*(*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? )
Gopher football got it's first out-of-state verbal this weekend and it came from Kyrei Fisher, an OLB from Union City High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fisher is coming from an Oklahoma football powerhouse as Union City HS has won 8 state titles in Oklahoma's largest class with 7 of those coming between 2002 and 2011. Last year, the Redskins (yup) made it to the state semi-finals before having their season ending.
Fisher is a very athletic linebacker who I expect will be a real playmaker at this level. His only other P5 offer currently was from Kansas with a handful of other mid-major offers and several other P5 schools showing interest in the early stages of the 2017 recruiting cycle. Fisher took an unofficial visit this weekend with family and pulled the trigger on the Gopher offer
Ryan Burns of GopherDigest ($).
"I knew in my heart that I was ready to commit as soon as the visit concluded on Saturday. The city of Minneapolis, the Gopher coaches, their academics and everything there was just top of the line, so I knew I wanted to be a Gopher."
Gopher Illustrated had this included in their commitment story.
Fisher said he was drawn to the Gopher's defensive scheme.
"There's a lot of blitzing and a coming off the edge and that's what I specialize in, coming off the edge and getting the quarterback. It's an overall good defense and I feel like I'm going to fit in perfectly."
(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' 2"
Weight: 220 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: 4.62
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.
Junior year highlights:
In Two Words - if you have to remember just two things about this player...
- Edge Rusher
I don't know, I'm trying to think of the last Gopher OLB who was this fast off the edge and could get to the QB. De'Vondre Campbell was very athletic but not a blitzer like Fisher appears to be. I'm thinking, but maybe we have the type of player here that we haven't had in recent memory. I guess Jonathan Celestin is the best comparison that I can come up with at the moment. Fisher is a little bigger at 230 lbs coming into the program but similar edge-rushing capabilities.
I laid it out a little above but that's how I see Fisher fitting in to the scheme. He looks to have the skillset to be a very good edge rusher from the linebacker level. I also thought his Hudl film showed him to be a good, wrap-up tackler with a few hard hits in there. How does he project at the Big Ten level? Why doesn't have have more P5 offers for a guy who has good size and speed? I am not an elite enough football mind to answer that. My guess is that as he camps in the summer his offer list will grow, but hopefully he is committed to the Gophers. I really like his speed and what it looks like he could bring to the defense in a couple years.
Overall I love his size, I love his speed and I love that he comes from a big-time football factory in a football state. Let's hope that OU or the Cowboys don't decide that they need to offer Fisher and keep him home.
Impact on Other Prospects?
Well, we are starting to amass a really nice corp of young linebackers. Carter Coughlin, Thomas Barber and Kamal Martin will be true freshmen this Fall. Then you have Jaylen Waters and Julian Huff as young backers as well.
Expect one or two more linebackers in this class. One will probably be a more traditional MLB and I expect that all linebackers in this class will be high school prospects. Still plenty of room to add more so this commitment should have little impact on recruiting.
But a great add as this year's first out-of-state verbal. Welcome to Gopher Nation Mr. Fisher.