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Gopher Football Recruiting Update

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Let’s not forget about the class of 2020 recruits

P.J. Fleck opening a gift from Goldy Gopher Sports

How about a break from talking about the elite season we have been experiencing and the massive game happening this weekend.

Due to the fact that this team has been so good on their way to a 10-1 season and coupled with the fact that so many recruits verbally committed in June, there has been very little to talk about in the world of Gopher recruiting. To be honest, I’m not sure I could have named 5 kids in this class before working on this summary.

But make no mistake that this is a very good recruiting class coming in for PJ Fleck and staff.

Now this class may change a bit over the coming weeks. With the kind of season this program is having, it is getting the attention of higher rated recruits. There are certainly conversations happening with kids not currently a part of this class.

Also worth noting that this staff prefers to hold one or two large official visit weekends after the regular season and before the early signing date. The problem with that scenario this year is that if we beat Wisconsin this weekend and earn a trip to the Big Ten Championship game, we get exactly one weekend to bring everybody in. That weekend, will be huge.

  • December 7 - Big Ten Championship game (or a potential visit weekend)
  • December 14 - official visit weekend
  • December 19 - Early signing date

Currently 23 kids have committed to a class that really does not have a lot of spots open to begin with. Considering the type of season that the Gophers have had, there are going to be kids listening that maybe weren’t interested in June. Things are going to be very interesting in the next few weeks. But as we stand, this is your 2020 recruiting class.

OFFENSE (9)

One of the key skill player commits in this class, Thomas is a player Gopher fans should be very excited about. His Topeka HS team made it to the state semi-finals before falling to a dominant Derby team despite Thomas rushing for 366 yards. He was the conference offensive player of the year after rushing for 3,009 yards as a senior and finished 2nd in Kansas career rushing.

Sticking in the state of Kansas, Jackson plays for Biship Miege in class 4A and his team will be playing in the state title game this weekend. They have won 5 straight state titles. Jackson is very fast, has an impressive vertical and has been incredibly productive in his high school career. His 23 touchdown catches (so far) is a Kansas state high school record.

Jackson may be the highest profile recruit on this list (for now) and the #2 player in the state of Kansas.

Minnesota native who was the first to commit to this 2020 class. Mann’s Rosemount team started slower before making a run in the 6A playoffs to the semifinals, including a win over Eden Prairie.

  • WR - Justin Bellido - Brooklyn, NY

Bellido’s Erasmus Hall team finished the season 9-2 and missed out on making the state’s quarterfinals after winning the title a year ago.

A Georgia receiver? I think we should take that. Thomas was Gwinnett County first team receiver while helping to lead his Shiloh football team to one of their most successful seasons in years. Consecutive seasons of 2 or fewer wins saw this team go 7-4 and make the 7A playoffs before falling to powerhouse North Gwinnett.

A high school quarterback who will be moving to receiver when he arrives on campus. McGill’s Mesquite HS team won their first round playoff game before falling to Prosper short of the Region semis in Texas’s largest class.

In the Tennessee playoffs, Henderson’s Ensworth team upset #2 ranked Braircrest (the home of Michael Oher) before falling to the #1 team in their class AAA. With really good size and athleticism, Henderson is one of those sneaky recruits who is going to end up being a solid contributor at the next level.

Offensive tackle is probably the biggest need in this recruiting class and the Gophers landed a BIG one in Lewis. The Merrillville product will be coming to Minnesota somewhere in the neighborhood of 6’7” and 320 lbs. Yet another player on this list who’s team made it to their respective state semi-final games. Merrillville fell to Carmel in the semis, ending their season with an 11-3 record.

More agile than huge, but Ersey is currently the only other offensive lineman in this class. Ranked the 20th best player out of the state of Missouri.

DEFENSE (14)

  • DE - Danny Striggow - Long Lake, MN (TDG commitment profile)

Under the radar but Striggow might be a sneaky good pickup for the Gophers. He had an offer from Iowa as well, but he committed early and never wavered.

Defensive end is a really important position group in this class and Keys is coming in with a really nice sized frame at 6’5” and 255. His high school team finished 7-4, losing a tight on in the first round of the Ohio playoffs.

Plays for Chaminade-Madonna Prep who are back to back 3A champs and are playing in the state semifinals this weekend as the #1 ranked team in their class. They’ve played a tough schedule. Losing to the 8A #3 team (Vero) and beating the #2 team in 6A (Central). Larkins comes to the Gophers around 6’4” and 230 lbs with athleticism.

A huge unknown in this class as Kreuder is coming to the Gophers from Germany. This commitment is completely a mystery. His Hudl videos show great burst off the line, but he’s also only speed rushing against very suspect competition.

Also good size and as he gets stronger, could be a real good Big Ten player. His Deerborn team finished 4-5.

Local, Anoka kid who committed in May to the surprise of all Gopher fans. Lindenberg had no other offers but this staff wanted him. Athleticism and speed are the highlights of Lindenberg and given a couple years in the program we will see how he pans out.

The interesting thing about Finnessy is that he is a big bodied kid, who has been playing corner for most of his high school career. He projects to be an OLB at this next level, but those cover skills should come in very handy. He finished his high school career on a 3-6 team but this athletic defender will bring some serious athleticism and versatility to the program.

  • OLB/ATH - Itayvion Brown - Saint Louis, MO (TDG commitment profile)

One of the best players in the state of Missouri and Brown is the 2nd highest rated kid in this Gopher class. Lutheran North is the #1 team in states Class 2 and currently in the state semis. Brown is a 2-way player expected to play OLB/rush end for the Gophers. Offers from many very good southern schools, but Brown is rowing the boat.

More than likely not coming in to play quarterback. His Bishop Hartley team is currently 12-1 and playing in the Ohio State semifinal game on Friday. As you may recall, Flemming is legit fast and ultimately projects to play in the defensive backfield.

Lincoln High was 8-3 in Florida’s 7A class and lost in the 2nd round of playoffs to a team in the final four. Glaze, like most of this class, made his decision on Minnesota this past summer. He could play corner or safety at the next level but will bring his 6’0” 180 lb frame to TCF Bank Stadium.

Teammate of Larkins above. Onwuzo is going to be a physical corner who may end at safety.

Pless is still playing in the Georgia state 6A playoffs. His Harrison squad is undefeated and finished the regular season ranked 2nd in their class. They are slotted to face the #1 team in the state semis should they win this weekend.

Dubar’s Anna Coyotes finished 5-5 in Texas 4A. He played on both sides of the ball in high school but will likely bring his quickness and athleticism to the defensive backfield. Also possessing offers from Baylor, Texas Tech and Colorado.

A big defensive back who played on a 5-4 team that made the playoffs, losing in the first round. Fast, athletic and big; Dixon scored well this past offseason at camps running a 4.5 40 while measuring at 6’1”.