Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Border Battle, recruiting-style

Today Toohey forwarded me a link from the Star Trib's Gopher blog. At the time the lead story was about how the Wisconsin hockey program reached into Minnesota to sign three highly-regarded recruits, Jake Gardiner, Derek Stepan, and Jordy Murray.

Nice signings, to be sure, but not evidence of a collapse of the Gopher hockey empire. As Schwalbach noted, Minnesota produces more college hockey prospects than any other state in the country, and the Gophers will be really good without these three.

The new top item on the blog mentions that Kim Royston is expected to return to Minnesota to play. That's not surprising, given that Royston's dad says the family is excited about the 1-11 seasons Tim Brewster is putting together up there. But I thought Bielema wasn't going to let him head to the U, right? Change of heart?

It got me thinking about how things have gone between our two schools in terms of stealing athletes from the other state. I won't count hockey, since we take far more players from the west than they do from the east, although Phil Kessel was a notable defection.

So let's look at the main sports since the start of the 1990s. I will note on the front end that my Wisconsin-to-Minnesota lists will probably be missing a few maroon and gold notables, given my relative lack of knowledge of recent Gopher rosters, although the U's website is terrific at listing past rosters.

Minnesota to Wisconsin: Mark Montgomery, Rob Lurtsema, Jason Suttle, Derek Engler, Carl McCullough, Tim Rosga, Dague Retzlaff, John Stocco, Marcus Coleman, Blake Sorensen, David Gilreath, Isaac Anderson, Brandon Hoey, Royston, Brendan Kelly, Joe Schafer

Wisconsin to Minnesota: Ben Mezera, John Pawielski, Raymond Henderson, Keith Lipka, Andrew Allison, Ryan Coleman, Bryan Klitzke, Kevin Mannion, Nicholas Stommes, Jimmy Thompson, John Jakel, Todd Meisel, Troy Reilly, Brad Bultman, Ben Fischer, Michael Hart, Dan Kinsella, Judd Smith, Seth Thompson, Mike Wey, Thomas Hennessey, Pat McCarthy, Mike Nicholson, Jason Lamers, Mike Wojciechowski, Matt McIntosh, Joseph Quinn, Zach Schauf, Ben West, Antoine Burns, Ryan Duffy, Preston Gruenning, Demetrus Johnson, Jason Beckum, Andy Merrilll, Steve Murray, Matt Poreba, Justin Waldron, Timothy Ward

No, I did not just make those names up, those were actual guys with Wisconsin hometowns listed as having been on Minnesota's football roster. Not to oversimplify things or sound callous, but it appears to me that we've never lost an in-state recruit we wanted to Minnesota, but the Gophers can't say the same.

Minnesota to Wisconsin: Jon Bryant, Kammron Taylor, Kevin Gullikson, Jon Leuer, Jared Berggren, Jordan Taylor, Mike Bruesewitz, Grant Johnson

Wisconsin to Minnesota: Tyree Bolden, Jermaine Stanford, Jason Stanford, Mark Jones

Again, not making these Minnesota names up, they are real people. You could give Minnesota Kevin McHale and/or Miles Tarver and this one would still be lopsided in Bucky's favor.

Again, I'm sure I missed some guys both ways, let me know who and I'll add them to the post. Too tired for more analysis.


Millie said...

I don't think that Bielema needs to release Royston for him to go to Minnesota. It just puts a couple obstacles in his path:

1. If he isn't released he isn't able to speak to the coaching staff at Minnesota before enrolling there as a student.

2. If he isn't released he has to pay his own way.

I know that the Royston family has said that paying tuition at MN isn't an issue. I'm guessing that they can get around #1 with some indirect conversations with the coaching staff.

What makes me laugh is that the Gopher Holers are talking like they're getting a huge lift. It really does say something about the two programs when Gopher fans are that excited to get a guy who wasn't able to get a starting job on the Badgers, necessitating his transfer.

Mr.Man said...

Royston would have to pay his own way at Minnesota even if he were released. You can't transfer between Big Ten teams and keep your scholarship. Like Sharif Chambliss-- you then have to pay your own way.

Royston looked to be a decent player. But he never showed the capability to have a big impact. I wish him well wherever he goes.

Along the Minnesota-Wisconsin lines, did you see that Royce White opted to stay at Minnesota with Tubby?

Millie said...

Has White officially committed yet, or is it still a rumor?

Toohey said...

I don't think it's been officially anounced, but the Star Trib did have an update on White today.


Not to keep bringing up the Gophers, but that's all they talk about here. Dufus announced new uniforms for the Goofers today also. To be honest I think they're an improvement, but they have way too many combos. I also like the pic they used of Zack Brown running away from the Goofs to reference the old unis.



Scott Tappa said...

1. Royston was a nice recruit, but never panned out. He was just as guilty as the other safeties of subpar play last year, and I'm not sure how much better he would have been this year. So no big loss for us. Who knows, though, maybe he plays better in Minnesota's system. the Gophers' safeties always seem to get lots of tackle opportunities.

2. What are the odds of this White kid remaining academically eligible at Minnesota? I mean, without Clem Haskins there to smooth things out, that is.

3. The Gophers' new uniforms, like the old home ones, look like either an Arena League team or some fictional team from the defunct ESPN drama Playmakers.

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