Posted: 11:49 pm Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Minnesota prospects play waiting game after school dismisses head coach 

By Jeff Greer

The area’s top Minnesota prospects are waiting for more information about the school’s firing of head coach Tim Brewster last week before discussing their recruitment any further.

Minnesota commit Jephete Matilus, a 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker who plays at Atlantic, did not directly respond to messages or questions asking him about the coaching change. Matilus (No. 14 on the Big Board) did say that colleges are still recruiting him, including Kansas, which asked the senior to visit.

“I’ve got the whole season, the whole winter to worry about recruiting,” Matilus said after his team’s tough 28-21 loss to Seminole Ridge on Friday night. “I have until February to sign. Right now, I’m focusing on football and getting better each week.”

Matilus changed his commitment from Marshall to Minnesota over the summer, but that was before Minnesota started 1-6, including a six-game losing streak, and fired its coach. He told the Palm Beach Post in June that he had been talking to Minnesota ever since the Gophers started recruiting Donnell Kirkwood, who is a freshman running back at Minnesota. He changed his commitment when he got a scholarship offer from the Gophers.

The other top Minnesota target, Boca Raton kicker David Bicknell, said he hadn’t heard much about the situation or whether his scholarship offer still stands. Minnesota is the only school that has offered him a scholarship so far, although he’s expecting more.

Bicknell (6-1, 190, No. 35 on the Big Board) said his coach Keith Byars is handling his recruitment and couldn’t offer much insight until he knew more information.

According to Rivals.com, Minnesota has also offered scholarships to Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett, Park Vista tailback Tre Mason, Park Vista offensive lineman (and South Carolina commit) Mike Matulis, Atlantic D-tackle Luther Maddy (Marshall commit) and American Heritage receiver Herve Coby. None of those prospects mention Minnesota among their favorites.

For now, the staff at Minnesota is mostly the same. Offensive coordinator Jeff Horton will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. That means the recruiting situation will probably stay the same for the time being, but when a new coach is named, there’s a chance the staff could move its recruiting priorities in a completely different direction.

Names rumored to be on the shortlist for the job include Minnesota alum Tony Dungy, who said he wasn’t interested in the job, former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and Minnesota Vikings coordinators Leslie Frazier and Darrell Bevell.

National signing day on Feb. 2, 2011, is the first day that the Class of 2011 recruits can sign with schools.