The 2024 University of Minnesota football recruiting class already includes verbal commitments from seven of the top nine players in the state, per 247Sports. That’s Minnesota’s best total since the 2012 class that ultimately signed up seven to letters of intent, according to the 247 archives.
The Gophers have a commitment from the 247 No. 2 player in Minnesota, safety Koi Perich from Esko. Coach P.J. Fleck and staff are awaiting decisions from No.1 Wyatt Gilmore and No. 3 Emerson Mandell.
“If you’re able to land just one of those guys, Fleck would be doing something that historically has been very tough to do no matter who the Gopher coach has been,” Ryan Burns told Sports Headliners while referencing Minnesota’s recruiting in the Internet era. (Note: the Gophers apparently aren’t recruiting the state’s No. 10 ranked player, Coon Rapids High School athlete Khijohnn Cummings-Coleman).
Burns is the experienced recruiting authority from GopherIllustrated and 247Sports. In the next “three, four weeks” he expects decisions from Gilmore and Mandell regarding their college choices.
Gilmore, listed by 247 at 6-4, 240-pounds, is a four-star edge rusher from Rogers. Mandell, 6-5, 295-pounds, is a three-star offensive line prospect from St. Paul and Irondale High School. Who is more likely to become a Gopher?
“I think I am more optimistic about Mandell coming to Minnesota,” Burns said last Friday. “I think it will be either them or Iowa State right now. We’ll see how the Iowa State visit goes…(last) weekend.”
Mandell has made many visits to the Minnesota campus, a solid indication of his interest. Burns believes that because Minnesota and Iowa State appear to be his favorites, that shows a preference to stay close to home.
Burns believes the Gophers “still have a shot” at Gilmore who visited Oklahoma last weekend. Best guess by Burns is Gilmore will commit to a “helmet school” like Miami, Oklahoma, or Oregon.
Rogers head coach Marc Franz told Sports Headliners Gilmore has enjoyed the recruiting process but it’s demanding. “It is weighing on him. It’s a lot of time and energy going into the decision,” said Franz about his star player who plans to enroll in college in January.
Mandell and Gilmore have received encouragement to stay home from in-state players who are committed to the Gophers, including Perich. “It’s part of the reason Koi committed is he wanted to be someone who can help get players,” Burns said.
“He knows he’s a four-star. He knows he’s really good. He knows he’s turned down Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin among others. And I can confirm he’s got Wyatt Gilmore’s number; he’s got Emerson Mandell’s number. He’s been texting them for a long time. He’s spent time with both of them. …”
Recruiting is a competitive business in college football, partially because there are schools using the enticement of Name, Image and Likeness money as an inducement. That’s an illegal practice and something Minnesota wants no part of.
“Minnesota will not extend NIL to recruits…so if that’s what it comes down to is guaranteed promises in recruiting, Minnesota is never going to win that battle,” Burns said. He added “God speed” in getting the NCAA, the Division I enforcement agency, to police NIL infractions.
Burns wants to see the Gophers successful in recruiting and on the field but he’s not going to fault either Gilmore or Mandell if they decide on schools other than Minnesota. “They’re both good kids. I think they both have got good support systems around them, and they’ll make the best decisions they feel for them.”
Still, it’s tantalizing to think about signing both Gilmore and Mandell, or at least one. Burns believes the talent in the state’s 2024 recruiting class is above average and having nine of the top 10 rated players committed to the Gophers would be unprecedented this millennium. “…If Fleck really wants to put a stamp on it, he’s got to land at least one of these guys,” Burns said about Gilmore and Mandell.
The Gophers have been impressive, too, in building their 2024 recruiting class with out-of-state players. The class totals 23 verbal commits, per 247Sports, with the highest ranked player offensive lineman Nathan Roy from Mukwonago, Wisconsin. He’s the No. 1 ranked player in his state and the first time in memory the Gophers have a commitment from the best recruit in Badger land.
The 2024 247Sports team recruiting rankings have Minnesota No. 10 in the country. As of today, the Gophers have more total pledges than any Division I school, but eventually others will catch up and Minnesota’s lofty ranking won’t last. But commitments from Gilmore and Mandell will help ensure an impressive spot in the final national rankings for 2024 recruiting.1 comment