Maple Grove's Jake Wieneke wasn't recruited by Jerry Kill's Gophers, and now he's one of the best WRs in the country

Wieneke might go down as the biggest recruiting miss in the Jerry Kill era.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

It's one thing to watch five-star recruits leave Minnesota for national powers, that's pretty much the expectation around here. It just happened last weekend with Tre Jones committing to Duke in basketball. 

But it hurts Gophers Nation a lot more when local high school stars don't get recruited by Minnesota and then go off to star for a school in a bordering state. 

This is the case for 2013 Maple Grove wide receiver, Jake Wieneke. 

As a senior in high school, Wieneke led Maple Grove with 68 catches, 1,330 yards and 13 TD. Yet, Jerry Kill and the Gophers never sought him out, despite the team's lethargic passing attack.

This guy flat out flew under the radar. But South Dakota State noticed him and he's taken the chance and turned into one of the biggest in-state misses by the Gophers in recent history. 

He redshirted at SDSU in 2013 and then starting killing opposing defenses. 

  • 2014: 73 catches, 1,404 yards, 16 TD (14 games)
  • 2015: 72 catches, 1,472 yards, 11 TD (12 games)
  • 2016: 78 catches, 1,316 yards, 16 TD (14 games)

"Kid is a stud," ex-Vikings linebacker Ben Leber told GoMN. "TCU couldn’t stop him, granted it was a young secondary but even in double coverage they got beat. His game definitely translates but he’s relied on his big body to gain position rather than quickness and route running. But I believe he will have a great chance to be successful in the league."

Kill's Gophers didn't need him, apparently. Instead, Kill's 2013 recruiting class featured two receivers: Drew Wolitarsky and Eric Carter. 

Kill and Tracy Claeys didn't do any better finding wide receivers in 2014-16. Here's the receivers they signed. 

  • 2014: Melvin Holland Jr., Isaiah Gentry, Conner Krizancic, Desmond Grant
  • 2015: Hunter Register, Rashad Still
  • 2016: Drew Hmielewski

The result, along with an average offensive line and quarterback, was a Gophers passing offense that ranked 12th, 13th, 8th and 12th in the Big Ten the last four years. Hindsight is 20-20, but it's hard imagine Wieneke not helping them. 

FCS power North Dakota State knows about all about Wieneke. He burned them for 6 catches, 108 yards and the game-winning touchdown with one second remaining in SDSU's upset win at the Fargodome last year.

With a solid upcoming season, Wieneke could find himself waiting for a phone call on day two of the NFL Draft, which would equate to the second or third round.

Meanwhile, we're six months into the P.J. Fleck era and things appear to be changing for the better, thanks to Fleck's staff finding a potential gem in 2017 recruit, wide receiver Demetrius Douglas. 

Next Up

tree

Afton resident offers $1,000 reward after tree girding incident

The "tree girdling" incident involved cutting the bark around the trees, causing them to die.

lightning

NWS watching potential for severe weather Saturday in Minnesota

Storms could fire in South Dakota and Nebraska and develop into Minnesota.

Julie blaha and melisa franzen

MN state auditor, senator hurt in crash with semi-truck Wednesday

They were traveling home from FarmFest at the time of the crash.

Gable Steveson

Gable Steveson is crushing everyone at the Olympics

He has yet to give up a single point to an opponent.

ambulance

At least 2 dead in head-on crash involving passing motorist

The crash happened just before noon Wednesday.

Flickr -  Bank Plaze Nov 2020 - Chad Davis

US Bank employees won't return to downtown Minneapolis office next month

The company, citing COVID's resurgence, has pushed back its office return plans.

Katie Storm Twitter Bally Sports North - Aug 4 2021

MN native Katie Storm returning home for role with Bally Sports North

The St. Cloud State grad had worked for Fox Sports North before leaving for Philadelphia.

Flickr - Wisconsin State Fair cream puff - USDA

Free cream puff for people who get vaccinated at the Wisconsin State Fair

Get a shot, then head over to Cream Puff Pavilion for a free treat.

theodore wirth trailhead

Minneapolis parks now requiring masks in all indoor spaces

Anyone going inside recreation centers, ice arenas, and indoor spaces at pools must put on a mask.

Related

Seizure-prone Coach Kill says he took wife on recruiting calls

Gophers football coach Jerry Kill received clearance from the NCAA for his wife to chaperone him on 2011-12 recruiting trips because of his seizure disorder. Kill, talking to reporters while introducing the recruiting class of 2012, said, "I need to be seizure-free here pretty quick so I can relax a little bit."

Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill is headed to Rutgers

Jerry Kill is back on the sidelines once again.

Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill is headed to Rutgers

Jerry Kill is back on the sidelines once again.

With Demry Croft away from the team, Gophers backup QB will be former major recruit Seth Green

If Conor Rhoda goes down, the ball will be in the hands of a former major recruit.

Gophers officially land highest-rated QB recruit in a decade

Jacob Clark is a four-star recruit, according to Rivals.

Jerry Kill is sick of the Gophers, says Mark Coyle barely knew Tracy Claeys

Jerry Kill is furious with the Gophers. He thinks U of M athletics director Mark Coyle unfairly questioned Tracy Claeys' integrity.

Jerry Kill is sick of the Gophers, says Mark Coyle barely knew Tracy Claeys

Jerry Kill is furious with the Gophers. He thinks U of M athletics director Mark Coyle unfairly questioned Tracy Claeys' integrity.

Jerry Kill: Gibson-Nagurski football complex needs 'immediate' upgrades

Gophers football coach Jerry Kill met with soon-to-be athletics director Norwood Teague and told him the Gibson-Nagurski football complex needs "immediate" upgrades. Kill says it's an "eyesore in recruiting," but for about $3 million it can be fixed.