(*Editor's note...What the heck does "Commitment to Eight" mean? It is our new recurring title for recruit commitments referencing a commitment to work towards the Gopher's Eighth National Championship. A little bit tongue in cheek, but why not right? )
Minnesota picked up their second verbal for the class of 2017 with Robbinsdale Cooper offensive lineman Eric Abojei commiting on Sunday. Second verbal, second offensive lineman and second in-state product to give the Gophers a nice start to the Class of 2017.
Abojei's only other P5 offer was from Iowa State but the local 3-star had interest from Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. Abojei was excited to be a Gopher and this is nice that the staff has secured another local commitment early in the process.
"My parents are super happy about this decision and we're even talking about it again right now and how I made the right choice. What they like about Minnesota most is the support the players get and how they bond and connect so well. They also love how Minnesota is so strong in academics.
Also from Ryan Burns at GD, it sounds like Abojei will begin his career as a tackle rather than guard, which is where most recruiting services project him to be. He is a left tackle for Cooper, but I would assume that it is his 6'4"
height that projects him to best fit at guard at the next level.
"Coach Miller has told he wants to me to start at tackle because he loves my mean streak and tackle is a position where I'll be able to move guys and hit guys at the second level,"
(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables**
** The section title is a bit. It's an 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: 310 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: n/a
Big 4 Ratings:
At this point of the year we can lament how stars don't matter but then come February we (or others) lament about how the Gopher class ranks so poorly compared to its Big Ten piers. So do stars matter? Not really, but kind of.
Senior year highlights:
In Two Words - if you have to remember just two things about this player...
After looking down lists of offensive line recruits, Dom Alford comes to mind as a pretty good comparison. Initially I was going to go with Zach Epping, due to his meanness, I thought about Tommy Olson as well. But Alford and Abojei have very similar in size, athleticism and rawness as he comes to the program. Alford saw action at tackle before he settled in at guard for the Gophers, made 21 starts over his career and then bounced around professional football with a stint in Cleveland and the CFL a bit. I think you'll see similar movement of positions for Abojei until they find just the right fit for the young man.
Another athletic lineman added to this class and Abojei has a little nasty in him as well. I think that is the exact type of lineman you will continue to see recruited here. Athletic with a mean streak. Watching the film, he really does move well in space and I get his straightline speed is pretty good.
Technique and the more skill areas of the position are going to have be worked on. And his final position is yet to be determined. Position flexibility along the line is a good thing as well. Get this kid, with his size and athleticism, on campus and then the staff will figure out his best fit.
Impact on Other Prospects?
Still probably no significant impact on anyone. A couple more lineman are sure to be taken as part of this class. Remember last recruiting cycle we had quite a few lineman verbally committed and eventually lost a few to bring that number down to just two incoming freshmen. Expect at least a couple more in this class and with a little position flexibility with Abojei, this shouldn't preclude anyone from being brought in at tackle or guard. Plenty of room for Benilde St. Margaret's Eric Wilson to join the fold as a guard.