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U 2019 Recruiting Class a ‘Big Deal’

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December 16, 2018

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National Signing Day for high school football players is a couple of days away on Wednesday, December 19. Recruiting authority Ryan Burns from GopherIllustrated.com will tell you Golden Gophers fans have reason to celebrate.

Minnesota’s 2019 class is ranked No. 31 nationally by Rivals.com. That source has the Gophers ahead in the recruiting rankings of traditional football powers Miami and USC. The Gopher group of 24 commits has a composite ranking of 34 by 247Sports, setting up the second consecutive year that coach P.J. Fleck and his staff have landed a class ranked in the 30s.

That is impressive for a program like Minnesota that historically often hasn’t signed classes ranking in the 30s. “Any time you can sign 35 (ranked) back-to-back classes, which Minnesota is on line to do, that’s a big deal,” Burns told Sports Headliners.

Making an impression, too, on Burns is many players in Minnesota’s 2019 class were pursued by Power Five programs including a few elite schools. “I would put the offer list that Minnesota has for their commits versus any team in the Big Ten West (Division), and I think Minnesota would win,” Burns said.

The Gophers have two four-star recruits, per 247Sports. They are Memphis defensive tackle Kristian Williams and Ellenwood, Georgia defensive tackle Rashad Cheney. Williams’ FBS offers included LSU and Mississippi, while Cheney turned down Alabama and Georgia.

Nnamdi Adim-Madumere, a Rivals four-star wide receiver commit from Fort Worth, “continues to turn down” Alabama and Texas A&M, per Burns. Those two programs are having elite recruiting success with their 2019 classes, but yet they are in pursuit of the 6-3, 226-pound Madumere who could be bumped up to four-star status by 247.

Adim-Madumere is not only big for a wide receiver but runs a 4.5 in the 40, Burns said. He describes the young Texan as “an absolute nightmare” matchup for opposing defenders.

Earlier this month Fleck attended a Georgia prep state title game where he watched Lee County defensive tackle DeAngelo Carter (also known as DeAngelo Griffin). He won an MVP award for his play and Burns said that has prompted Pac-12 power Oregon to become interested.

Six of the Gophers’ recruits are defensive linemen and five are tackles. The line was a priority need and it looks like help is on the way for Minnesota. Among the linemen is Ellsworth, Iowa Community College defensive tackle Keonte Schad. “They are (the Gophers) beating out big time schools like Oklahoma for Keonte Schad,” Burns said.

Defensive line, at least according to some recruiting authorities, is the most difficult area to find quality Division 1 football players, and particularly defensive tackles. It takes numbers and quality to build a strong defensive line and Fleck could be establishing a more than solid foundation.

Ryan Burns

When Burns was asked who might be the Gophers’ best player in a couple of years from the class of 2019, he said three-star cornerback Tyler Nubin from Saint Charles, Illinois. He said it’s a “big deal” to sign Nubin who at a “legit” 6-foot-2 is long and athletic. To convince a player with his skill-set to become a Gopher and pass over Michigan State and other Big Ten schools is not “something Minnesota traditionally does,” Burns added.

Next year the Gophers will have one of the deeper and more talented running back units in the country with veterans Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith, and Mohamed Ibrahim who as a redshirt freshman this fall established himself as a starter. More talent is on the way in the class of 2019 including Owatonna’s Jason Williamson whose gaudy numbers included a single game state record of 477 rushing yards. Burns said Williamson will be given an opportunity at running back in the spring and also be looked at as a receiver.

Running back Treyson Potts from Williamsport, Pennsylvania is referred to by Burns as “absolutely a dynamic player” in space. He describes Cameron Wiley, a running back from Las Vegas, as one of the “most athletic kids” in the country. “He ran an electric 4.49 time,” Burns said about the recruit who was pursued by Oregon, a program that has built much of its success on speed.

The Gophers’ 2019 class includes holdover recruit and defensive tackle Logan Richter from Perham, Minnesota. He was recruited by Minnesota for the class of 2018 but decided to wait until 2019 to become a Gopher player.

The final number of recruits in the 2019 class is yet to be determined, with the possibility the class could be larger than the present total of 24.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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