Eric Abojei, a 6-foot-4, 310-pound junior from Robbinsdale (MN) Cooper, committed to Minnesota in April. Aobjei has helped pace the Hawks to a great start this season.
Gopher Hole caught up with Abojei recently to learn more on his senior season and thoughts on his future team.
Gopher Hole: You guys are off to a great start this season, the best in recent memory for Cooper. How pleased are you with the team's start?
Eric Abojei: I am very pleased with the start. We continue to get stronger every single week. We are getting ready for every single game. Making sure that our defense is able to execute and dominate. The defensive line, the linebackers and everyone else. Our offensive line has been struggling as has our whole offense, actually, but we have been able to put up some points. We are ready to continue to get to 5-0 this week.
Gopher Hole: What are the expectations for the rest of the season?
Eric Abojei: Obviously, get more points on the board. Our offense wants more points on the board, because, with the offensive line that we have, we feel that we should be able to run the ball and throw the ball and get the ball into the receiver's hands. We just need to get past the first round and then second round and third round and hopefully get to the state championship and win that also. That is the number one thing in my mind right now.
Gopher Hole: That was what I wanted to ask you next. You had a good season last year, finishing 6-3, but you lost to Park Center in a shootout in the first round. Has that been a motivating factor for you guys to get even farther this year?
Eric Abojei: Oh, yes. For sure. People have been asking "How does it feel to not get past the first round," but this year, I can feel that. I am really excited to see where that gets us. This season. I believe that we are ready.
Gopher Hole: You were at the Gopher game versus Colorado State recently. What has been your impressions of the team so far?
Eric Abojei: I saw a lot of things. Their running backs were running crazy last weekend. What I see now is my running backs also. When I see the offensive line, they are deep. They struggled, but they are always coming out on top. The second half was very big for them and being able to shut the other team out was big for me. That is what I always think about.
Gopher Hole: Coach Miller hasn't been there long, but he is going to be your position coach in college. What has been your relationship with Coach Miller so far?
Eric Abojei: My relationship with Coach Miller has grown extremely. I feel that I have known this guy for a long time and it feels like he has been my coach forever. When he talks to me sometimes, I just get me really pumped. I am able to get different lessons from him and different techniques. He is doing an excellent job with his offensive line. I can see myself doing well with him. He tells me how good I am doing and keep me head up and keep my eye on the class room. I can't wait to step on the field with him and actually really get to work with him one-on-one. Hopefully, help him win a Big Ten championship.
Gopher Hole: Does that get you even more excited about playing at Minnesota?
Eric Abojei: Yes. That is my biggest excitement.
Gopher Hole: Minnesota has added two offensive line commits since you committed back in April. Have you gotten to know Corey Gaynor or Brett Kittrell much?
Eric Abojei: I did. We have stayed in contact. We actually have a group chat where we have all the commits and we are pretty close. We all seem to like each other and we talk about each other's teams and games and how we did this week and how we could do better. It shows the amount of caring and I am excited to be teammates and I am really ready to rock and roll with those guys.
Gopher Hole: How about Blaise Andries? He is a fellow Minnesota guy. You aren't really close in distance because he is from Marshall, but have you gotten to know him pretty well?
Eric Abojei: Me and Blaise. That's my guy. He is extremely smart and talented, obviously. Extremely funny. We kid with each other and have some laughs. I can't wait to see him soon and work together and win a Big Ten championship. Blaise, that's my guy there.
Gopher Hole: Is that kind of nice that you have gotten to those guys a little bit already. Obviously, you are going to be teammates and get to know them better, but is that a nice feeling that you have gotten to know them already?
Eric Abojei: Sure, because, I am just beginning to get to know them, but they already feel like family. I haven't even known these guys for long, but it feels like I have known these guys for four or five years and I feel that it will be even stronger. With Blaise, we are always at a game or a practice and we are close together and sitting and talking about "Did you do that and did you do that." We'll just joke around and talk and we just have this bond and I just can't wait to bond with these other guys.
Gopher Hole: Your high school teammate Phillip Howard is a freshman. What has he been saying about Minnesota so far?
Eric Abojei: He has been telling me a lot of the same things. He said that the excitement is real and when I get here, I'll feel the rush. It won't be a bad rush, but you'll feel more at home, because you have great coaches. He is trying to encourage me to finish up my senior year strongly and just come out here and bust my butt and come out here and show them what I got.