(*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? )
Last night the Gophers received their 6th verbal commitment for the 2017 Class and the 5th from an in-state prospect. Nathan Bursch is a tight end from Woodbury who earned himself a scholarship offer after a couple good camp performances and once offered he was very excited to pull the trigger.
SKI U 〽️AH pic.twitter.com/cnWNqbNUqT— Nathan Bursch (@termaNATEr15) June 20, 2016
Ryan Burns of GopherDigest ($) talked with one of Bursh's high school coaches who had a lot of very good things to say about the new Gopher commit. The kid is a hard worker and has some tenacity.
"Nate has incredible feet, long arms, and a really strong base. He has an innate ability to shoot his hands into the defenders chest plate and lock on. When he was a sophomore, we had to hold him back during practice. He was putting our senior linebackers on their back over and over again during practice. As a collective unit, they didn't really like him at first because he practiced so hard. After a while, they started to respect his effort and it really changed the culture of our team."
Much more in that article above that is a really good read.
GopherIllustrated article upon getting his offer last week.
"It means a lot," he told Gopher Illustrated. "I grew up a Gopher fan. I've watched them my whole life with my dad and almost every year we've made it to at least one game. Even in the Metrodome I remember going with family. The Big Ten in my opinion is the best conference in college football, and definitely the best conference to play in if you’re from the Midwest. They're very exciting to watch and it's crazy to think about the opportunity that I could do that and represent the state."
But the kid is excited to be a Gopher. That's a good thing because you want kids who want to be here.
I realized how much I love home and the people here, and how I want to play for them. There are so many connections here, even just in Woodbury. There’s no place I’d rather be than Minnesota.
(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables**
** The section title is intentionally facetious regarding how recruiting sites (and even some college coaches) notoriously exaggerate traditional combine measures -- especially the 40. No offense is meant.
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 235 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: unknown
Big 4 Ratings:
Junior year highlights:
In Two Words - if you have to remember just two things about this player...
Bursh played every down for Woodbury at DE and on offense played mostly TE but moved to LT when the team needed help at the position. I see him as more of a John Rabe than a Maxx Williams, but he is capable of being more effective in the passing game than Rabe who had 14 catches and 4 TDs as a senior. But in terms of strength and toughness and effectiveness in the running game, I think this is an apt comparison.
The trick with the comparisons is to try to remain at least a little bit realistic. Not every TE the Gophers sign is comparable to Williams and not becoming an early-round draft pick because athleticism and pass-catching ability as a TE isn't a bad thing. Bursch, I believe, is going to be a very good Gopher TE who helps in all phases.
The kid is very physical plays with some tenacity. You are going to get a kid who is athletic enough (not going to blow you away with athleticism) to get out in pass patterns and tough enough to be a very good blocking TE. This fits the scheme here where springing backs for nice gains is more of the priority over picking apart defenses through the air. Busch will be able to get his catches over the middle, but he will be a complete TE.
Impact on Other Prospects?
There will be another TE taken in this class. If you look at the scholarship grid, there are 3 junior TEs on the roster so adding a couple in this class is going to be important. Adding three might be a bit much, but 2 is almost a guarantee.
2017 Recruiting Map