(Editor's note: This story was updated Sunday evening, to include comments from Brody Lamb)
Brody Lamb did indeed take his time in his recruiting process.
It just wasn't as much time as the star forward from the Dodge County boys hockey team had planned to take.
Lamb told the Post Bulletin over the summer that his college decision could come sometime during or after his senior season. But when the scholarship offers and Zoom calls with Division I programs began to pile up over the past couple of months, Lamb's mindset shifted a bit.
In recent weeks, he became more and more comfortable with one coaching staff and college in particular.
So, just before noon on Saturday, Lamb called Austin native Bob Motzko, the University of Minnesota's men's hockey head coach. Then he called Gophers assistant coaches Garrett Raboin and Ben Gordon. He delivered the same message to all three: I want to be a Gopher.
"They were pretty pumped and excited," Lamb said of the coaches' reaction to his decision. "We had grown pretty close over Zoom calls since they offered me."
Lamb did make the Gophers' staff sweat it out just a bit. The Gophers offered him nearly two months ago. But he took his time, constantly comparing the pros and cons of the close-to two dozen schools that contacted him since his recruiting window opened on Jan. 1.
Lamb celebrated his decision by playing golf with friends on Saturday afternoon. His phone died as he got to the course, so he was able to enjoy his round without a phone buzzing with text messages and calls of congratulations.
"I'm excited and kind of stunned," to commit to Minnesota, said Lamb, who is believed to be the first-ever Dodge County boys hockey player to commit to a Division I program. "After they offered me I was still considering a lot of schools, but I had a Zoom call with the whole coaching staff about two weeks ago and that helped me a lot with my decision."
Lamb is the fourth player from the area to commit to a Big Ten school in the past two years. Rochester native Tyler Haskins committed to the University of Michigan in the spring of 2018, Xander Lamppa (John Marshall) committed to Penn State last spring and Maddox Fleming (Rochester Mayo) committed to Notre Dame in August.
Lamb, Haskins and Fleming could all be on their college campuses as early as the fall of 2022. Lamppa is a freshman at Penn State this fall.
Lamb, though, said he'll play at least one year of junior hockey before joining the Gophers. He'll play his junior season this winter at Dodge County. He and his family will make a decision on where he'll play his senior season sometime after the 2020-21 high school season ends.
"It was a bit stressful at times, trying to decide between so many great schools," Lamb said of the recruiting process. "But it's a lot of stress off my shoulders knowing my decision is made and I can help (Dodge County) this year."
Dodge County won 21 games last season and earned the No. 1 seed in the Section One playoffs for the first time in program history, before being knocked off by Mankato East in the section semifinals.
Lamb, a 6-foot, 165-pound forward, had 72 points last season as a sophomore and led the state in goals scored, with 49. He has excelled this fall in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, averaging a point per game so far against the best junior and senior players from across Minnesota and surrounding states.
He said the Gophers' coaches would like him to play at least one year of junior hockey, whether that comes in 2021-22 or the following season. He was drafted by the Green Bay Gamblers in the fourth round of the 2019 United States Hockey League Futures Draft.
"Being from a small school, I think it'll be good for me to play a year at that high level before going to college," he said.
Brody will follow in his dad’s skates. Jeff Lamb, a 1982 Rochester Mayo grad, played for the Austin Mavericks of the USHL before playing at Division I University of Denver. Soon, Brody will get his chance to play college hockey, and he'll do so less than a two-hour drive from home.
"I really enjoyed getting to know the coaching staff," he said. "I really like the assistant coaches. They have some great facilities and I really like the campus."