The ink on the faxes from the 2016 Gopher Football recruiting class is barely dry (but smudged all over the place because it was a fax machine from 1992) and 2017 is in the early stages. But Rivals released their top 5 players in the state of Minnesota for the class of 2017. This class is not as deep as the 2016 class but landing these kids, keeping them from other programs and limiting the amount of spots that have to be filled by kids from other states is very important.
As of today (Leap Day!) the Gophers have only offered 2 of the names on the list below. As the staff continues to evaluate throughout the Spring and after camps in June, that number is certain to rise. Offers and potential commitments are not the point of today's post, the point is to get to know some of the top names in the state of Minnesota for the 2017 recruiting class.
Below is the Rivals top 5 Minnesota kids
- Blaise Andries - OT - Marshall - (offered by Gophers)
- Nico Bolden - S - Woodbury
- Eric Wilson - OL - Benilde-St. Margaret's
- Eric Abojei - OT - Robbinsdale Cooper - (offered by Gophers)
Ricky Floyd - RB - Benilde-St. Margaret's
A little about each of the local kids with a bonus name at the bottom.
Big, athletic, mobile and has a lot of very strong offers from major programs around the country. Andries is the cream of the Minnesota crop this year. Offers from Oregon, Oklahoma, Florida, Nebraska, Missouri, Northwestern, Vandy and a bunch of other P5 schools. Andries played with Drew Hmielweski last year and currently are teammates on the Marshal basketball team that is favored to win their section and make the state tournament. Andreis is a big get and would be a fantastic signature to have come NSD-2017.
Woodbury's Bolden has some lower-level offers with interest from Minnesota, Iowa State and Vanderbilt. I would expect P5 offers to come his way in the coming months, including one from Minnesota. With some added bulk he could end up back at OLB. Currently 6'4", 195 lbs.
A 3-star offensive lineman for Benilde. Wilson's only P5 offer is from Iowa State but he also has offers from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Penn, Brown and a few other smaller schools. That translates to having a pretty bright kid on our football radar. I love getting kids who also have Ivy League offers. Wilson spoke with Ryan Burns of GopherDigest.com and he said that no Gopher offer has come yet but Coach Claeys was traveling during Wilson's unofficial visit and all offers go through him. He's been invited to the Spring Game, I would expect an offer to come at that point for Wilson.
A Cooper product with great size at 6'5", 310. Abojei's only listed offer is from Minnesota but he also has interest from Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin. He was obviously teammates with incoming freshman, Phillip Howard and his brother is currently enrolled at the U. Recruitment for Abojei's services seems to be looking good for the Gophers at this point.
This is the interesting prospect on the list. A smallish running back with good speed who had 459 yards and 7 touchdowns last year...IN ONE GAME. Floyd plays for Benilde as well and had a very productive season. But the offers haven't really picked up for Floyd. He may need some rounds on the camp circuit this summer and another nice senior season to get his offer list to grow. But he will be an interesting prospect to watch.
Not on the local top 5 but Ryerse is a Minnesota kid with an offer. He is a kicker for Woodbury and has had an offer since last summer. He is also receiving interest from the likes of Alabama, Oregon, Stanford and Washington. So the kid has some talent.
These are the local kids being looked at most notably inside our borders. Would be nice for the Gophers to land all of the kids they desire from this list before moving on to the rest of the country. As we get deeper into recruiting we will provide names to keep an eye on in the 2017 recruiting cycle.