The best football coach/ recruiter in the Big 10 is Minnesota's Tim Brewster. He is relentless, personable and knowledgeable. For years, Brewster and John Blake were the two best assistant coaches, Brewster at Texas and North Carolina and Blake at Oklahoma, Nebraska and North Carolina. Now Brewster is putting a new face on Big 10 recruiting.
Brewster played high school football in New Jersey, junior college football in California and caught a touchdown pass for Mike White's 1983 Illinois team in the Rose Bowl. He learned his trade from Mack Brown, one of college football's all-time best recruiters. It was great preparation, like going to the Harvard of recruiting.
His personality seems to attract everyone, black and white, parents and coaches. In only his third year, he has brought national recruiting to Minnesota.
Brewster, Illinois' Ron Zook, Purdue's Danny Hope and Ohio State's Jim Tressel are changing the face of recruiting in the Big 10. The SEC is way ahead of the Big 10 in terms of money, facilities and its aggressive recruiting attitude. But Brewster has brought a new attitude to the Big 10 and the rest of the conference is taking his cue.
For example, Brewster is in the final six for 6-7, 325-pound offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson of St. Paul, Minn., the nation's top-rated player. It would be the greatest coup for the school since the Gophers landed Bronko Nagurski, Carl Eller and Bobby Bell decades ago. If anyone can pull it off, it would be Brewster. Henderson also is considering USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida and Notre Dame.
Brewster has an impressive portfolio. He recruited Vince Young to Texas and Julius Peppers to North Carolina. He is ever-present in Florida and Texas. And he is keeping Minnesota players at home, as Barry Alvarez did in Wisconsin and Mack Brown did in North Carolina and Texas. In other years, Minnesota lost homegrown Larry Fitzgerald to Pittsburgh and Chris Wienke to Florida State. Brewster seems intent on not letting that happen again.