Dave Thorson - Recruit for a Day


Jul 22, 2021
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This past Tuesday evening was the season ticket holder "Recruit for a Day" event where there was an opportunity to visit the Athlete's Village and hear from various coaches and staffers. One of the coaches who spoke was Dave Thorson. For those who weren't there, here's a bit of what he said to my group:
  • He began by playing the first minute this video of Mike Tomlin speaking about the difference between talent and will. He said that evaluating great talent is easy, but evaluating will and cultural fit was more difficult, and in many ways more important.
  • To that point he spoke about trying to target under the radar type recruits who would fit well with their system.
  • Without explicitly stating it, he clearly felt that there was a big difference in the emphasis that Coach Johnson has placed on recruiting vs. previous staffs. He spoke about maxing out recruiting days and making sure to build relationships with recruits.
  • Regarding increased recruiting efforts, he said he had just gotten off the phone with a recruit and was in contact with them as much as possible, often talking on the phone with the same recruits as often as three times a day.
  • There was clear frustration with Minnesota's slow approach to NIL (see Coyle's interview with the Star Tribune), but felt that there is great opportunity for NIL rules to benefit Minnesota in the future based on being in a major metro area.
  • He was very high on Pharrel Payne and compared him to John Thomas.
  • The reason he came back to Minnesota is because of Ben Johnson. I think this may be an obvious point based on their past history, but he was very emphatic that Ben Johnson is the right coach at the right time for Minnesota. He called him a "transformational coach" rather than a "transactional coach" - that is he works to be an educator and show players how and why to do things rather than just telling people what to do (specifically calling out Haskins as one of the latter types).
Overall he was very engaging and I came away very impressed. I know a lot of us are happy with him being back at Minnesota, but if that's how he is with recruits I don't know how anyone can say no.

If anyone else was there and had something I missed or was in a different group that discussed other topics please add to the discussion.

Edit: He also talked about locking down the borders, telling Greg Gard "it's over", that he's not letting any more recruits get away.
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Nov 20, 2008
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Edit: He also talked about locking down the borders, telling Greg Gard "it's over", that he's not letting any more recruits get away.

Sounds really good. Set your goals, go for it and good luck! He may want to talk to PJ about the difference between failing and failure.


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Jun 23, 2017
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Recruit for a Day is a loyalty program event. You do need to select it as one of your choices when you select loyalty program events each year. The 2022-2023 selection process will begin in late July based on some other information I've seen. While all events are available for selection by season ticket holders, depending on your ranking, some events will already be "sold out" by the time you get to your selection day.

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