PJ Fleck, Gophers Working Very Hard to Land Homegrown LSU Transfer Jaxon Howard

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The 2024 college football spring transfer portal window opened on Tuesday and the Minnesota Gophers have already seen a few depth players who have officially entered their names.

But the bigger U of M portal news today comes out of LSU, where it’s been confirmed in multiple places (including his own father) that LSU transfer — and former Robbinsdale Cooper superstar — Jaxon Howard (Crystal, MN) is officially leaving Baton Rouge and looking for a new home too.

As soon as news broke a couple weeks ago that Howard was expected to enter the portal, his hometown Gophers were pretty quickly named as a possible landing spot. Of course, the rumors stemmed from secondary sources that wouldn’t confirm anything other than one-sided interest.

Unlike many D1 universities nationwide, the U of M compliance department still watches PJ Fleck’s every move, both in the transfer portal and on the recruiting trail. So yes, he does still follow the few rules that still exist for the CFB transfer portal.

That means Fleck cannot even think about contacting potential portal candidates until their names are officially in the transfer portal database, which did not happen for Howard until this morning, due to it not being available to him until then.

PJ Fleck, Minnesota Gophers working hard to land Jaxon Howard

But now that he is officially up for grabs, Darren “Doogie” Wolfson (SKOR North, KSTP) reports that the hometown Gophers aren’t only interested in Howard, but they are “working hard” to land the former No. 1 rated high school football player in the state of Minnesota just one recruiting class ago (2023).

“The college football portal opened today. We will see a number of names entering the portal, including some Gophers. Nothing big, big name-wise, but some depth guys, some 2nd-team-type guys. So every team across the country is going to lose guys starting today, including the Gophers. But, LSU lost Jaxon Howard, I can tell you the Gophers football program is working very hard to secure the services of Jaxon Howard.”

Darren Wolfson – Mackey & Judd (SKOR North)

PJ Fleck and his coaching staff, with the help of Dinkytown Athletes, has already had a really good offseason, both retaining their top talent and landing crucial pieces out of the transfer portal.

But landing Jaxon Howard would push them to another level. And the fit makes sense, given that Minnesota made Howard’s list of finalists as a high school senior, before he eventually chose LSU, over them, Miami, Michigan and Alabama.

Related: PJ Fleck, Gophers Managing Portal Era Talent Better than Most Big Ten Teams

Jaxon is transferring, in-part, because he was in danger of being buried on the Tigers’ depth chart. But the D1 football roster down in Baton Rouge looks a little bit different than the one up here in Dinkytown. Here, he’d immediately be expected to compete for a starting job.

How good is Howard? We do not know, for sure. But as mentioned, he’s the former No. 1 overall recruit in the state of Minnesota (2023), a 94-Overall 4-Star EDGE monster who now stands 6’4″, 241 lb, according to the LSU Football website.

Max Brosmer might be the most important transfer portal get, just because he plays quarterback. But no doubt Howard would be the most talented and highest-rated. Can PJ Fleck get it done, I’d imagine the story will be advanced by someone soon, and it will likely include which schools stand a chance and which don’t.

Related: No. 1 Ranked 2025 In-State Football Recruit Emmanuel Karmo Commits to Gophers

At this point… I’d be surprised if the Minnesota Gophers are not on the list of universities he is interested in. How many more will join the Gophers? That’s TBD…

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