Top 2018 QB Recruit Expected to Pull Commit; Could Fleck/Gophers Do Better Anyway?

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It’s been a really long time since the Gopher Football team has had a quarterback who fans can rely on. I’m not talking about off the field. We get it. Mitch Leidner is the greatest human being on earth behind Tim Tebow. Those two have even started some sort of charity foundation in the name of puppies, rainy days, and the Cleveland Browns… I’ve heard.

But, on the field, Leidner was underwhelming to say the least. But, he isn’t the first. The Gophers haven’t had a lot of to brag about from that position, looking back. There are a lot of different ways to judge quarterbacks but I like stats that fit my opinion and are easy to find. So, think about this. The Gophers have never really had a quarterback go to the NFL and start a football game, let alone even win one. You’d think, as a power-5 school that has football history, a former Gopher would accidentally stumble into a backup that started a random game…. nope, not really.

How bad has the quarterback play been? Not as bad as I thought… When comparing the numbers of the best Gopher QB’s, to the best of the historical B1G, you find Gophers than I expected.  I love the Sports-Reference sites. They are very nice. What does it mean in general?

Beyond a few guys….. its been rough.

So, the table says enough. Adam Weber has the most yards and touchdowns, by far, but he also had Eric Decker. Abdul-Khaliq had Ron Johnson but Weber played under Tim Brewster who dreamed of a high-powered pass-first offense (Weber threw over 500 more passes than any other Gopher QB) while Abdul-Khaliq played for Mason, who had like seven 1000 yard rushers per season. I’m not here to debate the best all-time Gopher QB. 

Let’s add some context.

The Gophers have one QB who has thrown over 1500 balls in their career. That’s Adam Weber (1594 – 28th all-time). You see him, Abdul-Khaliq, and Cupito in the Top 250 of some stat categories nationally, but not really… Here are where the all-time Gopher QB’s rank in the most important stat categories historically. This is nationally (SportsReference.com/cfb):

– Pass Yards (Adam Weber – 65)
– Completions (Adam Weber – T52)
– Completion Percentage (NONE – LOL…)
– Yds Per Attempt (Cupito – 114, Abdul-Khaliq – 174)
– Touchdowns (Adam Weber – T126)
– Passing Efficiency Rating (Abdul-Khaliq – 196, Cupito – 200)

Conclusion:

Bryan Cupito and Asad Abdul-Khaliq are the two best Gopher QB’s of all-time, and played under a regime that liked to run the ball, which helped in some categories and hindered in others. Adam Weber was good but was also given WAY MORE opportunity to build the stats he did. Oh, and Mitch Leidner, to all you Leidner Lovers….. wasn’t very good. 4 whole years…. Anyway, even when Gophers do show up in these rankings, they aren’t very high. We all know why. They haven’t been very good. It hasn’t been a focus.

BUT…. PJ Fleck came in and has said from the start that quarterback is a top priority… He wants a star QB… When he got Brennan Armstrong to commit early, we all believed we might be on the right route… BUT, when Armstrong wavered on his commitment over the last couple of days (will likely officially decommit soon), Gopher Nation didn’t just stop rowing…. some of them lit that MF-ing boat on fire….

First thing to know: Brennan Armstrong has NOT decommitted YET. From what I’ve seen, Randy Johnson jumped the gun. Other outlets were informed early the day the news broke but Armstrong was supposed to announce it on Twitter himself. Randy Johnson of the Star Tribune ran with it before Armstrong got the chance. However, all fingers point to Armstrong decommitting officially before the early signing period ends.

WAIT! BEFORE YOU THROW YOUR DEVICE THROUGH YOUR FLOOR OR RUIN YOUR DAY, KEEEEEEEEEP READING! THERE IS A BRIGHT SIDE…

I’ve read through hours of forums and looked to insiders through paid subscriptions I have, to dig deep into this for you wonderful readers and my final opinion?

This could end up as a “meant to be” moment…  Hear me out.

AND AGAIN, THERE ARE A LOT OF FACTORS THAT GO INTO THESE THINGS. THESE ARE ALL FACTORS I HAVE SEEN FROM RELIABLE SOURCES. These are sources you can have too. Sites like GopherIllustrated.com through Scout.com are worth the small price you pay for some of the inside sources guys like Ryan Burns, Kyle Goblirsch, and Ryan James have throughout the country.

There are some rumblings that Armstrong doesn’t like the idea of competing with some of the guys he may need to beat out for the starting QB job with the Gophers. Those competitors include the current QB, Demry Croft. Apparently, he wasn’t happy when Fleck brought Croft back on, after his suspension.

But he also seems upset at some of the other incoming freshman and even future possibilities that Fleck has on his radar for 2019. The Gophers also got a commit from Zack Annexstad as a preferred walk-on. He is a 3-star too. But, Fleck has also been flirting with 4-star 2019 QB’s who seem VERY interested as well in Hank Bachmeier and Max Duggan. I’ve also seen that Armstrong wasn’t happy about those discussions and outlooks.

If these things are true, which I strongly believe they are, I don’t want Armstrong. We’ve all seen, with Mitch Leidner, what happens when you hand your QB job to an average player and promise them the job year after year. Fleck should be aiming for the stars and jumping at every good QB who shows interest. Armstrong should be confident in his abilities to win the job. If he’s not, then he won’t be as successful as he can be anyway.

So, that’s the current situation with Armstrong. We know Fleck is flirting with top QB’s from the class of 2019… But, what about 2018? Especially now that Armstrong is likely rowing in another direction? Are we handing the job to Demry Croft until we HOPEFULLY get Bachmeier or Duggan in-house for the year after? Are we giving Annexstad a chance to win the job? If we get someone else, they will be a downgrade from Armstrong right? Not so fast….

There are some interesting developments to keep an eye on:

Development 1: The same night the Armstrong news was reported, Fleck offered a scholarship to Victor Viramontes (JUCO QB)

Viramontes was once a 4-star commit to Michigan and Cal before coaching changes and other things pushed him to a JUCO college, while he weighed his options. according to 247, after the Gophers offer, Viramontes is choosing between Kansas and Minnesota. Those are the only schools listed as “warm”.

Here is more from 247Sports:

“Viramontes is dual threat quarterback who can beat a team with his arm or his legs. He might actually be more advanced as a runner than a pure thrower but in the right system, he can definitely play QB in college. He has the size, athleticism and toughness to move to defense as well and could end up at LB or safety. He’s a very physical player, loves contact and is a highly competitive kid-Biggins”

Development 2: Brevin White (4-star Princeton Commit) Exchanges Twitter Follows with Fleck

If you don’t live in the Twitter/social media world, like I do, then this might not come across as that big of a deal. However, both Ryan Burns and Kyle Goblirsch have labeled this as something to watch. To follow each-other on Twitter, after being a hard commit elsewhere, is odd. He is now also followed by just about everyone who pays attention to Minnesota college football recruiting.

White turned down top-tier teams like Tennessee, Washington, and Arizona State to commit early to Princeton. Would he really pull that back and commit to Minnesota? Maybe not but Fleck’s culture can change people and pull them in and away from a lot of different things. That’s why getting Fleck was such a big deal. White is having a HUGE senior season so far, averaging about 250 ads/game with a 35;2 TD;INT ratio (Ryan Burns)…

Development 3: Some other situations not quite as spicy but still worth keeping an eye on:

Gerry Bohanon (4 Star – Highest rated out of these 2018 guys)

Brayden Hawkins (4-Star)

Read into all of these however you wish. Any of these guys in Maroon and Gold would be better than Armstrong in my opinion. We will be monitoring closely and will keep you updated if we see any movement worth noting.

Eric Strack
Minnesota Sports Fan
MinnesotaSportsFan.com @RealMNSportsFan

Sources: SportsReference.com/cfb, Star TribuneGopherIllustrated.com, 247Sports

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