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Minnesota Football Recruiting: Signing Day superlatives for the Gophers’ Class of 2024

Highlighting a handful of the Gophers’ newest additions

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 18 Minnesota at Ohio State Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Head coach P.J. Fleck and his coaching staff have wrapped up National Signing Day, with 25 recruits — including five transfers and one preferred walk-on — signing on the dotted line to play for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Now that these high school players have officially become soon-to-be Gophers, we take a look at the most exciting or intriguing new additions.

Offensive MVP: Drake Lindsey

Considering the Gophers will see their quarterback room temporarily emptied out here soon after redshirt senior Cole Kramer graduates following his first career start in the Quick Lane Bowl, I don’t see how I can pick anyone but the quarterback signing as the offensive MVP of this class.

Recently named the 2023 MaxPreps Arkansas Player of the Year, Drake Lindsey completed 69.6 percent of his passes and threw for 3,916 passing yards and a 7A single-season record 52 passing touchdowns this season en route to a 13-0 record and a state championship.

There was speculation that Arkansas would make a late run at Lindsey after the hiring of Bobby Petrino as offensive coordinator, but instead he affirmed his commitment to Minnesota.

Fortunately, Lindsey will have the opportunity to develop behind transfer quarterbacks Max Brosmer and Logan Fife. I don’t expect the Gophers to be reaching into the transfer portal for a new quarterback every offseason, so signing and developing high school arms is still critical.

Defensive MVP: Koi Perich

The top-ranked recruit in the state of Minnesota for this class and third on the list of the highest-rated signings in program history according to 247 Sports, Esko product Koi Perich is the easy choice here. He took many by surprise when he committed to the Gophers back in June, spurning offers from Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt. In an interview with Gopher Illustrated at the time of his commitment, Perich explained his decision to stick with the home state school, saying, “I want to write my own story.”

In the fall, it became clear Minnesota was going to have to fight to keep Perich in the boat, as USC, Florida State, and Ohio State all extended offers. The Buckeyes were the Gophers’ chief competition down the stretch, drawing Perich to campus for an official visit in December. Head coach Ryan Day and safeties coach Perry Eliano even made an in-home visit the Friday before signing day. But their efforts were for naught, as Perich stuck with Minnesota.

Now the Gophers have perhaps their next NFL free safety, following in the footsteps of Antoine Winfield Jr. and the soon-to-be NFL draft pick Tyler Nubin. I would not be surprised to see Perich pushing Coleman Bryson for playing time next season.

Most Underrated: Samuel Madu

I like Samuel Madu a lot. He is sticky in pass coverage, whether he is playing man or zone, and contests every pass thrown his way. Not only does he have great length for a cornerback, but he also plays physical and can hold his own when making tackles in the open field. Madu is one of the lower-rated recruits in the class, at least according to 247 Sports, but he chose Minnesota over offers from Boston College, Duke, Michigan State, Missouri, Penn State, Purdue, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia. I’d like to think those programs saw what I see.

Biggest Steal: Mason Carrier

I can understand why you wouldn’t consider an in-state recruit a “steal,” but I’m baffled by Minnesota being Mason Carrier’s one and only scholarship offer. Granted, he committed to the Gophers more than a year ago, so perhaps he shut down his recruitment after that. He certainly made it known his commitment to Minnesota is unwavering with an emphatic Twitter statement, capped by a couple iconic closing lines, “I am Mason Carrier. Get used to the name.” His size, strength, and physicality are exactly what you would want in a Big Ten linebacker, and his film demonstrates his ability to absolutely punish ball carriers.

Best Position Group: Offensive Line

Offensive line coach Brian Callahan is building something special. This year, he landed a pair of All-American Bowl selections in Nathan Roy and Brett Carroll. Roy is a four-star prospect and the No. 2-ranked prospect out of the state of Wisconsin, according to 247 Sports. Carroll had a handful of other offers from Power 5 programs. You probably don’t recall, but I awarded the offensive line with Best Position Group in last year’s Signing Day superlatives, too. That class included Greg Johnson, Jerome Williams, and Phillip Daniels. There has been a clear step up in the quality of offensive line recruits the Gophers have been able to attract.