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Minnesota Football Recruiting: Bryce Witham Commits

After the best tight end in Gopher history declared for the NFL Draft as just a sophomore, Kill and company found themselves in need of an athletic h-back prospect with great receiving skills. Enter a Michigan recruit who burst on the scene with an incredible senior year.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Crootin' news breaking during the GLC Beer and Football event because of course it would.

Make no mistake: the staff is bringing Bryce in for his receiving and athletic ability

Grand Rapids (MI) West Catholic HS tight end Bryce Witham committed to Minnesota this evening, becoming the first tight end prospect in the class. Witham is a 3 star prospect according to 247Sports' Industry Composite, choosing Minnesota over listed offers from Toledo, Central Michigan, Southern Miss and Buffalo. Bryce is the 21st member of the 2015 class and second Michigan prospect of the cycle.

(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables**

** The section title is a bit. It's intentionally facetious comment on how recruiting sites (and even some college coaches) notoriously exaggerate traditional combine measures -- especially the 40. No offense is meant.

Height: 6'4"
Weight: 240 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: 4.7s


Senior Year:


Absurd Comparisons

Witham is a dude that's been compared on the Internets as similar in style to Maxx Williams, and any time you get the chance to mention a recruit in the same breath as the best Gopher tight end ever, oh hell yeah you make that absurd comparison. Actually, I think Bryce has more in common with former TE Eric Lair than Maxx, since Lair was a guy that had excellent straight-line speed for a TE but was more suited height-wise as an h-back.

Scheme Fit

It seems rather sudden, but the staff appears to have a veritable bounty of flex-TE/H-back types in Duke Anyanwu, Jerry Gibson and now Witham that can step in to fill the role of defensive coordinator life ruiner vacated by Maxx's ascension. Bryce can line up in the backfield, on the line or flexed out as a wideout, and his straight line release will cause issues for opposing linebackers and safeties. On the other hand, while Williams' best assets were incredible hand-eye coordination and catch radius, Witham is quicker and more fluid in the open field -- both of which may allow him to be a better route runner in college. Make no mistake: the staff is bringing Bryce in for his receiving and athletic ability versus his skills as a blocker. Witham looks more like a running back in the open field than a tight end, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Impact on Other Prospects?

Witham committing was a bit of a surprise not from his level of interest in the U but from a numbers game. As late as this past weekend, the prevailing recruitnik thought was the staff would grab 2 wide receivers and skip tight ends for the 2015 cycle. Prior to that, and the emergence of Still as a committable offer, Bryce was high on the list of most likely potential Gophers. Either something changed with other position groups, or the staff is realizing they have 7 scholarships to fill in a week and don't want to be left without a talented player regardless of position need.