Elmore verbally commits to Gophers
Somerset football fans won't have to travel far to see standout tight end Gaelin Elmore play his college ball.
Elmore, a top-ranked 2014 prospect, verbally accepted an offer from the University of Minnesota on Sunday after a whirlwind recruiting tour that has lasted much of the spring.
Elmore was ranked 22nd nationally by Rival.com among tight end prospects and he was drawing interest from programs all over the nation. He had received full scholarship offers from seven different Big Ten schools.
One of the first college visits Elmore made was at the University of Minnesota. From the start, Elmore seemed to feel a connection with Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill.
"Coach Kill was real genuine from the beginning. He was very involved. He reached out to my family and my support group and made sure they were comfortable," Elmore said.
Elmore said he hoped his signing would lead other prospects to select the Gophers. That happened almost immediately. For several weeks Elmore had been in contact with Connor Mayes, the #2-ranked center prospect in the nation. The day after Elmore committed to the Gophers, Mayes announced that he would also be signing with Minnesota.
"I'm a competitive guy, I'm a leader," Elmore said. "I love being the player who is helping recruiting."
Elmore received a number of scholarship offers from schools like Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa State. Last week he visited Michigan State, Ohio State and Indiana. He cut the trip short, deciding to return home and make the commitment to the Gophers on Sunday. The road trip proved to be the clincher for Elmore.
"None of the schools compared to what I felt about Minnesota. I always subconsciously compared every school to Minnesota. The visit helped me focus on the decision that Minnesota was the right place for me," Elmore said.
Elmore said he understands that playing time won't come automatically with the Gophers. He said they have one of the best tight ends of any of the schools that recruited him. Elmore said that Coach Kill told him the team has been looking to install more two tight end sets into the offense and his addition can make that happen.
Playing time will be based largely on how quickly Elmore can learn the offense. That shouldn't be a problem. Elmore carries a 3.75 grade point average at Somerset High School. He plans to graduate early so he can take classes at Minnesota next spring.
One of the things that swayed Elmore toward the Gophers was the trust the coaching staff had in his skills. Because Somerset doesn't throw the ball often in its triple option offense, there isn't a great deal of game film of Elmore making catches. He said several of the schools wanted him to prove he had the hands and the route-running ability to be a Division 1 tight end, while the Gophers felt from the start that Elmore could play at that level.
Elmore said he expects to add 20-25 pounds in his first years of college to be able to stand up to the blocking demands. He is currently listed at 6 feet, 5.5 inches and 242 pounds.
"In the Big 10 you need the big bruiser tight end at the end of the line," Elmore said.
Elmore said the Gophers don't want him to make any changes during his high school senior season. Though he is graduating early, the WIAA has a rule that early graduates can complete their high school sports season, so Elmore will be able to complete his senior basketball season with the Spartans while beginning his college experience.