Gophers football team has a shot at next year’s top player in the state – TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press
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Marshall offensive tackle Blaise Andries is expected to be the best high school football player in Minnesota next season, and one recruiting analyst said the Gophers have a good shot at landing him in their 2017 class.
The Gophers offered Andries a scholarship in January, but they have stiff competition for the athletic, 6-foot-5, 300-pound player. Andries has 15 offers from Football Bowl Subdivision programs, including top-flight programs Oregon, Florida and Oklahoma.
“Does Minnesota have a shot? Absolutely, they do,” said Ryan Burns, who is Scout.com’s recruiting analyst covering the Gophers.
Burns said Andries stands out because of his ability to gain leverage and use his long arms to overpower defensive lineman, plus his athletic ability to ward off linebackers and then drive into the ground when he reaches the second level.
“He has a physical nature to him which is what (Gophers offensive line coach) Bart Miller and Minnesota like about him,” Burns said. “He has all the things that you look for in an offensive lineman that can potentially go to the next level.”
At Marshall, Andries played alongside receiver Drew Hmielewski, who has signed into the Gophers’ 2016 recruiting class. They are teammates on the Marshall basketball team that has a 24-3 record heading into the weekend. The Tigers are seeded No. 1 in their section tournament and are a favorite to reach the Class 3A state tournament in March.
“Drew is one of Blaise’s best friends, and that bodes well,” Burns said. “I even heard that Blaise is taking Drew’s sister to prom. There is a very tight connection there between the Andrieses and the Hmielewskis.”
Andries is considered to be a good student of high character, Burns said. Other Andries suitors include Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Nebraska, Missouri and Virginia.
“They weren’t his first offer,” Burns said of Minnesota, “but they have thrown their hat into the ring.”
Like scout.com, rivals.com ranks Andries as the No. 1 player in the state. In the 2016 class, the Gophers netted Eden Prairie linebacker Carter Coughlin, the state’s top player. Now they hope to make it 2 for 2.
“I know that (Andries’) family is pro-Minnesota; I believe they are Gopher fans,” Burns said. “Blaise did (attend a) camp at Minnesota this past summer. Obviously with Drew coming here, Drew is trying to recruit Blaise to come join him here.”