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Woodbury recruit stunned over Tracy Claeys' firing

Dominik London finds a hole in the Lakeville North defense during East Ridge's season opener against Lakeville North. (Bulletin file photo)1 / 3
Woodbury tight end Nathan Bursch runs down the sideline after making a catch in Woodbury's first game of the season last fall. (Bulletin file photo)2 / 3
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East Ridge High School running back Dominik London was shocked to learn about the firing of University of Minnesota football coach Tracy Claeys.

"This is the first time I've heard of it," London said in a phone conversation with the Pioneer Press. "Wow. I don't know."

London — a three-star recruit, according to a number of recruiting websites — committed to the Gophers in June. London said he also received interest from Wisconsin, Michigan State, Purdue and North Dakota State in the time leading up to his commitment.

"Coach Claeys and Coach (Dan) O'Brien were the biggest reasons I chose Minnesota," London said. "It's a big blow to me."

London wouldn't say whether he would reopen his recruitment, though he noted that he'll take into consideration who the next coach of the program is. Recruits can sign commitments on Feb. 1.

"If I don't like the head coach, then I don't really want to be on the team," he said. "I'll have to talk to my parents about this entire situation."

London struggled with injuries his senior season, finishing with 829 yards and 12 touchdowns. He finished his junior season with 2,211 yards and 20 touchdowns.

East Ridge kicker Grant Ryerse — ranked the No. 4 kicker in his class by 247Sports — shared similar sentiments to London, though he noted that Claeys wasn't the only reason he committed to the Gophers.

"I'm going to miss the relationships I've had with Coach Claeys," Ryerse said. "That said, I committed to a program, not a coach."

Woodbury tight end Nathan Bursch, also a three-star recruit, also plans to stick with the Gophers.

"I'm still firm with Minnesota," he said. "I'm not going to back away after this. I was born and raised here and to back away now would be kind of cowardly. ... I'm firm in my commitment. ... I know coaches come and go and players come and go. I committed to play for Minnesota."

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.