Minnesota four-star WR commit Dredrick Snelson hopes his future has clear path
ORLANDO — On a late December afternoon in central Florida, the temperature is already up into the mid-80s.
Practicing in blistering heat is nothing new for Minnesota commit Dredrick Snelson. He won four state titles at three different high schools in South Florida, where he became an Under Armour All-American receiver. The typical in-state powerhouse programs like Florida, Florida State and Miami all wanted the four-star wideout, as did the Auburns, Notre Dames and Ohio States of the college football world.
Snelson walks off the field after a three-hour practice wearing a long sleeve, black t-shirt underneath his white Under Armour All-America jersey. He isn’t dripping with sweat like most would be after battling some of the nation’s top prep talent in mid-summer conditions.
Snelson can handle the heat. It’s the cold that people ask him about.
‘Do you know how cold it is in Minnesota?’
Snelson is well aware of the fact that Minneapolis and Fort Lauderdale are worlds and climates apart. To those that question his commitment to the program because of his Florida roots, he offers up a simple response.
“That has nothing to do with my decision,” Snelson said. “It’s cold in the NFL.”
That’s the way Snelson thinks. He isn’t focused on what might make him uncomfortable in the short-term. He’s a big-picture person with big-picture goals. One of those goals involves breaking a Minnesota record that isn’t even a week old.
On Monday, Snelson watched Gopher wideout K.J. Maye set the program record for receptions (73) in a senior season. Never mind the fact that no matter what, Snelson can’t touch that mark for another four years.
Still, he wants it.
“I’m coming in right behind him. I’m gonna try to break all of his records,” Snelson said of Maye. “The record he just broke, I’m gonna break it.”
And Maye believes that. In fact, he has some lofty projections of his own for the future Gopher.
“He said that I’m not the next him, but that I’m gonna be better than him,” Snelson said.
Minnesota receivers weren’t always talking about breaking records. Under Jerry Kill, the Gopher offense didn’t exactly feature the wide receiver. They only threw the ball 34% of the time in Kill’s first four years in Minneapolis. Maye was the first receiver in four years to average more than three catches per game.
Kill built the offense around the running game, because after all, it’s Minnesota. Freezing temperatures don’t exactly speak to a high-flying offense.
But when Kill stepped down in the middle of the season because of his battle with epilepsy, Snelson had the same debate that every 2016 Gopher recruit had. How would this effect his long-term goals?
Snelson held firm. There was a reason for that.
“Claeys promised me that he would actually start getting his playmakers the ball and I’ve been watching every game since he said that,” Snelson said. “He didn’t lie to me.”
From that point on, Minnesota threw the ball 55% of the time, and usually to Maye. He racked up 40 catches for 423 yards in six games under Claeys’ leadership.
Fittingly, Snelson took his official visit to Minnesota the weekend of Claeys’ first game. The Gophers were a foot away from knocking off No. 15 Michigan in front of a capacity crowd at TCF Bank Stadium. It was the type of atmosphere Snelson envisioned when he gave the Gophers his commitment in August.
That, however, was nearly seven months ago. Snelson maintains the fact that he’s completely committed to the Gophers, and that he wants to go on his official visits just to make sure he did his due diligence. He has trips lined up to UCF, Maryland and Wisconsin in January.
And no, weather won’t cause him to change his mind.
“I’m still listening to other schools,” Snelson said. “But what’s it gonna take for me to flip? I have to be comfortable. The school has to be different.
“It has no be nothing like Minnesota.”