(*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 commitment number 11 last night and the first defensive back in the 2017 class when Claudin Cherelus gave his verbal to the Gophers. Cherelus is a Naples, Florida kid, he is ranked as a 2-star prospect and only can claim offers from UMass, Northern Illinois and Samford. The offer list is pretty weak but the kid has very good size and it is becoming increasingly difficult to question the recruitment of defensive backs under Jay Sawvell.
Let us learn a bit more about the newest Golden Gopher commit.
Excited to announce my commitment to the University of 〽️innesota pic.twitter.com/VsRfg9UMLu— 2️⃣1️⃣ (@Claudin_1) August 10, 2016
Ryan Burns of GopherIllustrated ($cout).
"Coach Sherels and I really had just hit it off since they offered me and I feel really comfortable with him," Cherelus explained to Scout.com. "I also know all about how well Sawvel has done with defensive backs and how they're going to the league. I'm 6'2" 200 lbs right now, and Minnesota sees me as a safety right now. I could potentially grow into a linebacker, but they're starting me as a safety. My mom is good with me going to Minnesota, as she supports my decision."
And from the same article on Scout, here is some analysis on Cherelus as a player in South Florida.
"Cherelus can continue to work on wrapping up rather than throwing a shoulder, but either way, you have to like his willingness to get his nose dirty in the open field. He's a kid that's always on the lookout for contact. Cherelus also flashes good acceleration and picks up ground in a hurry.
Cherelus can continue to work on his overall ability in pass coverage, as well as his change of direction and ability to flip his hips and run, but there's also a lot to like with this Florida native. He plays with the mindset of another linebacker in the box."
(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' 2"
Weight: 198 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: not sure
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...
This is a tough one cause it is hard to recall a safety of this size who played for the Gophers and who hit like Cherelus does. My best comparison is really Simoni Lawrence. Similar size and Lawrence came into the program as a safety who was eventually converted to a linebacker.
And that's just what I expect will eventually happen with Cherelus, he will eventually move to linebacker where his athleticism will be more than adequate, his size is already in the right neighborhood and he'll have to learn to tackle as well as he hits.
Watching his tape what really stood out were his big hits. This kid likes to make contact. Ultimately I am going to project that he isn't quite fast enough to play DB in the Big Ten, but he can hit and once he learns to tackle he just may be a quality linebacker with above average coverage skills.
Impact on Other Prospects?
Technically a safety recruit and the first of the class, but this should have no impact on recruits at either LB or safety. Recruiting will continue at both positions though neither are a pressing priority this class with such an impressive group of 2016 recruits at LB and DB.