It’s no secret the Minnesota Golden Gophers got off to a sluggish start on the 2014 college football recruiting class. And considering the Gophers lackluster history of recruiting, it wasn’t a surprise either. Up until the end of April, the Gophers were stuck at one committed prospect, though it was a good one, in running back Jeff Jones (Minneapolis, MN).
Then the Gophers added defensive tackle Steven Richardson (Chicago, IL) and athlete Dimonic McKinzy (Kansas City, KS) just before May.
Now, the Gophers are up to five commits with the recent additions of tight end Gaelin Elmore (Somerset, WI) on Sunday and center Connor Mayes (Van Alstyne, TX) on Monday. While Elmore may be more highly regarded, Mayes may have the highest upside.
Mayes, a 6-foot 5, 330-pound behemoth, could play anywhere along the offensive line. Besides his immense size, he’s got surprisingly agile feet in his kick-slide and on traps and pulls and always gives a good punch. But because of his tenacity in the run game and in tight quarters, he’ll probably be playing either guard or center at the collegiate level.
It’s not a total surprise Mayes is picking the Gophers. After all, his older brother, Alex Mayes, just signed with Minnesota for the 2013 recruiting class and is already in town gearing up for camp. But the Gophers knew it would be a dogfight for the younger Mayes, especially since heavyweights like Oklahoma and Texas A&M were going hard after him.
In the end, the appeal of joining a vastly improved and up-and-coming Gophers squad and playing alongside his brother were too much to pass up. Mayes knows Gophers head coach Jerry Kill has a long history of turning programs around, especially in year three, and he wants to be a part of that.
Interesting enough, the Gophers will have three pairs of brothers amongst their offensive linemen next year. Besides the Mayes brothers (Alex and Connor), they have the Olson brothers (Ed and Tommy) and McAvoy’s (Kyle and Luke).