STrib: Gophers recruits appreciate P.J. Fleck's approach amid pandemic, George Floyd's killing

BleedGopher

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per Megan:


Steven Ortiz Jr., sent a big paragraph to the Gophers’ 2021 recruiting class group chat after George Floyd’s killing in police custody.

“Love you guys all so much. I can’t wait to ride with you guys,” it read. “Don’t let this George Floyd incident reflect on you guys staying committed. Because it happens pretty much everywhere.”

Ortiz then shared an incident that happened in his native Arizona within days of Floyd’s May 25 death, a situation where a black DoorDash driver had a gun pulled on him while making a delivery. The other 15 members of the Gophers’ 2021 class — from Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Florida and Minnesota — could probably all share similar tragic, scary stories.

This class, though, seems to have already bonded together — with the Gophers and each other. And Floyd’s killing, along with the vast protesting and rioting that followed, hasn’t seem to have shaken their commitment.

Gophers coach P.J. Fleck has excelled at recruiting during the coronavirus pandemic despite a moratorium on in-person visits through Aug. 31. Eleven recruits have committed to the program since those restrictions started, the majority without ever visiting campus or the state, including Ortiz.

One, Indiana defensive end Austin Booker, even committed five days after Floyd’s death, during the unrest’s peak.

Fleck held off on a public statement for a week after Floyd died, instead taking that time to speak with all of his players, including the recruits. He also organized a group video chat with all the prospects and their parents.

“He was pretty much just telling us that … we’re safe and that our voices should be heard,” Ortiz said. “… He was just telling all of us, ‘Hey guys, I don’t want this to affect you guys coming here.’ ”


Go Gophers!!
 

Mulligan

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Nice to read this after some of the other stuff about football players and racism. It's a frick'n mine field out there now but am confident in PJ's ability to navigate through it.
 

MGGopher

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Steven Ortiz sounds like he's rowing hard! Man, that's great to hear. Keep it up, young man!
 

hungan1

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To most of the recruits and their families, PJ Fleck's actions speak louder than words.
 

Livingat45north

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Wasn't there some ridiculous thread a short while ago on who you'd want as your current head coach, PJ vs Ferentz?
 
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