In less than a week we have seen the entire landscape of the 2017 Gopher recruiting class changed. A few former commits are no longer coming to Minnesota, several were flipped from Western Michigan and some other roster news will certainly affect things moving forward. Let this serve as your recruiting and roster update. I suspect things will remain fairly quiet in the next week or two before it picks up like crazy the final couple weeks before National Signing Day.
Who is moving on?
Tyler Moore is transferring. He is the first to announce that he’ll be leaving the U but apparently this is more of a family issues decision, unrelated to the coaching change.
Recruits no longer coming
- Jimmy Terry - JUCO offensive lineman that was told by someone in the recruiting office that he is no longer desired at the U of MN. His posted to Twitter and was none too happy, but this is the nature of the recruiting game.
- Javan Hawes - Georgia WR who decommitted.
- Jackyl Holmes - RB out of Louisiana who is no longer coming to Minnesota.
- Claudin Cherelus - Florida Safety/OLB who will not be a part of this class for us.
- Brett Kitrel - center who is the one guy I’m probably most bummed that he’s not going to be a part of this class.
Who are the new guys?
Well there have been 11 additions to the 2017 recruiting class and they’ve all been profiled (page with all of the Commitment to Eight profiles)
Overall I’d say that I am rather pleased with the commits that have so quickly come on board to Minnesota. Of the top 12 rated prospects (according the 247), 6 of them would be considered Fleck recruits. And the overall Gopher class has jumped from being ranked right around the 70th best overall class to a top 50 class (currently ranking ahead of Wisconsin and Iowa!).
Tanner Morgan was the Fleck QB target and getting a high school QB in this class is important, but what has me most excited are the commitments along the defensive line. Both DE and DT were critical needs in this recruiting class that has not been very well addressed by the prior staff. Noah Hickcox is a kid who might be able to play early while Eseze Otomewo is more of a project but certainly has talent to be tapped. But getting a couple kids (maybe more) is really huge.
Who are the remaining targets?
Some exciting names are out there as Gopher targets in the final few weeks before National Signing Day. Here’s a little list...
CB/WR - Demetrius Douglas - The son of former Gopher, Omar Douglas was a previous target but he had committed to Oregon. It appears he is either a very soft commit or likely decommit with the Gophers and Notre Dame making late pushes to land him. One of my key targets all throughout this recruiting cycle. Fleck was in the Douglas living room this week and it looks like they will be making an official visit either 1/20 or 1/27. UPDATE: Douglas committed on Saturday!
S - Kendarian Handy-Holly - A 4-star safety whom had been a key target of the prior staff. That attention has not gone away with the current staff in place and KHH is still being hotly pursued. An Alabama native with an impressive offer list but he’ll be visiting here the weekend of 1/20. Landing Handy-Holly would be a huge boost to this class.
RB - Caleb Huntley - 3-star Georgia RB who was offered by the prior staff, he will be visiting the weekend of 1/20.
TE/DE/Ath - Noah Gindorff - Northern MN kid who got a long look from the Claeys staff but ultimately was not offered a scholarship. He’s getting the full attention of Fleck and Gindorff may ultimately flip from NDSU to Minnesota if he gets the offer.
WR - Harry Van Dyne - 6’5” receiver who is visiting campus this weekend. He has deceptive speed and nice hands. He has an Iowa offer as well as Kansas but I would not at all be surprised to see Van Dyne commit to the Gophers this weekend. UPDATE: Van Dyne committed on Sunday!
DE - Boye Mafe - local kid who has seen his recruiting profile rise following his senior year. He was not offered by the previous staff and is getting a close look by the new one.
Other names will pop up over the next couple weeks, I’m certain. The staff should be finalized this week, next weekend is a big official visit weekend (mostly with currently committed kids) and then expect the weekend of 1/27 to be filled with a bunch of uncommitted kids as we make a late push to flip guys before NSD.
Putting it all together
What have we learned? Fleck is going hard after recruiting. He’s identified the ones he wants to keep from his WMU class, he’s identified a few local products that were passed over and he’s even trying to flip a few kids who are already committed to Power-5 schools. He’s not shying away and going hard in the short time he has.
What this really means is that the 2018 class is going to be a LOT of fun to watch. Fleck will go after kids who might not typically consider Minnesota. He’s going to get in their living rooms and hope that he his enthusiasm catches on.