PJ Fleck and the Minnesota Golden Gophers had an up and down 2021 recruiting cycle, which came to a completion on Wednesday on (late) National Signing Day.
The 2021 class ranks #37 nationally, according to 247Sports composite. Fleck’s previous classes at Minnesota have all finished in that same range. It would have been a historic class, had Nebraska cornerback Avante Dickerson not flipped to Oregon at the final hour.
A recruiting map was posted to Twitter Thursday and it showed which school recruited each state best. It turns out, nobody recruited the state of Illinois like the Minnesota Gophers. The Illini state has turned into a PJ Fleck recruiting hotbed.
Unfortunately… keeping Minnesota kids from jumping the border to Wisconsin was clearly a problem.
Based exclusively on player ratings, meet your RECRUITING STATE CHAMPS for 2021 — the teams that did the best at landing top talent in each state. Map time! https://t.co/tHzTJrVjge pic.twitter.com/iVBPsgASkN— Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) February 4, 2021
Alex Kirshner, who made this graphic, also wrote HERE about each state. In Illinois, Fleck swiped two of the top-5 prospects (QB Athan Kaliakmanis and RB Mar’Keise Irving). That’s the exact same thing the Badgers did to win the state of Minnesota (LT Riley Mahlman and OLB Jake Ratzloff).
I’d love to see hometown kids stay here and play for the University of Minnesota. At the same time, it’s difficult to knock PJ Fleck for his recruiting acumen. Fleck’s classes have been Minnesota’s highest of the internet era, (outside of Brewster) and I only expect them to get better.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan