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Caring Is Creepy: DE Riley McMinn


Captain Kirk and company picked up their tenth recruit of 2011 Sunday with the verbal commitment of Illinois-based defensive end Riley McMinn.  The 6'7", 225 lb. McMinn received three stars from Rivals, Scout, and ESPN, and had offers from a host of BCS programs, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Boston College.  Interestingly enough, though he hails from Rochester, IL (near Springfield), McMinn did not have an offer from jNWU; they have quickly forgot what havoc a 6'7" defensive end can bring.

Bad news first: Clearly, McMinn is a project; you simply can't step in and play defensive end in the Big Ten at 225 lb., especially when those precious few pounds are spread over a 6'7" frame.  Also, we're not sure just how productive he was (Hamilton, in the post linked above, has him recording 10.5 sacks and 18.5 TFL; Morehouse has just 5.5 and 13).  The good news is that he's already talking about adding 40 pounds in the Chris Doyle program:

"I had heard all kinds of stuff about him leading up to our visit and how he’s different than any other strength coach I’ve been around," McMinn said. "He realizes everybody’s body is different and every person is different. He gets you in there individually, he breaks down your body and tests it and you work it up from ground up. That’s the way he molds and shapes players’ bodies is different than anything I’ve ever seen or heard anybody talk about."

He's also repeatedly mentioned as being extremely quick (that whole 'dunking in the eighth grade' thing also bodes well), so there's room for growth.  Throw in the requisite mention of Midwestern work ethic and academics, and we're sold.  Best case scenario: He's a Wootton-like terrormonster.  Worst-case scenario: He's the guy blocking your view from the first five rows at Kinnick.  Either way, he's ours now.

With ten recruits now in the fold, we're starting to see trends in Ferentz's targets.  With the exception of the three receivers, QB Jake Rudock, and OG Austin Blythe, the staff is finding and signing "tweeners": TE/DE/LB types than can be molded into anything from offensive linemen to defensive tackles to linebackers.  We've seen this tactic before from the Iowa staff to great effect: Players like Christian Ballard (high school TE), Riley Reiff (high school DE), Mitch King (high school LB), Scott Chandler (oversized high school WR), and Robert Gallery (high school TE) were all in between positions, spent 18 months bulking up, and became solid contributors.  It's also worth noting that this could be a huge class by Ferentz standards; there are 27 seniors on the 2010 squad, plus a handful of fourth-year juniors who could be shown their walking papers after this season.  Throw in a relatively small number of juniors (23, again with the near probability that only 18-20 stay for their senior seasons), and Ferentz has the flexibility to take some chances and hand out plenty of redshirts.