Official 2021 Gophers Football Recruiting Updates Thread: Links, Tweets, Videos etc

die hard gopher

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I’m guessing he transferred here for education purposes, or reasons beyond kicking footballs.
I think football was the #1 priority for coming here based on his comments when he committed.

“The two schools that were showing me the most interest were Cincinnati and Minnesota, but I had discussions with Maine and Eastern Kentucky among others. I ended up choosing Minnesota as I wanted the opportunity to play at a Power 5 school, with the chance to play against and beat some of the best schools in the country and compete for the best bowl games in the country. Then, I really like the culture that's been instilled under Coach Fleck and the strong academics of the university. So, it checked off a lot of my boxes and felt like a good fit to finish out my career."
 

MNVCGUY

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Interesting - 247 shows Townley as a Penn State commit as of today but for some reason he hasn't signed yet.
 

hungan1

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NSD Article by Ryan Burns. From what he says, there a few signed players who he is very excited about and will surprise.

2021 Gopher Football National Signing Day Awards
Gopher Illustrated, Ryan Burns, Feb. 3rd, 2021

Minnesota currently has the #29 rated class overall, and a top-30 class would be the first for Minnesota in the 247Sports/247SportsComposite era. A step in the right direction. We also should look at where the Gophers rank in the Big Ten West recruiting ranks, which we at 247Sports currently have them third, but here's a deeper look.



- Wisconsin
Class score: 243.47

Average ranking per recruit: 89.24

- Iowa
Class score: 230.53

Average ranking per recruit: 88.89

- Minnesota
Class score: 210.64

Average ranking per recruit: 87.83



Iowa and Wisconsin are traditionally the two teams as the top of the division and it's been that way for largely a decade. They're both now reaping the benefits of consistent winning as the two schools are on track to set their best recruiting classes of the internet era, just as Minnesota is.



- Minnesota's on track to have their best star ranking per recruit average with "87.83" of the 247Sports era.

- Minnesota also signed six 247 four-stars, which is the most of the Internet era for a Gopher Football team.



I saw this list from ESPN's Bill Connelly, and I believe it's spot on as far as what the three most-important areas in college football are:

1) Talent Acquisition - Recruiting

2) Talent Development - Develop the talent

3) Talent Deployment - Put them in a position to be successful




For Minnesota specifically here. PJ Fleck and his staff have elevated their recruiting from a tier (or two) below the Wisconsin's and the Iowa's, to now they're knocking on that door. All three schools are going to likely sign their best recruiting classes in the 247Sports era. But for Minnesota in this 2021 class, that's a check mark in the most important box of just getting the talent signed and on campus. Now for Fleck and staff, the challenge is going to be continuing to "change their best". If you want to win the Big Ten West, you have to continue to out-recruit the class you just signed. And for this 2021 recruiting classes' purpose they did, but now they got to do it again in 2022, especially with Iowa and Wisconsin recruiting better than they ever have.

So for PJ Fleck and staff, it's time to prove again that once the talent is here, you can turn that into all-Big Ten players and NFL draft picks, which coincidentally coincides with wins on the field. That's how you get to 10 wins for the first time in 114 years like they did in 2019, and those 11 wins last year helped immensely produce this 2021 class.



I'm sure you're tired of scrolling, so here's where I'll end it. The Gopher Football 2021 recruiting class was damn good.

Athan Kaliakmanis, Steven Ortiz and Mar'Keise Irving all rank in the top-25 commits/signees for Minnesota all-time in the Internet era (via the 247Composite). If you add in Deven Eastern and Cameron James, that's six 2021 recruits in the top-5o Internet era for Minnesota.

If you add in Austin Booker, Jameson Geers, Lemeke Brockington, Jacob Schuster and Devon Williams, that's 11 2021 commits that rank in the top-75 for Minnesota signees in the Internet Era.

That's a step in the right direction for the Gopher Football staff.



Let's get into some awards for the 2021 class.

CLASS MVP
Ryan Burns says: CB Steven Ortiz
I'm going to interpret this "Class MVP" as the leader of the class and to me that's got to be Steven Ortiz. The run that Minnesota had in recruiting back in the spring was spearheaded by Ortiz jumping in early and then putting his recruiting hat on and going to work.
Ortiz and family should be very happy with the way things turned out.
---
2020: Ky Thomas
2019: Tyler Nubin
2018: Zack Annexstad
2017: Blaise Andries
2016: Carter Coughlin

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Zach Johnson says: RB Mar'Keise Irving
Gopher fans know how much PJ Fleck loves to run the ball and Irving will give Fleck another weapon to utilize on the ground and to help burn clock. Irving is a talented back and, along with 2020 signee Ky Thomas, should give the Gophers a solid, if not spectacular ground game.
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Midwest 247 analyst Allen Trieu says: QB Athan Kaliakmanis
He was the first commit in the class and stayed with it even through offensive staff changes. He helped recruit players and even helped with keeping some in the class. Beyond that, he is a blue-chip with height, athleticism, arm talent and intangibles. From several angles, he is the MVP for me.
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2020: Ky Thomas
INSTANT IMPACT - OFFENSE
Ryan Burns says: WR Lemeke Brockington
I hate going on the same wave length as AZJ, but here we are. With Chris Autman-Bell really the only wide receiver written in pen for the 2021 wide receiver rotation, I think that Brockington has the best shot to crack that wide receiver rotation. He'll be an early enrollee and that can only help his case to try and earn playing time.
He's a big-play threat every time the ball is in his hands and that speed can take the top off the defense, something that Minnesota needs to replace with Rashod Bateman.
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2020: WR Douglas Emilien
2019: QB Jacob Clark
2018: WR Rashod Bateman
2017: WR Chris Autman-Bell
2016: OL Vincent Calhoun

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Zach Johnson says: WR Lemeke Brockington
There really isn’t a lot of options besides Irving and Brockington to consider for instant impact on offense. The Gophers should return Tanner Morgan and Mo Ibrahim and you never want an offensive lineman to be considered for this category. The Gophers will have Chris Autman-Bell has the primary pass catcher in 2021, but the rest of the wide receivers will be young and fighting for targets. If Brockington comes in ready to go he could give the Gophers instant impact and a big play target for Morgan.
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Allen Trieu says: WR Lemeke Brockington
Minnesota will lose some receivers and while there is young talent there, I think Brockington's speed and strength will allow him to compete early.
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2020: RB Ky Thomas
INSTANT IMPACT - DEFENSE
Ryan Burns says: LB Jack Gibbens
This is the biggest layup on the entire slate. Of course I'm going to choose the graduate transfer linebacker. There's a reason he's coming in and it's to play, and it's a position that needs all the experience they can get.
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2020: DB Jalen Glaze
2019: DT Keonte Schad
2018: DB Terell Smith
2017: DB Kendarian Handy-Holly
2016: DT Merrick Jackson

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Zach Johnson says: DL Deven Eastern and CB Steven Ortiz
I would normally encourage Fleck and defensive line coach Chad Wilt to redshirt all defensive lineman and allow them to develop physically before they stat to battle in the Big Ten trenches. Eastern is not your typical 18-year old defensive lineman. This kid is physically mature and looks as if he is ready to go. If he is as tough as he appears he should have no problem making an instant impact for the Gopher defense. Another guy I think comes in and makes a big impact, some may argue he has already made a massive impact on the program due to having his fingerprints all over the 2021class is Ortiz. I think Ortiz has the potential to come in and win the slot corner job as a true freshman. The four-star out of Arizona is skilled, tough as nails, and ultra-competitive.
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Allen Trieu says: DL Deven Eastern
There are probably other positions that have more availability, but Eastern is one of the more physically ready recruits in this class. With his size and athleticism, I would think he can give the Gophers some minutes.
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2020: LB Jaqwondis Burns
MOST LIKELY TO PROVE THE STAR SYSTEM WRONG
Ryan Burns says: DE Austin Booker
I really like Austin Booker long-term, and truthfully, I think his name should be mentioned in the same breath as someone who has the highest ceiling in this 2021 Minnesota class. We're higher than consensus (.8702 composite grade) with an 88 grade, but I don't think it accurately represents what his ceiling could be. There's a reason that defensive line factory schools like Iowa and Penn State were involved here and it's because the physical attributes are what Big Ten defensive lines look like.
He's all of 6-5 with outstanding length and can bend really well. If he progresses in Minnesota's weight program, he's going to be a force.
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2020: LB Cody Lindenberg
2019: RB Cam Wiley
2018: DB Benny Sapp III
2017: DB Justus Harris
2016: DB Kiondre Thomas

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Zach Johnson says: Safety Darius Green
To find Darius Green on the Gopher commitment list, you have to scroll down towards the bottom of the list. I don’t think you will have a hard time finding Green over the next four years at TCF Bank Stadium. I firmly believe Green will be a multi-year starter for the Golden Gophers and one of the best safeties in the Big Ten. Another great pick up out of Georgia for Fleck and staff.
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Allen Trieu says: OT Logan Purcell
We have him as an 89, just on the cusp of the four-star range but the lack of that last point makes me a little nervous. He is the type of guy that has been hard for us to scout in the past -- growing into his body, smaller school, and no camp exposure. We obviously have him well rated, but I think he could be really good.
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2020: OT Martes Lewis
HIGHEST CEILING
Ryan Burns says: QB Athan Kaliakmanis
I think some people forget about Athan because he's been committed for nearly two years, but there's a ceiling here at quarterback with the Illinois four-star that we haven't seen in some time. Athan hasn't played a lot of football since his sophomore year (injury shorten junior season and his fall senior season was cancelled), but he looks damn good when he's throwing the ball.
I saw him 14 months ago at a Gopher camp and came away very impressed. Whenever Tanner Morgan leaves, I expect Kaliakmanis to be a serious thought.
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2020: DL Jah Joyner
2019: WR Nnamdi Adim-Madumere
2018: OL Curtis Dunlap Jr.
2017: WR Demetrius Douglas
2016: LB Carter Coughlin

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Zach Johnson says: QB Athan Kaliakmanis
I know everyone’s favorite Gopher quarterback is the most recent to sign, so Kaliakmanis has that going for him, but if he is able to win the quarterback job in 2022 as a redshirt freshman he could have a big time career at the University of Minnesota. That is a big “IF” as there will be several quality quarterbacks competing to win the job once Tanner Morgan leaves and the role of QB1 is open. It may be the most competitive quarterback competition in modern Golden Gopher history.

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Allen Trieu says: OT Cameron James
If everyone in this class got to their highest potential, I think James or Athan would come off the board first in a draft. 6-foot-8, 315 pounds and can run the way I've seen James run is rare.
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2020: LB Lucas Finnessy
BIGGEST STEAL
Ryan Burns says: DT Jacob Schuster
I'll let AZJ take Walley as he's the other answer I'd have here, but it's wild to me still that Minnesota was able to land a four-star defensive tackle from the state of Washington that the entire PAC-12 wanted. He could have gone to a lot of different power-five institutions closer to home, but Chad Wilt and PJ Fleck deserve a lot of credit here for getting this disruptive defensive tackle to head east.
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2020: DB Michael Dixon
2019: OL Tyler Cooper
2018: LB Thomas Rush
2017: DE Boye Mafe
2016: DB Antoine Winfield

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Zach Johnson says: CB Justin Walley
I love younger brothers. They seem to always develop into better athletes than their bigger brother, after experiencing years of fighting for respect and trying to catch up physically. Justin Walley comes to Minnesota out of the talent rich state of Mississippi and I can easily see him developing into a NFL player.
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Allen Trieu says: Safety Darius Green
He has slid under the radar a little bit but I love the kid's physicality and speed. I would bet this kid ends up being a difference maker.
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2020: OL Aireontae Ersery
BIGGEST MISS
Ryan Burns says: Avante Dickerson
I mean, it is what it is at this point, but with St-Juste off to the NFL, Dickerson would have had a great chance to potentially play early.
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2020: DE Yahya Black
2019: OT Bryce Benhart
2018: DT Noah Shannon
2017: WR Jafar Armstrong
2016: DE Tralund Webber

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Zach Johnson says: OL Austin Barber, Joe Alt, Amari McNeill, Albert Reese, Dylan Rollins, and Andrew Leingang
Pick any two from the bunch. I have been critical of the limited number of offensive lineman the Gophers have signed over the past couple of classes, and this year is no different. T
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Allen Trieu says: Safety Benjamin Perry
Riley Mahlman and Joe Alt may seem like obvious picks, but Mahlman liked Wisconsin early and Alt is more of a miss for Iowa in my opinion. Perry had Minnesota in high regard and the Gophers were rolling in Illinois. Him choosing Louisville was a little bit surprising for those reasons. It was a position of need as well, one they ended up filling nicely with Green, but for a while, I thought Perry would be a Gopher.
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2020: OT Casey Collier
RECRUITER OF THE YEAR
Ryan Burns says: Safety coach Joe Harasymiak
After landing Ky Thomas, Aireontae Ersery and Daniel Jackson last year, the second-year coach at Minnesota changed his best and helped land Steven Ortiz (Arizona) and heat-seeking missile in Darius Green.
I'd love to add even more to Harasymiak's recruiting plate in 2022's class.
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2020: Safety coach Joe Harasymiak
2019: DL coach Marcus West
2018: DB coach Mo Linguist
2017: Head coach PJ Fleck
2016: LB coach Mike Sherels

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Zach Johnson says: DL coach Chad Wilt
Gopher defensive line coach Chad Wilt (Eastern, Schuster, Booker, McCoy, and Williams) gets my vote. It is extremely difficult to recruit quality defensive lineman and Wilt brought in a haul in 2021. I have already talked about Eastern, but landing Schuster out of Washington was very impressive and helped Wilt secure my vote.
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Allen Trieu says: DL coach Chad Wilt
I think he had a hard job with coming in later and then the pandemic happening two months later. Then he had some guys de-commit and had to fill spots late and he did that with two out of region guys who had never visited. He also got Austin Booker with him never visiting.
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2020: RB coach Kenni Burns
MR. GREEN ROOM (NEXT GOPHER IN THE NFL DRAFT DAY GREEN ROOM)
Ryan Burns says: DL Deven Eastern
Adding in some new categories this year, so you can't just chastise me on the misses over the years, and this one I think is thought provoking.
Deven Eastern has a very similar body type to what former Gopher DT Ra'Shede Hageman looked like in high school, and I believe many Gopher fans would be happy if his career followed that trajectory on the field. Eastern is already 6-6 and 275 lbs and he's still in high school.
He's going to enroll early and we'll see if he ends up as a defensive end or tackle, but he's exact what they look when they're in the green room.
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Zach Johnson says: OT Cameron James
The 247 4-star offensive tackle comes to the University of Minnesota with all the physical characteristics that offensive line coach Brian Callahan could ask for. Currently standing 6-8 and 280 pounds there is no worries about James adding weight to his frame to get north of 300 pounds. If James can also add strength, power and explosiveness James will no doubt be an NFL draft pick.
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BEST INTERNAL MATCH UP I WOULD LIKE TO SEE

10109542.jpeg


Ryan Burns says: DL Deven Eastern vs. OT Cameron James
The Big Ten West is won and lost in the trenches, and I'm all for seeing what Eastern (6-6, 275, on the left) vs. James (6-8, 280, in the middle) looks like with pads on. That's two enormous teenagers with a lot of athleticism that are going to matchup quite a bit over the next handful of years.
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Zach Johnson says: QB Athan Kaliakmanis vs. DB Darius Green
Will Kaliakmanis zero in on one receiver or will he be able to look off his primary target for a secondary option? Can Green come out of film study with reads and exploit them to make a key interception? Would love to see the future Golden Gopher signal caller square off with the future centerfielder.
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Allen Trieu says: DL Deven Eastern vs. OT Cameron James
That is a lot of size and skill in one place right there.
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The Need for Speed
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Ryan Burns says: Safety Darius Green
As a sophomore, the dude ran a 10.62 100m. That's FLYING. I'd love to see that getting down the field on kickoff early in his career and plastering a return man. I can't wait to hear about Darius vs. Dino vs. Brady Boyd and see who has the top speed.
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40COMMENTS
Zach Johnson says: WR Brady Boyd
I really like Boyd and what he could mean to the Gopher offense. The guy loves the game and came back to play this year after a tough injury sidelined him for several weeks. I also like Boyd due to his 4.4 speed, which will allow him to outrun Big Ten defensive backs and become a big time playmaker
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First to score a touchdown
Ryan Burns says: WR Lemeke Brockington
I'll also stick with Lemeke on offense though. I love his outlook in the short and long-term.
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Zach Johnson says: WR Dylan McGill
I am going to take a flyer and go with McGill. The Gophers have loved using Seth Green within The Green Line to punch in several short yardage touchdowns since Fleck has arrived on Campus. I could see McGill taking on that role and getting to the end zone faster than Irving.
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First to force a turnover
Ryan Burns says: DL Deven Eastern or CB Steven Ortiz
This is a great category because you can choose a lot of different guys here, and I'll not take a layup in Gibbens. I think Ortiz and Eastern are two of the guys I have pegged to earlier in their careers.
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Zach Johnson says: CB Steven Ortiz
As I stated earlier I can see Ortiz coming in right away and grabbing snaps at slot corner. Using his instincts I can see Ortiz stepping in front of a Miami RedHawk pass attempt for an interception.
 

hungan1

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More in depth stuff from Ryan Burns...

What Minnesota fans should know about 2021 National Signing Day
Gopher Illustrated, Ryan Burns, Feb. 3rd, 2021


Get ready, MINNESOTA GOPHER FOOTBALL RECRUITING FOLLOWERS: The Early Signing Period will change the process as we know it. Beginning Dec. 16, through Dec. 18, high school and junior college prospects can put pen to paper and sign their National Letter of Intent — a rite of passage usually reserved for the first Wednesday of every February.

There’ll still be a traditional National Signing Day on Feb. 3 in 2021, but we expect that after the pre-Christmas, three-day marathon, most programs will have the vast majority of their classes locked in. With so many prospects choosing to enroll early now to get a jump on the competition, we’re already starting to see many uncommitted blue-chippers announce decision dates in that Dec. 16-18 span.

Here’s what Gopher Football fans should know about the Minnesota 2021 recruiting class with the February National Signing Day here.


HOW MANY COMMITS DOES MINNESOTA HAVE AND HOW MANY ARE DESIGNATED AS EARLY-SIGNEES?
10085280.jpeg
(Photo: Jeremy Enlow - JeremyEnlow.com)
Minnesota currently has 18 commitments with National Signing Day tomorrow, and 17 of them have already signed. Plus you've got to add in that Minnesota's got five scholarship transfers signees as well. When you look at early enrollees specifically, the Gophers have 12 enrollees that have been taking classes since January that'll be participating in spring ball.
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- Wide Receiver Lemeke Brockington
Here's 247Sports analyst Allen Trieu had to say about Brockington's film.
"Brockington does a lot of good things on tape. He shows good strength both after the catch in fending off tacklers and in going up to challenge for the ball. He catches the ball well away from his body and coming out of his breaks. His change of direction is good and he shows elusiveness after the catch. He plays faster than his track times might suggest. He is a guy we would have loved to have gotten a time on at an Opening Regional. As it stands though, he is a guy who shows he can run a go route and take the top off a defense but can also catch a short pass and get YAC.Minnesota continues to do a really good job of identifying receivers with athletic traits. Brockington is a playmaker who has played outside and in the slot in high school and I think can similarly do either in college.
Brockington ended his senior season with 23 catches for 527 yards (22.9 yards per reception) and six touchdowns. Brockington was also named the athlete of the year for Georgia's Region 1-7A.
- Wide Receiver Brady Boyd
Here's what 247Sports analyst Steve Wiltfong had to say about Boyd's tape.
"Boyd certainly carved up defenses as a junior, using his verified 4.44 speed in the 40-yard dash (from The Opening camp circuit prior to his junior year) to blow by or break away from defenders to the tune of 66 receptions for 969 yards and eight touchdowns in helping lead his team to a 13-1 record and a deep run in the Lone Star State playoffs. He did his best work on the biggest stages, catching nine balls for 169 yards and a touchdown against Midland Lee and then 11 receptions for 123 yards and a score against a loaded Duncanville squad in the final two times he suited up on the campaign.
For Boyd it starts with his foundation which is really good. He’s a smooth route runner that can setup defensive backs and separate. I like his body control and his hands are reliable too. Obviously he has the speed to take the top off and once he gets stronger he’ll have the whole bag to his game as far as taking on press corners on the perimeter.
Boyd chose the Gophers over an offer list that included Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Utah. I believe we’ll ultimately see him atop the Big Ten standings for receptions and yards in a season. Minnesota’s talented receiver room is going to turn over pretty quick and Boyd should already be pegged as one of the next men up."
In his 26 career games at Southlake Carroll High School, Boyd has 111 catches for nearly 2,000 yards and is averaging 17.4 yards per reception with 21 touchdowns.
- Wide receiver Dylan McGill
Another wide receiver that will be enrolling early is Texas athlete Dylan McGill. The Mesquite native is actually a "maroon" shirt from the 2020 class, but he'll finally be signing and enrolling here in January. Minnesota saw McGill at a satellite camp back in the summer of 2019 and offered him shortly after, which resulted in a quick commitment. McGill didn't sign with the Gophers last February as there were some academic issues that had to be resolved. They've since been addressee and McGill will finally put the pen to the paper on Wednesday and arrive on campus in a few weeks.
McGill also camped with Minnesota in the summer of 2019 and here's what I said back after seeing him live.
"McGill is a high school quarterback for his team down in Texas, but you really wouldn't know it with the way he was running routes today. Sure, he's a little raw in spots, but the athletic ability and ball skills that McGill showed today were impressive. His ball tracking was very good, hauling in a couple of long balls over the shoulder, plus he's got strong hands to grip the ball through contact. The more time that McGill spends with Matt Simon, the quicker the transition will go, but the athletic ability is there at six-foot-two."
- Texas A&M WR transfer Dylan Wright
When Wright arrived at Texas A&M, he was behind a crowded depth chart filled with upperclassmen. Because of that, he only saw action in four games in 2019 and did not have a reception. Heading into his redshirt freshman season this past year, fans had high hopes for Wright, especially with the fact that the team did not return any experience at the receiver spot. However, he still was not able to see the field much. Wright played in four contests this year, all on special teams. He put his name into the NCAA transfer portal a couple of weeks ago, and Minnesota went to work then.
Wright will arrive at Minnesota in January, and if/when the NCAA passes their one-time transfer waiver in a few weeks, he'll be immediately eligible. Wright will have four years to play four because of no one losing a year of eligibility in 2020. The former West Mesquite standout's composite rank of .9678 coming out of high school would rank him as the second highest rated recruit to EVER sign with the Gophers, behind only Jeff Jones.

Here's the scouting report from former 247Sports' Director of Recruiting in Barton Simmons' on Wright coming out of high school.
"A grown man physically with long arms, powerful legs and an imposing high cut body. Springy athlete with great bounce, quick-jump ability and a graceful stride. Hands catcher that plucks the football away from his body. Can make contested catches with defenders draped on him. Excels in jump ball and 50-50 situations. Willing and effective blocker on the perimeter. Long strider that isn’t a short-area athlete. Can run into problems against press coverage. Productivity in Texas doesn’t match some of his peers. Impact Power Five starter in the right offense that has first round NFL Draft upside with development but projects more likely as a third-round type of talent."
- Utah State OL transfer Karter Shaw
After redshirting in 2018, Shaw started the past two seasons and has three years of eligibility remaining. The Minnesota connection here is from the Gophers offensive coordinator in Mike Sanford. Sanford was the offensive coordinator for Utah State in 2019 where Shaw started for him at right guard, so the Gophers are very familiar with what he can do.
The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Shaw has played in 23 games in his collegiate career, including starting the last 19 games for Utah State as an underclassmen at guard. Minnesota taking a transfer offensive lineman with three years of eligibility makes a lot of sense if you look at the 2022 season. They'll lose starting offensive linemen Sam Schlueter and Conner Olson to graduation, plus I don't think it's a guarantee that starters Blaise Andries, John Michael Schmitz and Axel Ruschmeyer come back for their sixth year in 2022. There's a real possibility that Minnesota loses all of their starting interior offensive lineman in 2022, and that's where this Shaw addition makes a ton of sense.

Here's what Shaw said about why he chose Minnesota.
"In the end I just felt like Minnesota was a better fit for me, and my future," Shaw explained to GopherIllustrated. "Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford and offensive line coach Brian Callahan have told me that I'll be working to compete for a spot this year, but there are a lot of returners this year. But if I'm one of the best five guys I will play and that's always the mentality I'm going to go into it with. But if I don't start this year, I will be able to rotate in, continue getting better and stronger so I will be able to start the following two years.
Both coaches also told me that long term, they see me more at center, but with the ability to play guard if that's where I'm needed. Callahan and Sanford said I have a lot of experience, so I can come in and help right away. My best attribute is my mind for the game, and especially having worked with coach Sanford previously he knows who I am as a player, and I fit his scheme very well. My family is really excited for the opportunity, especially being able to go to such a great place like Minnesota. They are already looking for flights to some of the games next year. My current plan is to get my major in communications, and minor in business management while at Minnesota. I'd say my biggest strengths as an offensive lineman are definitely my knowledge for the game, I am a smart player, But technique wise I have really good feet. I'll be moving into Minnesota tomorrow and starting classes on Tuesday, so I'm excited to be a Gopher!"
- Clemson DT transfer Nyles Pinckney
Pinckney, who redshirted the 2016 season before playing the 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons, graduated in May. He'll have one year to play one season for Minnesota in 2021 and will be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer. This news of Pinckney's departure from Clemson wasn't surprising after he elected to be honored as a senior this year on Senior Day.
The former four-star recruit hails from Beaufort, S.C. and was a member of Clemson's 2016 signing class. Prior to the Ohio State game in the Sugar Bowl, Pinckney played 231 snaps in 11 games this year. He registered 22 tackles. Pinckney entered 2020 having recorded 71 tackles (10.5 for loss), 2.0 sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in 857 snaps over 43 career games (13 starts).

The 6-1 and 300 lb defensive tackle played in 55 games and registered over 1,100 snaps for the Clemson Tigers over the last four years. He ends his time with Clemson with 81 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Pinckney was named third-team All-ACC in 2019 and invited the the East-West Shrine Bowl following his 2020 campaign, but wants one more years to boost his stock before heading off to the NFL and he'll be doing that at Minnesota. Pinckney was also a captain for Clemson in their most recent game against Ohio State.
Minnesota defensive tackle rotation for 2021 is going to loaded with experience and upperclassmen.
- Nyles Pinckney (55 career games and 1,166 total snaps)
- Val Martin (fifth-year senior with 500+ total snaps)
- Micah Dew-Treadway (seventh (!!) year senior with 900+ total snaps)
- Keonte Schad (fifth-year senior with 300+ total snaps)
Plus, Rashad Cheney and De'Angelo Carter will still only be redshirt freshmen for 2021 . All four players mentioned above will be gone for 2022, so while I expect all six guys to rotate in some capacity, it allows Cheney and Carter one more off-season before becoming the full-time guys in 2022. Minnesota also had upperclassmean Noah Hickcox transfer out, and with Jamaal Teague also opting out for 2019, there's no word if he'll return as well, so taking Pinckney makes a lot of sense.
This also allows freshmen defensive linemen MJ Anderson, Logan Richter, Deven Eastern, Gage Keys, Jacob Schuster and Luther McCoy to mature in the weight room before being asked to really contribute in 2022.
- NC State DT transfer Val Martin
NC State senior defensive tackle Val Martin entered the NCAA Transfer Portal two weeks ago with a year of eligibility left to play at his new school, and he's decided on a new destination in the Big Ten with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Martin will be on scholarship at Minnesota in 2021 and will enroll with the Gophers in January.
In three seasons with the Wolfpack, Martin recorded 29 total tackles, seven of which were solo and one forced fumble. This season, Martin had 12 total tackles, three of which were solo. Martin was a three-star prospect coming out of Iowa Western Community College in the 2018 recruiting class. In addition to NC State, his one season in junior college earned Martin scholarship offers from Power Five schools in Washington State and West Virginia.
- Defensive lineman Deven Eastern
One of Minnesota's earliest commitments came from Shakopee defensive lineman Deven Eastern who committed to the Gophers shortly after National Signing Day last year. Eastern is without question one of the highest ceiling players in the Gophers 2021 class as he's already 6-6 and 280 lbs.
Midwest 247Sports analyst Allen Trieu had this to say about Eastern's abilities and why 247 recently bumped him into the top247 rankings.
"Eastern has great size at 6-foot-6, 280 pounds and the film from this season shows that he can still move at that size, 15 pounds heavier than on his junior tape. Eastern gets off the football well for a player of that size and shows he can pursue and run down plays that go away from him. With big guys, flexibility and bend is important and can get pad level at his height.
His schedule allows us to see him against some good teams and teams with big offensive lines. Watching him against some of the better teams on that schedule gave us further confidence in that move. We have him as a strongside defensive end, but he can also play the three-tech. It will be interesting to see the different places he lines up because he looks big and versatile enough to move around."
- Graduate transfer linebacker Jack Gibbens
It's been a whirlwind recruiting ride between Minnesota and Abilene Christian linebacker Jack Gibbens. The former FCS linebacker put his name into the NCAA transfer portal in late November after ending his four year career with 258 career tackles, including 22 for loss. The Gophers moved quickly after discovering Gibbens and that resulted in a scholarship commitment for 2021 within 48 hours of their first conversation.
This is what Gibbens told me about how that recruitment went with Minnesota.
"It definitely moved fast and was pretty crazy, but that's kind of the nature of the situation I was in having to make a decision quickly. I first talked to defensive coordinator Joe Rossi, but it was head coach PJ Fleck who offered me. It was just a great fit for them and me, as far as what they do defensively and the culture they have there. I played in a similar scheme at Abilene Christian and think I fit what they are all about from a culture perspective. Minnesota was the right opportunity and fit that I was looking for when I entered the portal. There was really no reason to wait because this is what I was looking for."
- Linebacker Devon Williams
This is what PJ Fleck had to say about Williams on December's National Signing Day.
"Devon Williams from Dublin Coffman High School in Ohio where his Mom and Dad are Jessica and G. He's a mid-year linebacker, which was going to be a focus for us. We needed to be able to get more depth at linebacker, and not only get more depth, we had to be able to be able to continue to create that competition as we continue to bring more players in. He flipped from an SEC school and he's never visited. I give all these kids a lot of credit and all these young people a lot of credit for never visiting and still committed to a place that you haven't seen.
Think about how hard that is, and then we still signed the historic class we did with a lower number than most years. That tells you how wonderful the class this is again, but Devon is the sixth highest ranked linebacker to ever sign here."

Midwest 247Sports analyst Allen Trieu had this to say about Williams.
"Average height and weight for the position. Not a guy who wows with the eye-test, but does stand out on tape. Makes plays in every phase of the game. Can rush off the edge with his quickness. Is not the biggest guy, but plays physically. Will take on blocks and runs through contact as a tackler. Very comfortable in coverage and has good hands and ball skills. Also does very well on special teams. Fluid athlete with a head for the game. Size wise and style wise he likely projects as a college WILL. Ability to be an every down game has him comfortably projected as a difference maker at the Power 5 level."
- Cornerback Justin Walley
The last early enrollee is also one of the most talented in Mississippi corner Justin Walley. Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State (where his brother goes) have been trying to secure his commitment since the spring, but Walley committed to the Golden Gophers over the summer and he's on track to stick with that commitment and make it official Wednesday.
Here's what 247Sports analyst Allen Trieu wrote after watching his film.
"The analytics on Walley are good. He is a track guy whose times as a 10th grader (11.55 100-meter) were not blazing but not bad. It is unfortunate we did not get to see what he would have run this spring. I see him listed at 4.54 in the forty in places, but that is not a verified time. He has been a productive player on both defense and special teams, where he has a penchant for blocking kicks. He blocked a field goal and two punts as a junior, and had seven offensive touchdowns and averaged over 13 yards a carry, and did well as a return man in addition to what he did defensively, which was good enough to earn him District Defensive Player of the Year honors.
In short, he makes a lot of plays. He shows twitch and ball skills and the clips of him doing 1-1s above show his abilities in man to man a little more and how he can match-up on bigger receivers. He is physical both as a runner and in coverage. To add to it, he is a 3.2 student and comes from an athletic family with older brother Jaden at Mississippi State. He is a player who has done well in every phase of the game and there is a lot to like about this pick-up for the Gophers, and that is without considering they went into Mississippi and got a kid it sounds like both in-state schools wanted."
Walley was named Mr. Football in Mississippi for 6A (highest class) football as a senior as he did it all for his high school. On offense, he totaled 1,005 rushing yards with 19 rushing scores on nearly 9.5 yards per carry. On defense, he totaled 55 tackles with five passes defended and two interceptions.
- PWO punter transfer from Louisiana-Monroe in Daniel Sparks
After the Gophers finished dead-last in the Big Ten in yards per punt for the second straight season, it's easy to see why head coach PJ Fleck would want to add in more competition to the specialist room. And Minnesota earned a preferred walk-on commitment Louisiana-Monroe transfer punter Daniel Sparks, who just announced for Minnesota. The true freshman punter in 2020 finished second in the Sun Belt in yards per punt at 44.6 yards, including six punts of 50+ yards. Reminder that Minnesota last season averaged 36.2 yards per punt and had zero punts over 50 yards.
Here's what Sparks had to say about why Minnesota is the place he wants to continue his career as a student-athlete.
"Special Teams coordinator Rob Wenger first texted me on December 30th and he told me he wanted to bring in a guy to compete and get better everyday," Sparks said to 247Sports. "Coach Wenger just told me that he believes I have a lot of potential and that he knows I had a few ups and downs of my freshman season and he loves how I dug in and bounced back. So that's when they offered me a preferred walk-on opportunity there, and I took it."
WHO CAN PROVIDE THE BIGGEST INSTANT IMPACT FOR MINNESOTA IN 2020?
The three positions that stand out to me for 2021 considering the majority of the team is expected to return as 2020 didn't count against a year of eligibility are wide receiver, linebacker and cornerback where someone from this class could come in and help immediately. But off the bat, we have to start with the transfers.

Dylan Wright's arrival puts him as the tallest and longest wide receiver in that room, but can Simon refine his game enough to where he's helping this team immediately in 2021? Karter Shaw's arrival, plus getting Faalele and Dunlap back has Minnesota's offensive line as talented and as deep as I've seen in my decade covering this team. Pinckney and Martin will provide immediate depth and potential starting ability. They'll make sure that Minnesota's DT room will have competition every day and folks shouldn't get tired. Gibbens will be able to challenge for time immediately at linebacker where Sori-Marin and other linebackers need to be challenged every day, and Sparks should help make sure that the punting game isn't mediocre for a third straight season.

From the high school side of things, Minnesota has four wide receiver commits in Georgia's Lemeke Brockington (his highlights are above), Texas' Brady Boyd and Dylan McGill plus Illinois' Dino Kaliakmanis. With no Rashod Bateman for 2021 and seemingly only Chris Autman-Bell as the lone receiver you can write in with pen for Minnesota's 2021 wide receiver rotation, there's going to be plenty of opportunity there. Also remember that Brockington, Boyd and McGill will be early enrollee's so they'll be here in January for winter workouts and then spring ball.
I'm the most bullish on Lemeke Brockington and Brady Boyd from the four to make an immediate impact. Both have the speed to take the top of the defense early in their career and considering Bateman was really good at that, I wouldn't be surprised to see either make waves sooner than later.

If you're reading this, you likely know that Minnesota has struggled at linebacker this fall without Kamal Martin and Thomas Barber. The football staff is also well-aware of that fact and Joe Rossi is addressing it here in the short-term by taking a transfer linebacker with a lot of experience in Abilene Christian's Jack Gibbens. Because I've received this question plenty from the fine folks on GopherIllustrated, Abilene Christian is NOT a Junior College. It's an FCS level University down in Texas. FCS Football or D1-AA, aka what North Dakota State wins every year.
Gibbens will be here in January and he's expected to provide much needed competition for linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin at the Mike linebacker spot. He's got over 200 collegiate tackles and he's played a lot of football, but he's a physical linebacker in the box that has shown that he can shed blocks. That's what Minnesota needs. Plus, the Gophers will get back linebacker Braelen Oliver for spring ball and after playing in 2019 and missing this 2020 season with an ACL tear. Expectations are high for Oliver in 2021 at the Will linebacker spot.

I would also say cornerback because we'll see how many of Minnesota's elder corners come back for another year as Coney Durr, Phillip Howard and Justus Harris are all seniors and Benjamin St-Juste is also getting up there in years of experience and has a degree already. Either in 2021 or 2022, Minnesota's corner room is going to experience a significant amount of change, but luckily for the Gophers, they've addressed it in this class.
You have four-star corner Steven Ortiz who turned down the entire PAC-12 and some Big Ten and ACC schools. He's expected to compete early on at the nickel corner spot. Plus you have Mississippi's Justin Walley who is likely going to be the most "raw" technique wise of the three, but he's got a high ceiling if things develop.
Both guys are going to need to be ready to play as early as 10 months from now.
TRENDING MINNESOTA'S ROSTER CONSTRUCTION
In this section, our GopherIllustrated team is taking a look at a number of metrics and key indicators that highlight the best back-to-back-to-back recruiting efforts in the internet recruiting era (2000 on).
Top 35 Class
Coach Fleck and the Gophers currently head into the second National Signing Day (NSD) with the No. 35 ranked class in the country according to 247Sports Composite --and No. 29 via 247Sports own rating metric.
The first four full classes to-date under Coach Fleck and his staff are now statistically back-to-back-to-back-to-back the strongest for the University of Minnesota in the internet recruiting era, and depending which metric, position grouping or overall team score you utilize, it’s either No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 position class at Minnesota in the last decade.
The below boxplot is a comparison for more detail and visualization by class over the last ten years, shortly after 247Sports entered the recruiting world.
The center box represents the mid-50th %ile of the Gophers class, while the top line of the box is your top 75th %ile and the bottom line of the box is the 25th %ile. The lines extending above and below are to call out the class outliers for each class cycle. Lastly, the red lines represent the class score from 247Sports Class Calculator tool.
Of course we all see the higher rankings and the overall higher Composite score; but an analysis of this nature helps visualize and highlight keys where the roster is improving through recruiting.
An area of focus for example is improving the immediate depth. I’d highlight that the bottom 25th %ile, or the floor of each class, which has risen significantly in the last three cycles.
This bottom 25th %ile for the last three classes is generally the ceiling, or the 75%ile, in every previous class since 2010.
The 2021 classes base is the ceiling in most previous classes at Minnesota. The 25th %ile in 2021 is above the 75th %ile in every class previous to 2018 respectively.

10237723.jpg
(Photo: 247Sports)OFFENSIVE POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN
Extending the analysis to the positional level, let’s break down where the staff is finding the most success this cycle starting on the offensive side of the ball using our favorite heat grid tool (red highs, blue lows). Again, we’re using 2010 as the starting point, which is when 247Sports entered the recruiting industry.
Coach Fleck and the Minnesota staff hit new highs with this class offensively, hitting player/positional highs over the last decade at QB, TE and OL, as well as the overall Offense avg high. The 2018, 2019 and 2020 classes overall are close second, third and fourth to the 2021 offensive class.
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Below are a couple additional call-outs regarding this 2021 offensive class.
- Athan Kaliakmanis ranks as the top-quarterback that Minnesota has signed in the 247Sports era. He ranks fourth all-time in the Internet era behind guys like MarQueis Gray and Moses Alipate in the 247Composite for quarterbacks.
- Bucky Irving ranks as the second-highest running back commit for Minnesota in the Internet era. 2020 running back signee Ky Thomas ranks third all-time and only Washburn legend Jeff Jones ranks above them.
- Minnesota's wide receiver class of Lemeke Brockington, Brady Boyd, Dylan McGill and Dino Kaliakmanis ranks third in the 247Sports era for the highest average at .8606.
- Jameson Geers ranks as Minnesota's top-rated tight end in the last decade and he ranks second all-time in the Internet Era behind Ra'Shede Hageman who was ranked as a tight end, but later changed to defensive tackle before becoming a second-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons.
- Minnesota's offensive line class of Cameron James, Logan Purcell and Saia Mapakaitolo ranks first in per recruit average in the 247Sports era just ahead of the 2019 class.
- Overall, this recruiting class on offense ranks as the top-rated offensive class per recruit for Minnesota in the 247Sports era.
10237740.jpg
(Photo: 247Sports)DEFENSIVE POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN
On defense, Coach Fleck and the staff changed their best as they followed up last cycle’s second-highest defensive high by beating out the 2019 recruiting class with Minnesota's best defensive class in the 247Sports era.
Defensive line was an area the staff hit big home runs in, landing the deepest class (strongest overall via median) over the last decade.
- Shakopee's Deven Eastern ranks as second-highest defensive line commit for Minnesota all-time (behind only 2022 DL commit Trey Bixby). Jacob Schuster and Austin Booker rank 10th and 11th respectively and then Luther McCoy comes in at #24 all-time for defensive line recruits. Four in the top-25 is a great step forward in the trenches.
- Devon Williams ranks sixth all-time for Minnesota linebacker recruits with a .8709 composite rating.
The defensive backs are ranked as the best class that a Gopher Football team will have signed with an average rating of .8713.
- Steven Ortiz ranks as the fifth-highest rated defensive back in his own right to sign with the Gophers, with Justin Walley coming in at 11th and Darius Green in 17th. Four defensive backs who all rank in the top-20.
- Whether you look at median or average, this is the top-rated defensive class for Minnesota.
10237741.jpg
(Photo: 247Sports)
Overall, the No. 35 Composite ranking would be a new high in the last decade. The current rating of No. 29 via 247Sports own rating however ranks higher than that Composite mark, though we should note is technically the strongest class under the site’s own evaluation which didn’t exist pre-2010 (Composite has been set to look back via industry ratings).
The 87.83 average rating on 247Sports is the highest for a Minnesota class in the 247Sports era.
ADDITIONAL CLASS OF 2021 NOTE
- 88.9% of the current 18 2021 commits rate at or above the Gophers’ own 247Sports Composite five-year run rate. The 2018 class holds the current high of 92.0% of the class rating at or above the U’s own five-year run rate and 2019 hit a rate of 90.5%.
When Coach Fleck was hired in Jan. 2017, the rate of the class he took over was just 40% at the time. It’s important to note that as the roster continues to improve, the five-year run rate will increase (similar in nature to 247Sports Team Talent score) and this rate will be more and more of a challenge to hit, but it highlights the strong recruiting rate early for Coach Fleck and his staff.
It's also worth noting that the previous high (pre-Fleck) that Minnesota had hit for amount of class over the five-year run rate was 76.2%. Fleck and Co. have exceeded that mark with each of their first four full recruiting cycles.
This trending is shown in more detail in the below graph.
10237754.jpg
(Photo: 247Sports)
WHICH MINNESOTA COMMIT IS GOING TO BE THE HARDEST TO HOLD ON TO?
The one that was the toughest was their top-rated player in Omaha's Avante Dickerson, who the 247Crystal Ball has trending to Oregon after he visited there in January. I don't anticipate him signing with Minnesota.


This list would be longer, but most of the Gopher commits completely shut down their recruitment when they gave their verbal commitment, so here's little rundown of who the Gophers realistically beat out at the time when these recruits committed.
- Four-star quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis - Iowa, Tennessee and Purdue
- Four-star corner Steven Ortiz - Washington, Oregon and Penn State
- Four-star running back Bucky Irving - Michigan, TCU, Nebraska and Purdue
- Four-star defensive lineman Deven Eastern - Nebraska and Missouri
- Four-star defensive tackle Jacob Schuster - BYU, Stanford, Washington and Cal
- Four-star offensive tackle Cameron James - Indiana, Purdue, Kentucky and Michigan State
- Wide receiver Lemeke Brockington - Miami (Fla.), Tennessee and South Carolina
- Offensive lineman Saia Mapakaitolo - USC, UCLA and BYU
- Linebacker Devon Williams - Kentucky and West Virginia
- Defensive end Austin Booker - Iowa, Indiana, Notre Dame and Penn State
- Tight end Jameson Geers - Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois
- Corner Justin Walley - Ole Miss and Mississippi State
- Wide receiver Brady Boyd - Oklahoma State and Texas Tech
- Safety Darius Green - Indiana, Georgia Tech and Maryland
- Defensive tackle Luther McCoy - Baylor, Tennessee and Georgia Tech

The fights that the Minnesota coaching staff would have to take; they've already won.
WHERE DOES MINNESOTA CURRENTLY SIT IN THE 247SPORTS TEAM RECRUITING RANKINGS?
Minnesota currently has the #29 rated class overall, and a top-30 class would be the first for Minnesota in the 247Sports/247SportsComposite era. A step in the right direction. We also should look at where the Gophers rank in the Big Ten West recruiting ranks, which we at 247Sports currently have them third, but here's a deeper look.

- Wisconsin
Class score: 243.47
Average ranking per recruit: 89.24
- Iowa
Class score: 230.53
Average ranking per recruit: 88.89
- Minnesota
Class score: 210.64
Average ranking per recruit: 87.83

Iowa and Wisconsin are traditionally the two teams as the top of the division and it's been that way for largely a decade. They're both now reaping the benefits of consistent winning as the two schools are on track to set their best recruiting classes of the internet era, just as Minnesota is.

- Minnesota's on track to have their best star ranking per recruit average with "87.83" of the 247Sports era.
81COMMENTS
- Minnesota also signed six 247 four-stars, which is the most of the Internet era for a Gopher Football team.

I saw this list from ESPN's Bill Connelly, and I believe it's spot on as far as what the three most-important areas in college football are:
1) Talent Acquisition - Recruiting
2) Talent Development - Develop the talent
3) Talent Deployment - Put them in a position to be successful


For Minnesota specifically here. PJ Fleck and his staff have elevated their recruiting from a tier (or two) below the Wisconsin's and the Iowa's, to now they're knocking on that door. All three schools are going to likely sign their best recruiting classes in the 247Sports era. But for Minnesota in this 2021 class, that's a check mark in the most important box of just getting the talent signed and on campus. Now for Fleck and staff, the challenge is going to be continuing to "change their best". If you want to win the Big Ten West, you have to continue to out-recruit the class you just signed. And for this 2021 recruiting classes' purpose they did, but now they got to do it again in 2022, especially with Iowa and Wisconsin recruiting better than they ever have.
So for PJ Fleck and staff, it's time to prove again that once the talent is here, you can turn that into all-Big Ten players and NFL draft picks, which coincidentally coincides with wins on the field. That's how you get to 10 wins for the first time in 114 years like they did in 2019, and those 11 wins last year helped immensely produce this 2021 class.

I'm sure you're tired of scrolling, so here's where I'll end it. The Gopher Football 2021 recruiting class was damn good.
Athan Kaliakmanis, Steven Ortiz and Mar'Keise Irving all rank in the top-25 commits/signees for Minnesota all-time in the Internet era (via the 247Composite). If you add in Deven Eastern and Cameron James, that's five 2021 recruits in the top-5o Internet era for Minnesota.
If you add in Austin Booker, Jameson Geers, Lemeke Brockington, Jacob Schuster and Devon Williams, that's 10 2021 commits that rank in the top-75 for Minnesota signees in the Internet Era.
That's a step in the right direction for the Gopher Football staff.
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More good NSD day stuff by Ryan Burns...

What Minnesota fans should know about 2021 National Signing Day
Gopher Illustrated, Ryan Burns, Feb. 3rd, 2021


Get ready, MINNESOTA GOPHER FOOTBALL RECRUITING FOLLOWERS: The Early Signing Period will change the process as we know it. Beginning Dec. 16, through Dec. 18, high school and junior college prospects can put pen to paper and sign their National Letter of Intent — a rite of passage usually reserved for the first Wednesday of every February.

There’ll still be a traditional National Signing Day on Feb. 3 in 2021, but we expect that after the pre-Christmas, three-day marathon, most programs will have the vast majority of their classes locked in. With so many prospects choosing to enroll early now to get a jump on the competition, we’re already starting to see many uncommitted blue-chippers announce decision dates in that Dec. 16-18 span.

Here’s what Gopher Football fans should know about the Minnesota 2021 recruiting class with the February National Signing Day here.


HOW MANY COMMITS DOES MINNESOTA HAVE AND HOW MANY ARE DESIGNATED AS EARLY-SIGNEES?
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(Photo: Jeremy Enlow - JeremyEnlow.com)
Minnesota currently has 18 commitments with National Signing Day tomorrow, and 17 of them have already signed. Plus you've got to add in that Minnesota's got five scholarship transfers signees as well. When you look at early enrollees specifically, the Gophers have 12 enrollees that have been taking classes since January that'll be participating in spring ball.
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- Wide Receiver Lemeke Brockington
Here's 247Sports analyst Allen Trieu had to say about Brockington's film.
"Brockington does a lot of good things on tape. He shows good strength both after the catch in fending off tacklers and in going up to challenge for the ball. He catches the ball well away from his body and coming out of his breaks. His change of direction is good and he shows elusiveness after the catch. He plays faster than his track times might suggest. He is a guy we would have loved to have gotten a time on at an Opening Regional. As it stands though, he is a guy who shows he can run a go route and take the top off a defense but can also catch a short pass and get YAC.Minnesota continues to do a really good job of identifying receivers with athletic traits. Brockington is a playmaker who has played outside and in the slot in high school and I think can similarly do either in college.
Brockington ended his senior season with 23 catches for 527 yards (22.9 yards per reception) and six touchdowns. Brockington was also named the athlete of the year for Georgia's Region 1-7A.
- Wide Receiver Brady Boyd
Here's what 247Sports analyst Steve Wiltfong had to say about Boyd's tape.
"Boyd certainly carved up defenses as a junior, using his verified 4.44 speed in the 40-yard dash (from The Opening camp circuit prior to his junior year) to blow by or break away from defenders to the tune of 66 receptions for 969 yards and eight touchdowns in helping lead his team to a 13-1 record and a deep run in the Lone Star State playoffs. He did his best work on the biggest stages, catching nine balls for 169 yards and a touchdown against Midland Lee and then 11 receptions for 123 yards and a score against a loaded Duncanville squad in the final two times he suited up on the campaign.
For Boyd it starts with his foundation which is really good. He’s a smooth route runner that can setup defensive backs and separate. I like his body control and his hands are reliable too. Obviously he has the speed to take the top off and once he gets stronger he’ll have the whole bag to his game as far as taking on press corners on the perimeter.
Boyd chose the Gophers over an offer list that included Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Utah. I believe we’ll ultimately see him atop the Big Ten standings for receptions and yards in a season. Minnesota’s talented receiver room is going to turn over pretty quick and Boyd should already be pegged as one of the next men up."
In his 26 career games at Southlake Carroll High School, Boyd has 111 catches for nearly 2,000 yards and is averaging 17.4 yards per reception with 21 touchdowns.
- Wide receiver Dylan McGill
Another wide receiver that will be enrolling early is Texas athlete Dylan McGill. The Mesquite native is actually a "maroon" shirt from the 2020 class, but he'll finally be signing and enrolling here in January. Minnesota saw McGill at a satellite camp back in the summer of 2019 and offered him shortly after, which resulted in a quick commitment. McGill didn't sign with the Gophers last February as there were some academic issues that had to be resolved. They've since been addressee and McGill will finally put the pen to the paper on Wednesday and arrive on campus in a few weeks.
McGill also camped with Minnesota in the summer of 2019 and here's what I said back after seeing him live.
"McGill is a high school quarterback for his team down in Texas, but you really wouldn't know it with the way he was running routes today. Sure, he's a little raw in spots, but the athletic ability and ball skills that McGill showed today were impressive. His ball tracking was very good, hauling in a couple of long balls over the shoulder, plus he's got strong hands to grip the ball through contact. The more time that McGill spends with Matt Simon, the quicker the transition will go, but the athletic ability is there at six-foot-two."
- Texas A&M WR transfer Dylan Wright
When Wright arrived at Texas A&M, he was behind a crowded depth chart filled with upperclassmen. Because of that, he only saw action in four games in 2019 and did not have a reception. Heading into his redshirt freshman season this past year, fans had high hopes for Wright, especially with the fact that the team did not return any experience at the receiver spot. However, he still was not able to see the field much. Wright played in four contests this year, all on special teams. He put his name into the NCAA transfer portal a couple of weeks ago, and Minnesota went to work then.
Wright will arrive at Minnesota in January, and if/when the NCAA passes their one-time transfer waiver in a few weeks, he'll be immediately eligible. Wright will have four years to play four because of no one losing a year of eligibility in 2020. The former West Mesquite standout's composite rank of .9678 coming out of high school would rank him as the second highest rated recruit to EVER sign with the Gophers, behind only Jeff Jones.

Here's the scouting report from former 247Sports' Director of Recruiting in Barton Simmons' on Wright coming out of high school.
"A grown man physically with long arms, powerful legs and an imposing high cut body. Springy athlete with great bounce, quick-jump ability and a graceful stride. Hands catcher that plucks the football away from his body. Can make contested catches with defenders draped on him. Excels in jump ball and 50-50 situations. Willing and effective blocker on the perimeter. Long strider that isn’t a short-area athlete. Can run into problems against press coverage. Productivity in Texas doesn’t match some of his peers. Impact Power Five starter in the right offense that has first round NFL Draft upside with development but projects more likely as a third-round type of talent."
- Utah State OL transfer Karter Shaw
After redshirting in 2018, Shaw started the past two seasons and has three years of eligibility remaining. The Minnesota connection here is from the Gophers offensive coordinator in Mike Sanford. Sanford was the offensive coordinator for Utah State in 2019 where Shaw started for him at right guard, so the Gophers are very familiar with what he can do.
The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Shaw has played in 23 games in his collegiate career, including starting the last 19 games for Utah State as an underclassmen at guard. Minnesota taking a transfer offensive lineman with three years of eligibility makes a lot of sense if you look at the 2022 season. They'll lose starting offensive linemen Sam Schlueter and Conner Olson to graduation, plus I don't think it's a guarantee that starters Blaise Andries, John Michael Schmitz and Axel Ruschmeyer come back for their sixth year in 2022. There's a real possibility that Minnesota loses all of their starting interior offensive lineman in 2022, and that's where this Shaw addition makes a ton of sense.

Here's what Shaw said about why he chose Minnesota.
"In the end I just felt like Minnesota was a better fit for me, and my future," Shaw explained to GopherIllustrated. "Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford and offensive line coach Brian Callahan have told me that I'll be working to compete for a spot this year, but there are a lot of returners this year. But if I'm one of the best five guys I will play and that's always the mentality I'm going to go into it with. But if I don't start this year, I will be able to rotate in, continue getting better and stronger so I will be able to start the following two years.
Both coaches also told me that long term, they see me more at center, but with the ability to play guard if that's where I'm needed. Callahan and Sanford said I have a lot of experience, so I can come in and help right away. My best attribute is my mind for the game, and especially having worked with coach Sanford previously he knows who I am as a player, and I fit his scheme very well. My family is really excited for the opportunity, especially being able to go to such a great place like Minnesota. They are already looking for flights to some of the games next year. My current plan is to get my major in communications, and minor in business management while at Minnesota. I'd say my biggest strengths as an offensive lineman are definitely my knowledge for the game, I am a smart player, But technique wise I have really good feet. I'll be moving into Minnesota tomorrow and starting classes on Tuesday, so I'm excited to be a Gopher!"
- Clemson DT transfer Nyles Pinckney
Pinckney, who redshirted the 2016 season before playing the 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons, graduated in May. He'll have one year to play one season for Minnesota in 2021 and will be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer. This news of Pinckney's departure from Clemson wasn't surprising after he elected to be honored as a senior this year on Senior Day.
The former four-star recruit hails from Beaufort, S.C. and was a member of Clemson's 2016 signing class. Prior to the Ohio State game in the Sugar Bowl, Pinckney played 231 snaps in 11 games this year. He registered 22 tackles. Pinckney entered 2020 having recorded 71 tackles (10.5 for loss), 2.0 sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in 857 snaps over 43 career games (13 starts).

The 6-1 and 300 lb defensive tackle played in 55 games and registered over 1,100 snaps for the Clemson Tigers over the last four years. He ends his time with Clemson with 81 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Pinckney was named third-team All-ACC in 2019 and invited the the East-West Shrine Bowl following his 2020 campaign, but wants one more years to boost his stock before heading off to the NFL and he'll be doing that at Minnesota. Pinckney was also a captain for Clemson in their most recent game against Ohio State.
Minnesota defensive tackle rotation for 2021 is going to loaded with experience and upperclassmen.
- Nyles Pinckney (55 career games and 1,166 total snaps)
- Val Martin (fifth-year senior with 500+ total snaps)
- Micah Dew-Treadway (seventh (!!) year senior with 900+ total snaps)
- Keonte Schad (fifth-year senior with 300+ total snaps)
Plus, Rashad Cheney and De'Angelo Carter will still only be redshirt freshmen for 2021 . All four players mentioned above will be gone for 2022, so while I expect all six guys to rotate in some capacity, it allows Cheney and Carter one more off-season before becoming the full-time guys in 2022. Minnesota also had upperclassmean Noah Hickcox transfer out, and with Jamaal Teague also opting out for 2019, there's no word if he'll return as well, so taking Pinckney makes a lot of sense.
This also allows freshmen defensive linemen MJ Anderson, Logan Richter, Deven Eastern, Gage Keys, Jacob Schuster and Luther McCoy to mature in the weight room before being asked to really contribute in 2022.
- NC State DT transfer Val Martin
NC State senior defensive tackle Val Martin entered the NCAA Transfer Portal two weeks ago with a year of eligibility left to play at his new school, and he's decided on a new destination in the Big Ten with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Martin will be on scholarship at Minnesota in 2021 and will enroll with the Gophers in January.
In three seasons with the Wolfpack, Martin recorded 29 total tackles, seven of which were solo and one forced fumble. This season, Martin had 12 total tackles, three of which were solo. Martin was a three-star prospect coming out of Iowa Western Community College in the 2018 recruiting class. In addition to NC State, his one season in junior college earned Martin scholarship offers from Power Five schools in Washington State and West Virginia.
- Defensive lineman Deven Eastern
One of Minnesota's earliest commitments came from Shakopee defensive lineman Deven Eastern who committed to the Gophers shortly after National Signing Day last year. Eastern is without question one of the highest ceiling players in the Gophers 2021 class as he's already 6-6 and 280 lbs.
Midwest 247Sports analyst Allen Trieu had this to say about Eastern's abilities and why 247 recently bumped him into the top247 rankings.
"Eastern has great size at 6-foot-6, 280 pounds and the film from this season shows that he can still move at that size, 15 pounds heavier than on his junior tape. Eastern gets off the football well for a player of that size and shows he can pursue and run down plays that go away from him. With big guys, flexibility and bend is important and can get pad level at his height.
His schedule allows us to see him against some good teams and teams with big offensive lines. Watching him against some of the better teams on that schedule gave us further confidence in that move. We have him as a strongside defensive end, but he can also play the three-tech. It will be interesting to see the different places he lines up because he looks big and versatile enough to move around."
- Graduate transfer linebacker Jack Gibbens
It's been a whirlwind recruiting ride between Minnesota and Abilene Christian linebacker Jack Gibbens. The former FCS linebacker put his name into the NCAA transfer portal in late November after ending his four year career with 258 career tackles, including 22 for loss. The Gophers moved quickly after discovering Gibbens and that resulted in a scholarship commitment for 2021 within 48 hours of their first conversation.
This is what Gibbens told me about how that recruitment went with Minnesota.
"It definitely moved fast and was pretty crazy, but that's kind of the nature of the situation I was in having to make a decision quickly. I first talked to defensive coordinator Joe Rossi, but it was head coach PJ Fleck who offered me. It was just a great fit for them and me, as far as what they do defensively and the culture they have there. I played in a similar scheme at Abilene Christian and think I fit what they are all about from a culture perspective. Minnesota was the right opportunity and fit that I was looking for when I entered the portal. There was really no reason to wait because this is what I was looking for."
- Linebacker Devon Williams
This is what PJ Fleck had to say about Williams on December's National Signing Day.
"Devon Williams from Dublin Coffman High School in Ohio where his Mom and Dad are Jessica and G. He's a mid-year linebacker, which was going to be a focus for us. We needed to be able to get more depth at linebacker, and not only get more depth, we had to be able to be able to continue to create that competition as we continue to bring more players in. He flipped from an SEC school and he's never visited. I give all these kids a lot of credit and all these young people a lot of credit for never visiting and still committed to a place that you haven't seen.
Think about how hard that is, and then we still signed the historic class we did with a lower number than most years. That tells you how wonderful the class this is again, but Devon is the sixth highest ranked linebacker to ever sign here."

Midwest 247Sports analyst Allen Trieu had this to say about Williams.
"Average height and weight for the position. Not a guy who wows with the eye-test, but does stand out on tape. Makes plays in every phase of the game. Can rush off the edge with his quickness. Is not the biggest guy, but plays physically. Will take on blocks and runs through contact as a tackler. Very comfortable in coverage and has good hands and ball skills. Also does very well on special teams. Fluid athlete with a head for the game. Size wise and style wise he likely projects as a college WILL. Ability to be an every down game has him comfortably projected as a difference maker at the Power 5 level."
- Cornerback Justin Walley
The last early enrollee is also one of the most talented in Mississippi corner Justin Walley. Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State (where his brother goes) have been trying to secure his commitment since the spring, but Walley committed to the Golden Gophers over the summer and he's on track to stick with that commitment and make it official Wednesday.
Here's what 247Sports analyst Allen Trieu wrote after watching his film.
"The analytics on Walley are good. He is a track guy whose times as a 10th grader (11.55 100-meter) were not blazing but not bad. It is unfortunate we did not get to see what he would have run this spring. I see him listed at 4.54 in the forty in places, but that is not a verified time. He has been a productive player on both defense and special teams, where he has a penchant for blocking kicks. He blocked a field goal and two punts as a junior, and had seven offensive touchdowns and averaged over 13 yards a carry, and did well as a return man in addition to what he did defensively, which was good enough to earn him District Defensive Player of the Year honors.
In short, he makes a lot of plays. He shows twitch and ball skills and the clips of him doing 1-1s above show his abilities in man to man a little more and how he can match-up on bigger receivers. He is physical both as a runner and in coverage. To add to it, he is a 3.2 student and comes from an athletic family with older brother Jaden at Mississippi State. He is a player who has done well in every phase of the game and there is a lot to like about this pick-up for the Gophers, and that is without considering they went into Mississippi and got a kid it sounds like both in-state schools wanted."
Walley was named Mr. Football in Mississippi for 6A (highest class) football as a senior as he did it all for his high school. On offense, he totaled 1,005 rushing yards with 19 rushing scores on nearly 9.5 yards per carry. On defense, he totaled 55 tackles with five passes defended and two interceptions.
- PWO punter transfer from Louisiana-Monroe in Daniel Sparks
After the Gophers finished dead-last in the Big Ten in yards per punt for the second straight season, it's easy to see why head coach PJ Fleck would want to add in more competition to the specialist room. And Minnesota earned a preferred walk-on commitment Louisiana-Monroe transfer punter Daniel Sparks, who just announced for Minnesota. The true freshman punter in 2020 finished second in the Sun Belt in yards per punt at 44.6 yards, including six punts of 50+ yards. Reminder that Minnesota last season averaged 36.2 yards per punt and had zero punts over 50 yards.
Here's what Sparks had to say about why Minnesota is the place he wants to continue his career as a student-athlete.
"Special Teams coordinator Rob Wenger first texted me on December 30th and he told me he wanted to bring in a guy to compete and get better everyday," Sparks said to 247Sports. "Coach Wenger just told me that he believes I have a lot of potential and that he knows I had a few ups and downs of my freshman season and he loves how I dug in and bounced back. So that's when they offered me a preferred walk-on opportunity there, and I took it."
WHO CAN PROVIDE THE BIGGEST INSTANT IMPACT FOR MINNESOTA IN 2020?
The three positions that stand out to me for 2021 considering the majority of the team is expected to return as 2020 didn't count against a year of eligibility are wide receiver, linebacker and cornerback where someone from this class could come in and help immediately. But off the bat, we have to start with the transfers.

Dylan Wright's arrival puts him as the tallest and longest wide receiver in that room, but can Simon refine his game enough to where he's helping this team immediately in 2021? Karter Shaw's arrival, plus getting Faalele and Dunlap back has Minnesota's offensive line as talented and as deep as I've seen in my decade covering this team. Pinckney and Martin will provide immediate depth and potential starting ability. They'll make sure that Minnesota's DT room will have competition every day and folks shouldn't get tired. Gibbens will be able to challenge for time immediately at linebacker where Sori-Marin and other linebackers need to be challenged every day, and Sparks should help make sure that the punting game isn't mediocre for a third straight season.

From the high school side of things, Minnesota has four wide receiver commits in Georgia's Lemeke Brockington (his highlights are above), Texas' Brady Boyd and Dylan McGill plus Illinois' Dino Kaliakmanis. With no Rashod Bateman for 2021 and seemingly only Chris Autman-Bell as the lone receiver you can write in with pen for Minnesota's 2021 wide receiver rotation, there's going to be plenty of opportunity there. Also remember that Brockington, Boyd and McGill will be early enrollee's so they'll be here in January for winter workouts and then spring ball.
I'm the most bullish on Lemeke Brockington and Brady Boyd from the four to make an immediate impact. Both have the speed to take the top of the defense early in their career and considering Bateman was really good at that, I wouldn't be surprised to see either make waves sooner than later.

If you're reading this, you likely know that Minnesota has struggled at linebacker this fall without Kamal Martin and Thomas Barber. The football staff is also well-aware of that fact and Joe Rossi is addressing it here in the short-term by taking a transfer linebacker with a lot of experience in Abilene Christian's Jack Gibbens. Because I've received this question plenty from the fine folks on GopherIllustrated, Abilene Christian is NOT a Junior College. It's an FCS level University down in Texas. FCS Football or D1-AA, aka what North Dakota State wins every year.
Gibbens will be here in January and he's expected to provide much needed competition for linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin at the Mike linebacker spot. He's got over 200 collegiate tackles and he's played a lot of football, but he's a physical linebacker in the box that has shown that he can shed blocks. That's what Minnesota needs. Plus, the Gophers will get back linebacker Braelen Oliver for spring ball and after playing in 2019 and missing this 2020 season with an ACL tear. Expectations are high for Oliver in 2021 at the Will linebacker spot.

I would also say cornerback because we'll see how many of Minnesota's elder corners come back for another year as Coney Durr, Phillip Howard and Justus Harris are all seniors and Benjamin St-Juste is also getting up there in years of experience and has a degree already. Either in 2021 or 2022, Minnesota's corner room is going to experience a significant amount of change, but luckily for the Gophers, they've addressed it in this class.
You have four-star corner Steven Ortiz who turned down the entire PAC-12 and some Big Ten and ACC schools. He's expected to compete early on at the nickel corner spot. Plus you have Mississippi's Justin Walley who is likely going to be the most "raw" technique wise of the three, but he's got a high ceiling if things develop.
Both guys are going to need to be ready to play as early as 10 months from now.
TRENDING MINNESOTA'S ROSTER CONSTRUCTION
In this section, our GopherIllustrated team is taking a look at a number of metrics and key indicators that highlight the best back-to-back-to-back recruiting efforts in the internet recruiting era (2000 on).
Top 35 Class
Coach Fleck and the Gophers currently head into the second National Signing Day (NSD) with the No. 35 ranked class in the country according to 247Sports Composite --and No. 29 via 247Sports own rating metric.
The first four full classes to-date under Coach Fleck and his staff are now statistically back-to-back-to-back-to-back the strongest for the University of Minnesota in the internet recruiting era, and depending which metric, position grouping or overall team score you utilize, it’s either No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 position class at Minnesota in the last decade.
The below boxplot is a comparison for more detail and visualization by class over the last ten years, shortly after 247Sports entered the recruiting world.
The center box represents the mid-50th %ile of the Gophers class, while the top line of the box is your top 75th %ile and the bottom line of the box is the 25th %ile. The lines extending above and below are to call out the class outliers for each class cycle. Lastly, the red lines represent the class score from 247Sports Class Calculator tool.
Of course we all see the higher rankings and the overall higher Composite score; but an analysis of this nature helps visualize and highlight keys where the roster is improving through recruiting.
An area of focus for example is improving the immediate depth. I’d highlight that the bottom 25th %ile, or the floor of each class, which has risen significantly in the last three cycles.
This bottom 25th %ile for the last three classes is generally the ceiling, or the 75%ile, in every previous class since 2010.
The 2021 classes base is the ceiling in most previous classes at Minnesota. The 25th %ile in 2021 is above the 75th %ile in every class previous to 2018 respectively.

10237723.jpg
(Photo: 247Sports)OFFENSIVE POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN
Extending the analysis to the positional level, let’s break down where the staff is finding the most success this cycle starting on the offensive side of the ball using our favorite heat grid tool (red highs, blue lows). Again, we’re using 2010 as the starting point, which is when 247Sports entered the recruiting industry.
Coach Fleck and the Minnesota staff hit new highs with this class offensively, hitting player/positional highs over the last decade at QB, TE and OL, as well as the overall Offense avg high. The 2018, 2019 and 2020 classes overall are close second, third and fourth to the 2021 offensive class.
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Below are a couple additional call-outs regarding this 2021 offensive class.
- Athan Kaliakmanis ranks as the top-quarterback that Minnesota has signed in the 247Sports era. He ranks fourth all-time in the Internet era behind guys like MarQueis Gray and Moses Alipate in the 247Composite for quarterbacks.
- Bucky Irving ranks as the second-highest running back commit for Minnesota in the Internet era. 2020 running back signee Ky Thomas ranks third all-time and only Washburn legend Jeff Jones ranks above them.
- Minnesota's wide receiver class of Lemeke Brockington, Brady Boyd, Dylan McGill and Dino Kaliakmanis ranks third in the 247Sports era for the highest average at .8606.
- Jameson Geers ranks as Minnesota's top-rated tight end in the last decade and he ranks second all-time in the Internet Era behind Ra'Shede Hageman who was ranked as a tight end, but later changed to defensive tackle before becoming a second-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons.
- Minnesota's offensive line class of Cameron James, Logan Purcell and Saia Mapakaitolo ranks first in per recruit average in the 247Sports era just ahead of the 2019 class.
- Overall, this recruiting class on offense ranks as the top-rated offensive class per recruit for Minnesota in the 247Sports era.
10237740.jpg
(Photo: 247Sports)DEFENSIVE POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN
On defense, Coach Fleck and the staff changed their best as they followed up last cycle’s second-highest defensive high by beating out the 2019 recruiting class with Minnesota's best defensive class in the 247Sports era.
Defensive line was an area the staff hit big home runs in, landing the deepest class (strongest overall via median) over the last decade.
- Shakopee's Deven Eastern ranks as second-highest defensive line commit for Minnesota all-time (behind only 2022 DL commit Trey Bixby). Jacob Schuster and Austin Booker rank 10th and 11th respectively and then Luther McCoy comes in at #24 all-time for defensive line recruits. Four in the top-25 is a great step forward in the trenches.
- Devon Williams ranks sixth all-time for Minnesota linebacker recruits with a .8709 composite rating.
The defensive backs are ranked as the best class that a Gopher Football team will have signed with an average rating of .8713.
- Steven Ortiz ranks as the fifth-highest rated defensive back in his own right to sign with the Gophers, with Justin Walley coming in at 11th and Darius Green in 17th. Four defensive backs who all rank in the top-20.
- Whether you look at median or average, this is the top-rated defensive class for Minnesota.
10237741.jpg
(Photo: 247Sports)
Overall, the No. 35 Composite ranking would be a new high in the last decade. The current rating of No. 29 via 247Sports own rating however ranks higher than that Composite mark, though we should note is technically the strongest class under the site’s own evaluation which didn’t exist pre-2010 (Composite has been set to look back via industry ratings).
The 87.83 average rating on 247Sports is the highest for a Minnesota class in the 247Sports era.
ADDITIONAL CLASS OF 2021 NOTE
- 88.9% of the current 18 2021 commits rate at or above the Gophers’ own 247Sports Composite five-year run rate. The 2018 class holds the current high of 92.0% of the class rating at or above the U’s own five-year run rate and 2019 hit a rate of 90.5%.
When Coach Fleck was hired in Jan. 2017, the rate of the class he took over was just 40% at the time. It’s important to note that as the roster continues to improve, the five-year run rate will increase (similar in nature to 247Sports Team Talent score) and this rate will be more and more of a challenge to hit, but it highlights the strong recruiting rate early for Coach Fleck and his staff.
It's also worth noting that the previous high (pre-Fleck) that Minnesota had hit for amount of class over the five-year run rate was 76.2%. Fleck and Co. have exceeded that mark with each of their first four full recruiting cycles.
This trending is shown in more detail in the below graph.
10237754.jpg
(Photo: 247Sports)
WHICH MINNESOTA COMMIT IS GOING TO BE THE HARDEST TO HOLD ON TO?
The one that was the toughest was their top-rated player in Omaha's Avante Dickerson, who the 247Crystal Ball has trending to Oregon after he visited there in January. I don't anticipate him signing with Minnesota.


This list would be longer, but most of the Gopher commits completely shut down their recruitment when they gave their verbal commitment, so here's little rundown of who the Gophers realistically beat out at the time when these recruits committed.
- Four-star quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis - Iowa, Tennessee and Purdue
- Four-star corner Steven Ortiz - Washington, Oregon and Penn State
- Four-star running back Bucky Irving - Michigan, TCU, Nebraska and Purdue
- Four-star defensive lineman Deven Eastern - Nebraska and Missouri
- Four-star defensive tackle Jacob Schuster - BYU, Stanford, Washington and Cal
- Four-star offensive tackle Cameron James - Indiana, Purdue, Kentucky and Michigan State
- Wide receiver Lemeke Brockington - Miami (Fla.), Tennessee and South Carolina
- Offensive lineman Saia Mapakaitolo - USC, UCLA and BYU
- Linebacker Devon Williams - Kentucky and West Virginia
- Defensive end Austin Booker - Iowa, Indiana, Notre Dame and Penn State
- Tight end Jameson Geers - Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois
- Corner Justin Walley - Ole Miss and Mississippi State
- Wide receiver Brady Boyd - Oklahoma State and Texas Tech
- Safety Darius Green - Indiana, Georgia Tech and Maryland
- Defensive tackle Luther McCoy - Baylor, Tennessee and Georgia Tech

The fights that the Minnesota coaching staff would have to take; they've already won.
WHERE DOES MINNESOTA CURRENTLY SIT IN THE 247SPORTS TEAM RECRUITING RANKINGS?
Minnesota currently has the #29 rated class overall, and a top-30 class would be the first for Minnesota in the 247Sports/247SportsComposite era. A step in the right direction. We also should look at where the Gophers rank in the Big Ten West recruiting ranks, which we at 247Sports currently have them third, but here's a deeper look.

- Wisconsin
Class score: 243.47
Average ranking per recruit: 89.24
- Iowa
Class score: 230.53
Average ranking per recruit: 88.89
- Minnesota
Class score: 210.64
Average ranking per recruit: 87.83

Iowa and Wisconsin are traditionally the two teams as the top of the division and it's been that way for largely a decade. They're both now reaping the benefits of consistent winning as the two schools are on track to set their best recruiting classes of the internet era, just as Minnesota is.

- Minnesota's on track to have their best star ranking per recruit average with "87.83" of the 247Sports era.
81COMMENTS
- Minnesota also signed six 247 four-stars, which is the most of the Internet era for a Gopher Football team.

I saw this list from ESPN's Bill Connelly, and I believe it's spot on as far as what the three most-important areas in college football are:
1) Talent Acquisition - Recruiting
2) Talent Development - Develop the talent
3) Talent Deployment - Put them in a position to be successful


For Minnesota specifically here. PJ Fleck and his staff have elevated their recruiting from a tier (or two) below the Wisconsin's and the Iowa's, to now they're knocking on that door. All three schools are going to likely sign their best recruiting classes in the 247Sports era. But for Minnesota in this 2021 class, that's a check mark in the most important box of just getting the talent signed and on campus. Now for Fleck and staff, the challenge is going to be continuing to "change their best". If you want to win the Big Ten West, you have to continue to out-recruit the class you just signed. And for this 2021 recruiting classes' purpose they did, but now they got to do it again in 2022, especially with Iowa and Wisconsin recruiting better than they ever have.
So for PJ Fleck and staff, it's time to prove again that once the talent is here, you can turn that into all-Big Ten players and NFL draft picks, which coincidentally coincides with wins on the field. That's how you get to 10 wins for the first time in 114 years like they did in 2019, and those 11 wins last year helped immensely produce this 2021 class.

I'm sure you're tired of scrolling, so here's where I'll end it. The Gopher Football 2021 recruiting class was damn good.
Athan Kaliakmanis, Steven Ortiz and Mar'Keise Irving all rank in the top-25 commits/signees for Minnesota all-time in the Internet era (via the 247Composite). If you add in Deven Eastern and Cameron James, that's five 2021 recruits in the top-5o Internet era for Minnesota.
If you add in Austin Booker, Jameson Geers, Lemeke Brockington, Jacob Schuster and Devon Williams, that's 10 2021 commits that rank in the top-75 for Minnesota signees in the Internet Era.
That's a step in the right direction for the Gopher Football staff.
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PMWinSTP

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NSD Article by Ryan Burns. From what he says, there a few signed players who he is very excited about and will surprise.

2021 Gopher Football National Signing Day Awards
Gopher Illustrated, Ryan Burns, Feb. 3rd, 2021

Minnesota currently has the #29 rated class overall, and a top-30 class would be the first for Minnesota in the 247Sports/247SportsComposite era. A step in the right direction. We also should look at where the Gophers rank in the Big Ten West recruiting ranks, which we at 247Sports currently have them third, but here's a deeper look.



- Wisconsin
Class score: 243.47

Average ranking per recruit: 89.24

- Iowa
Class score: 230.53

Average ranking per recruit: 88.89

- Minnesota
Class score: 210.64

Average ranking per recruit: 87.83



Iowa and Wisconsin are traditionally the two teams as the top of the division and it's been that way for largely a decade. They're both now reaping the benefits of consistent winning as the two schools are on track to set their best recruiting classes of the internet era, just as Minnesota is.



- Minnesota's on track to have their best star ranking per recruit average with "87.83" of the 247Sports era.

- Minnesota also signed six 247 four-stars, which is the most of the Internet era for a Gopher Football team.



I saw this list from ESPN's Bill Connelly, and I believe it's spot on as far as what the three most-important areas in college football are:

1) Talent Acquisition - Recruiting

2) Talent Development - Develop the talent

3) Talent Deployment - Put them in a position to be successful




For Minnesota specifically here. PJ Fleck and his staff have elevated their recruiting from a tier (or two) below the Wisconsin's and the Iowa's, to now they're knocking on that door. All three schools are going to likely sign their best recruiting classes in the 247Sports era. But for Minnesota in this 2021 class, that's a check mark in the most important box of just getting the talent signed and on campus. Now for Fleck and staff, the challenge is going to be continuing to "change their best". If you want to win the Big Ten West, you have to continue to out-recruit the class you just signed. And for this 2021 recruiting classes' purpose they did, but now they got to do it again in 2022, especially with Iowa and Wisconsin recruiting better than they ever have.

So for PJ Fleck and staff, it's time to prove again that once the talent is here, you can turn that into all-Big Ten players and NFL draft picks, which coincidentally coincides with wins on the field. That's how you get to 10 wins for the first time in 114 years like they did in 2019, and those 11 wins last year helped immensely produce this 2021 class.



I'm sure you're tired of scrolling, so here's where I'll end it. The Gopher Football 2021 recruiting class was damn good.

Athan Kaliakmanis, Steven Ortiz and Mar'Keise Irving all rank in the top-25 commits/signees for Minnesota all-time in the Internet era (via the 247Composite). If you add in Deven Eastern and Cameron James, that's six 2021 recruits in the top-5o Internet era for Minnesota.

If you add in Austin Booker, Jameson Geers, Lemeke Brockington, Jacob Schuster and Devon Williams, that's 11 2021 commits that rank in the top-75 for Minnesota signees in the Internet Era.

That's a step in the right direction for the Gopher Football staff.



Let's get into some awards for the 2021 class.

CLASS MVP
Ryan Burns says: CB Steven Ortiz
I'm going to interpret this "Class MVP" as the leader of the class and to me that's got to be Steven Ortiz. The run that Minnesota had in recruiting back in the spring was spearheaded by Ortiz jumping in early and then putting his recruiting hat on and going to work.
Ortiz and family should be very happy with the way things turned out.
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2020: Ky Thomas
2019: Tyler Nubin
2018: Zack Annexstad
2017: Blaise Andries
2016: Carter Coughlin

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Zach Johnson says: RB Mar'Keise Irving
Gopher fans know how much PJ Fleck loves to run the ball and Irving will give Fleck another weapon to utilize on the ground and to help burn clock. Irving is a talented back and, along with 2020 signee Ky Thomas, should give the Gophers a solid, if not spectacular ground game.
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Midwest 247 analyst Allen Trieu says: QB Athan Kaliakmanis
He was the first commit in the class and stayed with it even through offensive staff changes. He helped recruit players and even helped with keeping some in the class. Beyond that, he is a blue-chip with height, athleticism, arm talent and intangibles. From several angles, he is the MVP for me.
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2020: Ky Thomas
INSTANT IMPACT - OFFENSE
Ryan Burns says: WR Lemeke Brockington
I hate going on the same wave length as AZJ, but here we are. With Chris Autman-Bell really the only wide receiver written in pen for the 2021 wide receiver rotation, I think that Brockington has the best shot to crack that wide receiver rotation. He'll be an early enrollee and that can only help his case to try and earn playing time.
He's a big-play threat every time the ball is in his hands and that speed can take the top off the defense, something that Minnesota needs to replace with Rashod Bateman.
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2020: WR Douglas Emilien
2019: QB Jacob Clark
2018: WR Rashod Bateman
2017: WR Chris Autman-Bell
2016: OL Vincent Calhoun

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Zach Johnson says: WR Lemeke Brockington
There really isn’t a lot of options besides Irving and Brockington to consider for instant impact on offense. The Gophers should return Tanner Morgan and Mo Ibrahim and you never want an offensive lineman to be considered for this category. The Gophers will have Chris Autman-Bell has the primary pass catcher in 2021, but the rest of the wide receivers will be young and fighting for targets. If Brockington comes in ready to go he could give the Gophers instant impact and a big play target for Morgan.
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Allen Trieu says: WR Lemeke Brockington
Minnesota will lose some receivers and while there is young talent there, I think Brockington's speed and strength will allow him to compete early.
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2020: RB Ky Thomas
INSTANT IMPACT - DEFENSE
Ryan Burns says: LB Jack Gibbens
This is the biggest layup on the entire slate. Of course I'm going to choose the graduate transfer linebacker. There's a reason he's coming in and it's to play, and it's a position that needs all the experience they can get.
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2020: DB Jalen Glaze
2019: DT Keonte Schad
2018: DB Terell Smith
2017: DB Kendarian Handy-Holly
2016: DT Merrick Jackson

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Zach Johnson says: DL Deven Eastern and CB Steven Ortiz
I would normally encourage Fleck and defensive line coach Chad Wilt to redshirt all defensive lineman and allow them to develop physically before they stat to battle in the Big Ten trenches. Eastern is not your typical 18-year old defensive lineman. This kid is physically mature and looks as if he is ready to go. If he is as tough as he appears he should have no problem making an instant impact for the Gopher defense. Another guy I think comes in and makes a big impact, some may argue he has already made a massive impact on the program due to having his fingerprints all over the 2021class is Ortiz. I think Ortiz has the potential to come in and win the slot corner job as a true freshman. The four-star out of Arizona is skilled, tough as nails, and ultra-competitive.
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Allen Trieu says: DL Deven Eastern
There are probably other positions that have more availability, but Eastern is one of the more physically ready recruits in this class. With his size and athleticism, I would think he can give the Gophers some minutes.
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2020: LB Jaqwondis Burns
MOST LIKELY TO PROVE THE STAR SYSTEM WRONG
Ryan Burns says: DE Austin Booker
I really like Austin Booker long-term, and truthfully, I think his name should be mentioned in the same breath as someone who has the highest ceiling in this 2021 Minnesota class. We're higher than consensus (.8702 composite grade) with an 88 grade, but I don't think it accurately represents what his ceiling could be. There's a reason that defensive line factory schools like Iowa and Penn State were involved here and it's because the physical attributes are what Big Ten defensive lines look like.
He's all of 6-5 with outstanding length and can bend really well. If he progresses in Minnesota's weight program, he's going to be a force.
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2020: LB Cody Lindenberg
2019: RB Cam Wiley
2018: DB Benny Sapp III
2017: DB Justus Harris
2016: DB Kiondre Thomas

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Zach Johnson says: Safety Darius Green
To find Darius Green on the Gopher commitment list, you have to scroll down towards the bottom of the list. I don’t think you will have a hard time finding Green over the next four years at TCF Bank Stadium. I firmly believe Green will be a multi-year starter for the Golden Gophers and one of the best safeties in the Big Ten. Another great pick up out of Georgia for Fleck and staff.
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Allen Trieu says: OT Logan Purcell
We have him as an 89, just on the cusp of the four-star range but the lack of that last point makes me a little nervous. He is the type of guy that has been hard for us to scout in the past -- growing into his body, smaller school, and no camp exposure. We obviously have him well rated, but I think he could be really good.
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2020: OT Martes Lewis
HIGHEST CEILING
Ryan Burns says: QB Athan Kaliakmanis
I think some people forget about Athan because he's been committed for nearly two years, but there's a ceiling here at quarterback with the Illinois four-star that we haven't seen in some time. Athan hasn't played a lot of football since his sophomore year (injury shorten junior season and his fall senior season was cancelled), but he looks damn good when he's throwing the ball.
I saw him 14 months ago at a Gopher camp and came away very impressed. Whenever Tanner Morgan leaves, I expect Kaliakmanis to be a serious thought.
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2020: DL Jah Joyner
2019: WR Nnamdi Adim-Madumere
2018: OL Curtis Dunlap Jr.
2017: WR Demetrius Douglas
2016: LB Carter Coughlin

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Zach Johnson says: QB Athan Kaliakmanis
I know everyone’s favorite Gopher quarterback is the most recent to sign, so Kaliakmanis has that going for him, but if he is able to win the quarterback job in 2022 as a redshirt freshman he could have a big time career at the University of Minnesota. That is a big “IF” as there will be several quality quarterbacks competing to win the job once Tanner Morgan leaves and the role of QB1 is open. It may be the most competitive quarterback competition in modern Golden Gopher history.

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Allen Trieu says: OT Cameron James
If everyone in this class got to their highest potential, I think James or Athan would come off the board first in a draft. 6-foot-8, 315 pounds and can run the way I've seen James run is rare.
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2020: LB Lucas Finnessy
BIGGEST STEAL
Ryan Burns says: DT Jacob Schuster
I'll let AZJ take Walley as he's the other answer I'd have here, but it's wild to me still that Minnesota was able to land a four-star defensive tackle from the state of Washington that the entire PAC-12 wanted. He could have gone to a lot of different power-five institutions closer to home, but Chad Wilt and PJ Fleck deserve a lot of credit here for getting this disruptive defensive tackle to head east.
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2020: DB Michael Dixon
2019: OL Tyler Cooper
2018: LB Thomas Rush
2017: DE Boye Mafe
2016: DB Antoine Winfield

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Zach Johnson says: CB Justin Walley
I love younger brothers. They seem to always develop into better athletes than their bigger brother, after experiencing years of fighting for respect and trying to catch up physically. Justin Walley comes to Minnesota out of the talent rich state of Mississippi and I can easily see him developing into a NFL player.
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Allen Trieu says: Safety Darius Green
He has slid under the radar a little bit but I love the kid's physicality and speed. I would bet this kid ends up being a difference maker.
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2020: OL Aireontae Ersery
BIGGEST MISS
Ryan Burns says: Avante Dickerson
I mean, it is what it is at this point, but with St-Juste off to the NFL, Dickerson would have had a great chance to potentially play early.
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2020: DE Yahya Black
2019: OT Bryce Benhart
2018: DT Noah Shannon
2017: WR Jafar Armstrong
2016: DE Tralund Webber

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Zach Johnson says: OL Austin Barber, Joe Alt, Amari McNeill, Albert Reese, Dylan Rollins, and Andrew Leingang
Pick any two from the bunch. I have been critical of the limited number of offensive lineman the Gophers have signed over the past couple of classes, and this year is no different. T
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Allen Trieu says: Safety Benjamin Perry
Riley Mahlman and Joe Alt may seem like obvious picks, but Mahlman liked Wisconsin early and Alt is more of a miss for Iowa in my opinion. Perry had Minnesota in high regard and the Gophers were rolling in Illinois. Him choosing Louisville was a little bit surprising for those reasons. It was a position of need as well, one they ended up filling nicely with Green, but for a while, I thought Perry would be a Gopher.
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2020: OT Casey Collier
RECRUITER OF THE YEAR
Ryan Burns says: Safety coach Joe Harasymiak
After landing Ky Thomas, Aireontae Ersery and Daniel Jackson last year, the second-year coach at Minnesota changed his best and helped land Steven Ortiz (Arizona) and heat-seeking missile in Darius Green.
I'd love to add even more to Harasymiak's recruiting plate in 2022's class.
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2020: Safety coach Joe Harasymiak
2019: DL coach Marcus West
2018: DB coach Mo Linguist
2017: Head coach PJ Fleck
2016: LB coach Mike Sherels

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Zach Johnson says: DL coach Chad Wilt
Gopher defensive line coach Chad Wilt (Eastern, Schuster, Booker, McCoy, and Williams) gets my vote. It is extremely difficult to recruit quality defensive lineman and Wilt brought in a haul in 2021. I have already talked about Eastern, but landing Schuster out of Washington was very impressive and helped Wilt secure my vote.
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Allen Trieu says: DL coach Chad Wilt
I think he had a hard job with coming in later and then the pandemic happening two months later. Then he had some guys de-commit and had to fill spots late and he did that with two out of region guys who had never visited. He also got Austin Booker with him never visiting.
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2020: RB coach Kenni Burns
MR. GREEN ROOM (NEXT GOPHER IN THE NFL DRAFT DAY GREEN ROOM)
Ryan Burns says: DL Deven Eastern
Adding in some new categories this year, so you can't just chastise me on the misses over the years, and this one I think is thought provoking.
Deven Eastern has a very similar body type to what former Gopher DT Ra'Shede Hageman looked like in high school, and I believe many Gopher fans would be happy if his career followed that trajectory on the field. Eastern is already 6-6 and 275 lbs and he's still in high school.
He's going to enroll early and we'll see if he ends up as a defensive end or tackle, but he's exact what they look when they're in the green room.
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Zach Johnson says: OT Cameron James
The 247 4-star offensive tackle comes to the University of Minnesota with all the physical characteristics that offensive line coach Brian Callahan could ask for. Currently standing 6-8 and 280 pounds there is no worries about James adding weight to his frame to get north of 300 pounds. If James can also add strength, power and explosiveness James will no doubt be an NFL draft pick.
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BEST INTERNAL MATCH UP I WOULD LIKE TO SEE

10109542.jpeg


Ryan Burns says: DL Deven Eastern vs. OT Cameron James
The Big Ten West is won and lost in the trenches, and I'm all for seeing what Eastern (6-6, 275, on the left) vs. James (6-8, 280, in the middle) looks like with pads on. That's two enormous teenagers with a lot of athleticism that are going to matchup quite a bit over the next handful of years.
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Zach Johnson says: QB Athan Kaliakmanis vs. DB Darius Green
Will Kaliakmanis zero in on one receiver or will he be able to look off his primary target for a secondary option? Can Green come out of film study with reads and exploit them to make a key interception? Would love to see the future Golden Gopher signal caller square off with the future centerfielder.
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Allen Trieu says: DL Deven Eastern vs. OT Cameron James
That is a lot of size and skill in one place right there.
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The Need for Speed
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Ryan Burns says: Safety Darius Green
As a sophomore, the dude ran a 10.62 100m. That's FLYING. I'd love to see that getting down the field on kickoff early in his career and plastering a return man. I can't wait to hear about Darius vs. Dino vs. Brady Boyd and see who has the top speed.
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40COMMENTS
Zach Johnson says: WR Brady Boyd
I really like Boyd and what he could mean to the Gopher offense. The guy loves the game and came back to play this year after a tough injury sidelined him for several weeks. I also like Boyd due to his 4.4 speed, which will allow him to outrun Big Ten defensive backs and become a big time playmaker
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First to score a touchdown
Ryan Burns says: WR Lemeke Brockington
I'll also stick with Lemeke on offense though. I love his outlook in the short and long-term.
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Zach Johnson says: WR Dylan McGill
I am going to take a flyer and go with McGill. The Gophers have loved using Seth Green within The Green Line to punch in several short yardage touchdowns since Fleck has arrived on Campus. I could see McGill taking on that role and getting to the end zone faster than Irving.
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First to force a turnover
Ryan Burns says: DL Deven Eastern or CB Steven Ortiz
This is a great category because you can choose a lot of different guys here, and I'll not take a layup in Gibbens. I think Ortiz and Eastern are two of the guys I have pegged to earlier in their careers.
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Zach Johnson says: CB Steven Ortiz
As I stated earlier I can see Ortiz coming in right away and grabbing snaps at slot corner. Using his instincts I can see Ortiz stepping in front of a Miami RedHawk pass attempt for an interception.
The first paragraph with link and recruiting numbers look like they are from 2020?
 

MGGopher

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This list would be longer, but most of the Gopher commits completely shut down their recruitment when they gave their verbal commitment, so here's little rundown of who the Gophers realistically beat out at the time when these recruits committed.
- Four-star quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis - Iowa, Tennessee and Purdue
- Four-star corner Steven Ortiz - Washington, Oregon and Penn State
- Four-star running back Bucky Irving - Michigan, TCU, Nebraska and Purdue
- Four-star defensive lineman Deven Eastern - Nebraska and Missouri
- Four-star defensive tackle Jacob Schuster - BYU, Stanford, Washington and Cal
- Four-star offensive tackle Cameron James - Indiana, Purdue, Kentucky and Michigan State
- Wide receiver Lemeke Brockington - Miami (Fla.), Tennessee and South Carolina
- Offensive lineman Saia Mapakaitolo - USC, UCLA and BYU
- Linebacker Devon Williams - Kentucky and West Virginia
- Defensive end Austin Booker - Iowa, Indiana, Notre Dame and Penn State
- Tight end Jameson Geers - Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois
- Corner Justin Walley - Ole Miss and Mississippi State
- Wide receiver Brady Boyd - Oklahoma State and Texas Tech
- Safety Darius Green - Indiana, Georgia Tech and Maryland
- Defensive tackle Luther McCoy - Baylor, Tennessee and Georgia Tech

This right here is what has me excited, not only about this class but the last couple Fleck has brought in. Yes, the "rankings" have risen slower than some would like, but the staff is beating out many P5 schools for most recruits -- including some big-time blue bloods from time to time. There's not much MAC poaching going on here anymore.
 

MNVCGUY

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This right here is what has me excited, not only about this class but the last couple Fleck has brought in. Yes, the "rankings" have risen slower than some would like, but the staff is beating out many P5 schools for most recruits -- including some big-time blue bloods from time to time. There's not much MAC poaching going on here anymore.

The days of MAC poaching seem firmly in the past. To underscore just how far we have come in a few short years. Our lowest rated recruit in this class (Dylan McGill .8443) would have been a top 10 guy in every class I looked at from 2017 and back here. And in many of those years he would have been in the top 5 and been one of the guys we were most excited about.

There are those in here that can do it, but you have to work pretty hard to be disappointed in this class as a whole. Fleck has significantly upgraded the class of recruit that we are going after here. And I think we are still on the upswing as well in terms of recruiting and getting top level athletes that wouldn't have even given us the time of day in the past to seriously consider us as an option.
 

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This right here is what has me excited, not only about this class but the last couple Fleck has brought in. Yes, the "rankings" have risen slower than some would like, but the staff is beating out many P5 schools for most recruits -- including some big-time blue bloods from time to time. There's not much MAC poaching going on here anymore.
Fair post. Recruiting has definitely improved. It just hasn't improved as much as I expected based off everything Coyle and others said about how great of a recruiter PJ is.
 

hungan1

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The days of MAC poaching seem firmly in the past. To underscore just how far we have come in a few short years. Our lowest rated recruit in this class (Dylan McGill .8443) would have been a top 10 guy in every class I looked at from 2017 and back here. And in many of those years he would have been in the top 5 and been one of the guys we were most excited about.

There are those in here that can do it, but you have to work pretty hard to be disappointed in this class as a whole. Fleck has significantly upgraded the class of recruit that we are going after here. And I think we are still on the upswing as well in terms of recruiting and getting top level athletes that wouldn't have even given us the time of day in the past to seriously consider us as an option.

Gopher recruiting is a slow marinating process.

The ingredients are getting better each succeeding year.
 

BleedGopher

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So which FBS schools recruited the Land of Lincoln's Class of 2021 well?

Minnesota
- The Gophers and head coach PJ Fleck and staff continue to do work in Fleck's home state. Minnesota also has a staff with serious Land of Lincoln ties including OL coach Brian Callahan along with former Sacred Heart Griffin RB and Gophers running backs coach Kenni Burns. The Gophers have signed five from the State of Illinois including several impact names led by Antioch QB
Athan Kaliakmanis, his bother WR Dino Kaliakmanis along with Providence Catholic TE Jameson Geers, Hillcrest RB Mar'Kiese Irving and Simeon OT Cameron James.


Go Gophers!!
 

MaxyJR1

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Fair post. Recruiting has definitely improved. It just hasn't improved as much as I expected based off everything Coyle and others said about how great of a recruiter PJ is.
Not sure where you would expect it to be. If you take average recruit ranking it is a top 30 class. He took less than 20 kids. The class is within a 1/2 a point of the #19/#20 rated classes. If you look at the names of the schools that recruited better, there aren't any surprises. He's recruiting top 30 out of 65+ P5 teams. That is pretty good at MN.

He beat Oklahoma State, Baylor, Virginia Tech, Stanford, TCU, Kansas State, Iowa State, South Carolina, Arizona State and Arizona, and more.
 

Some guy

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I dislike this map. wisconsin shouldn't own Minnesota.
Nebraska shouldn’t own iowa
Minnesota shouldn’t own Illinois
Clemson shouldn’t own Tennessee
North Carolina shouldn’t own South Carolina
Alabama shouldn’t own Texas

But yeah I agree
 

MNVCGUY

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Fair post. Recruiting has definitely improved. It just hasn't improved as much as I expected based off everything Coyle and others said about how great of a recruiter PJ is.

Honest question for those unhappy with the 2021 class. Where should we be in terms of recruiting right now?

It has been clear to see the classes getting better each year based on the recruiting site rankings. And we just signed arguably the most talented class on paper ever at the U of M. So where should be we realistically be at this point in the Fleck tenure in your opinion?

Fleck's recruiting is light years beyond what other coaches have been able to do here and it only seems to be getting better. Those unhappy with the current results have their expectations set way too high. Obviously we all want to see this trajectory continue but this 2021 group was an awesome class by Minnesota standards and is hopefully a leaping off point for even bigger and better things over the next few years.
 

MaxyJR1

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Nebraska shouldn’t own iowa
Minnesota shouldn’t own Illinois
Clemson shouldn’t own Tennessee
North Carolina shouldn’t own South Carolina
Alabama shouldn’t own Texas

But yeah I agree
And by owning it means they got 1-2 kids from those states.
 

MNVCGUY

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And by owning it means they got 1-2 kids from those states.

Yeah that graphic looks cool but it is pretty worthless. I mean we apparently "own" Illinois by getting 3 of the top 15 kids in the State. There should be a higher threshold and a category for states where no one team seems to have a distinct advantage there.

I mean how does Nebraska own Iowa when they only landed the #1 and #7 guys in the State?
 

Some guy

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Yeah that graphic looks cool but it is pretty worthless. I mean we apparently "own" Illinois by getting 3 of the top 15 kids in the State. There should be a higher threshold and a category for states where no one team seems to have a distinct advantage there.

I mean how does Nebraska own Iowa when they only landed the #1 and #7 guys in the State?
Because they got the “most talent” in the state

I’m not sure it’s supposed to be super valuable. Just interesting and fun
 

hungan1

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The Gophers have undoubtedly improved incoming talent year after year under PJ Fleck. Ryan Burns' trendline analysis backs this up .

Many of these 2021 recruits shut down their recruiting early. So, I think that it is entirely possible that there are more than six 4-Stars that Ryan Burns have shown in 247Sports.

On the other hand, he Gophers have evaluated these players without the benefit of live evaluations. Maybe they have seen them in prior camps.

The future of Gopher Football looks good. The day of reckoning is coming in the B1G West when the Gophers are going to win a title.
 

tmvander

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Honest question for those unhappy with the 2021 class. Where should we be in terms of recruiting right now?

It has been clear to see the classes getting better each year based on the recruiting site rankings. And we just signed arguably the most talented class on paper ever at the U of M. So where should be we realistically be at this point in the Fleck tenure in your opinion?

Fleck's recruiting is light years beyond what other coaches have been able to do here and it only seems to be getting better. Those unhappy with the current results have their expectations set way too high. Obviously we all want to see this trajectory continue but this 2021 group was an awesome class by Minnesota standards and is hopefully a leaping off point for even bigger and better things over the next few years.
We should be #1 or we should fire our coach!!!
 
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