Jashon Cornell, a 6-foot-4 sophomore defensive end from St. Paul (MN) Cretin Derham Hall, is probably the top football player in the state in the Class of 2015. Cornell has already picked up an offer from the homestate school along with an offer from the school to our South. GopherHole.com caught up with Cornell after helping lead the Raiders to a 59-48 win over Eastview Wednesday night.
Gopher Hole: You picked up your third offer today from Rutgers. You have to pretty pleased with the interest that you have received so far.
Jashon Cornell: Yes, I have been really excited about this. It all came early for me. It was really surprising. My coach came down to the office and told me that I got an offer from Iowa and Minnesota offered later that day. It was all overwhelming. I was so surprised. I guess hard work pays off sometimes and today Rutgers offered me. Coach came down to me at lunch and talked to me about it. They said that they offered me and watched my film and liked how I played. He liked the way I go out there and get it done and stuff like that.
Gopher Hole: Had you been hearing much from Rutgers before this?
Jashon Cornell: My coach, Coach Scanlan, have been talking to a lot of coaches about me. He has been sending out my film to everybody. He has been handling all of that so far, but I have been talking to some coaches, like Iowa and Minnesota.
Gopher Hole: Rutgers has to be a little bit more appealing since they are moving to the Big Ten Conference, right?
Jashon Cornell: Yes. I think that getting three Big Ten offers is really big right now for me.
Gopher Hole: What other schools are you hearing from the most right now?
Jashon Cornell: Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Illinois, Arkansas. Schools like that.
Gopher Hole: I know that it is tough with your basketball schedule, but have you had a chance to go to any Junior Days or visit any campuses lately?
Jashon Cornell: I went to Minnesota last week, but I haven’t had a chance to get anywhere else. I plan on going March 24th to Detroit for the adidas Invitational and I am going to fly out to Chicago to take an unofficial to Northwestern and head to Chicaog and stuff like that.
Gopher Hole: Do you like the recruitment process so far?
Jashon Cornell: I am loving it right now. It feels real good to be recruited early.
Gopher Hole: You come from a school that has had a lot of top players being recruited. Does that help that your coaches and friends who have been recruited can tell you what it is going to be like and help you out?
Jashon Cornell: James (Onwualu) and Tim Gordon have giving me the get-down on everything. They told me how everything goes. They have helped me out a lot.
Gopher Hole: Once the basketball season is over, what things are you going to be working on to improve yourself as a football player?
Jashon Cornell: I am working out with a trainer who comes to the school every day. As soon as the basket season is over, I’ll be working out with him in the weight room every day after school and I’ll be running track after I lift.
Gopher Hole: How do you think that basketball helps you as a football player in terms of footwork and thing like that?
Jashon Cornell: It helps my footwork a lot. It gets my hands ready and stuff like that for football.
Gopher Hole: What events are you going to try to run in track?
Jashon Cornell: I am 200-meter dash guy and 100-meter dash and relays.
Gopher Hole: Have you thought much about what camps you might attend this summer?
Jashon Cornell: I am going to go to the Under Armor Rivals Classic and I go to Nike the next day. I’ll probably head to Notre Dame for their Junior Day Camp. Iowa and schools like that.
Gopher Hole: What are you hearing from the Gophers? What are they saying to you?
Jashon Cornell: When I went to the Gopher game last weekend (versus Penn State), they said “Look how Rodney Williams plays” and you could be one of those players who stays home and be the big-time school hero.
Gopher Hole: Is that something that appeals to you?
Jashon Cornell: Kind of. It appeals to me a lot. Being a hometown hero. Staying at home and putting us back on the map and stuff like that.
Gopher Hole: I know that a lot of hometown fans want you to stay here, but they know that Cretin has had a lot of kids go to Notre Dame. Is that something you have heard from Gopher fans or guys who want you to stay here and not go to Notre Dame?
Jashon Cornell: There has been some Twitter arguments about it. About me staying home and I get in fights with Notre Dame fans and other say “Stay home. It will be worth it.”
Gopher Hole: Obviously wherever you go, you are going to have great opportunities on the field and school-wise. You have to feel good about that no matter where you go?
Jashon Cornell: Yes. Wherever I go, I know that I am going to play my best and keep working hard and stay humble.
Gopher Hole: What do you see as your strengths as a football player?
Jashon Cornell: My hands and my feet. Just being quick. I get past the defender quick.
Gopher Hole: Cretin had a lot of good seniors, but you always have a good team every year. What are the expectations for the upcoming season?
Jashon Cornell: The expectations for next season is to get our offense together and I think that we will be really tough on defense. We are working on our offense right now, so some of the freshman, sophomore and juniors are going to be moving up. We have some real key players coming back like Tim Gordon. We have players like De’Angelo Funchess playing safety and we have Ricardo Johnson, who will be our starting quarterback and (running back) Blake Banham
Gopher Hole: You had a good year last season, but you obviously want to be in the Prep Bowl every year. Is that a motivating factor for you guys to go even farther this upcoming season?
Jashon Cornell: Yes. It is a big factor. We have weight room at 6 o’clock in the morning, so we see most of our football guys, lifting in the weight room and working out. Getting ready for next season.