Gophers' latest recruits
By Chris Monter
January 9, 2011
Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill continues to land commitments as the Golden Gophers work towards the national signing day, which is February 2nd.
Minnesota has 22 commitments to date after landing commitments from Tamani Carter, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound cornerback and Drew Goodger, a 6-foot-5, 234-pound tight end from Shawnee Mission (Kan.) Northwest. The two players will make their official visits to the Twin Cities in the next two weeks.
Carter had 55 tackles and three interceptions, two that he returned for touchdowns as he led his team to an 11-1 mark. He also caught 25 balls for over 300 yards.
Carter had scholarship offers from Iowa, Stanford and Arizona, but picked Minnesota because of the chance of early playing time.
"They definitely said that there is a chance for me to play early," said Carter. "It just depends on how I perform when I finally come up there."
Goodger was named to the Topeka Capitol-Journal All-State team. He had 103 tackles with 24 tackles for loss as a senior. Goodger also had l 6 sacks, 19 hurries, eight forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He finished his career with 174 tackles, 33 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. He had 18 catches for 185 yards and three touchdowns this season and 30 catches for 369 yards and four scores in his career.
Shawnee Mission Northwest head coach Aaron Barnett said that Goodger was a key player for his team.
"We tried to mix it up to line him up in different positions so people couldn't run away from him," Barnett said. "Even when the ball went away, his pursuit and effort, he was still able to make a ton of plays. I'm not a big stat guy, but what he did was pretty dang impressive. When we needed a stop on defense, it seemed like he was always able to come up with that play."
Goodger was visiting Northern Illinois when Kill decided to leave the program. His familiarity with the coaching staff was the main reason he decided Minnesota was the place for him once he received an offer.
"That is the reason I committed so soon," said Goodger. "I got to know the coaches so well. I was recruited by them for a year at Northern Illinois. I met all of them like three times, so I was pretty comfortable with them. They were honest with me through the whole situation."
The Golden Gophers also added some-needed depth on the special teams with the announcements that Chris Hawthorne and Peter Mortell were going to join the squad.
Hawthorne was a walk-on at North Carolina State and kicked one field goal and five extra points for the Wolfpack this season. He will be eligible to play right away as a transfer since he was not on scholarship.
The Gophers lose Eric Ellestad to graduation after he made 11 of 17 field goals and 31 of 32 extra points. However, he struggled with longer field goal attempts and with kickoff consistency. They also return former walk-on David Schwerman who handled some of the kickoff duties as a junior.
Peter Mortell, a 6-foot-2, 193-pounder from Green Bay (Wisc.) Notre Dame Academy, was named first team Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a punter. He was also a unanimous selection first team Fox River Classic All-Conference as a punter and a second team wide receiver pick as a senior as he helped lead the Tritons to a 5-5 mark. He averaged 44.8 yards per punt and was a finalist for the Kevin Stemke Award, which is given to the state