Sometimes things line up perfectly. When a childhood dream meets talent, the combination is inevitable. When things line up perfectly, why mess around with other options? Irondale's star offensive tackle Jimmy Gjere, is one of Minnesota's most sought after 2010 graduates, but there might not be many schools looking at him. The reason is Gjere knows what he wants and he has stated it early. Gjere verbally committed to Minnesota and with his senior year ahead of him he is not looking back.
Gjere has always wanted to be a Gopher, but not originally as a football player. He grew up loving hockey and watching the National Championship runs of the Gopher hockey team earlier in the decade. As his high school career evolved, he realized football was going to be his avenue.
"I grew up watching them," said Gjere, "I especially remember the Gopher hockey team – watching them growing up and the National Championships. I never really saw myself playing football, but I started playing and I got a lot of attention. All of the sudden this letter (from Minnesota) came and I realized I had a chance to be a Gopher. When I walked in there and met with the coaches and it just felt right. It just kind of clicked."
With his obvious talent on the football field and his college situation all but settled, many might expect Gjere to focus on football and begin preparing for his career beyond high school. Those people would be wrong. This winter he played defense on the hockey team and first base and was the closer on the baseball team.
"My coaches say, when you are in a sport try and focus on it, because you are only a kid once."
Most of Gjere's winter and spring training has taken place within the confines of the hockey and baseball seasons. As a physical defenseman with a heavy shot from the point, he is able to work on his footwork. During baseball he was able to get into the weight room early in the season, but once it was in full swing, they played too many games to get much time in.
Gjere is not going to worry about it. He is getting ready to rev up his offseason training now that the baseball season ended – with one of the best showings Irondale has had in its recent history. A couple of weeks ago spring ball started at Irondale to get the team running around and working on few things for next season. After school finished, Gjere and his teammates hit the weight room and added a variety of agility drills.
"We start out by getting back into a weight lifting type of session," said Gjere. "We do high reps stuff to get us back into the lifting program. A few weeks in we start lifting hard for an hour and a half doing a lot of weight with medium reps. (The second phase) is a lot of conditioning – all the hard stuff."
Summer baseball will also be on Gjere's plate this summer as well as a number of camps, but not all football. He will be attending the Minnesota big man camp as well as Irondale's football camp, but he will also be attending a hockey and baseball camp.
Gjere wants to focus on the mental side of the game this offseason. He expects to be doing a lot of film work studying opposing defensive lines to try to figure out what they are trying to do on the defensive side of the ball. In 2009 Gjere expects to be spending some time at defensive tackle or nose guard, but will be spending the majority of his time opening holes and protecting his quarterback. After his senior football season finishes up, Gjere will again swing right into hockey and baseball before heading off to Minnesota to start his college career. It will be a transition that will fit right in with Gjere's college recruiting experience – perfect.