senior year. As a result, it is not surprising he had no attachment to the Gophers. In 2013, Kill already has a committment from Keelon Brookins who will be one of the top prospects in the state. Only time will tell how the rest of 2013 shapes up. Who knows we may still see Onwualu in a Gophers uniform.

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