P.J. Fleck and his staff are out here playing chess, while their competition plays checkers. The Golden Gophers football program just made a HUGE (pun intended) splash in the recruiting world. The #eLITe18Palooza was most definitely LIT.
One of the best days ever with my next family ?〽️
— Alexander Reigelsperger (@reigelsperger_a) December 9, 2017
— Grant Norton (@Grantjnorton99) December 9, 2017
Yesterday’s Day 1 #eLITe18Palooza ! TCF, Fireseide Grill,Smaaash. Attention to every single detail is amazing! 26 commits + 9 recruits AND their families = largest official visit ever in NCAA and yet the personal attention is impeccable. pic.twitter.com/MRTSTyb6Vb
— Karen Beier (@beiers_mom) December 9, 2017
Nice food, bonding, and everyone involved seemed to have a good time. Minnesota Sports Fan is all for a good time. A pro-fun company, if you will. Especially when that good time produces value-raising results. That was exactly the case with the #eLITe18Palooza.
Prior to this weekend, WR Rashod Bateman was MN’s lone four-star commit for their 2018 class. Granted, Vic Viramontes, Alex Reigelsperger, and a plethora of others are just shy of “4-star status”. Either way, Bateman now has company.
Two additions totaling over 760 pounds made their #RTB future official on Saturday. OVER 760 POUNDS! That’s approximately 345 Kilograms for our Canadian readers.
Curtis Dunlap could be PJ’s biggest recruit for the 2018 season for multiple reasons, outside of Vic Verimontes because he plays QB. The Gopher offensive line was a big reason for the team’s struggles this season. We are thought to have one of the best running back combos in the nation, between Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks. Yet, the running game struggled in 2017. So, Dunlap was much-needed. Not only that, but he had already committed to the University of Florida, before they switched coaches.
After wavering on the Gator commitment, he visited Arkansas before eventually decommitting, earlier this week. Dunlap came to town this weekend for #eLITe18Palooza, recently de-committed from one SEC school, and being pursued HARD by another. But, I’ve (Eric) said it before and I will say it again: When you are down for Fleck, when you BELIEVE in the culture, and when you are DOWN TO ROW, it doesn’t matter who is chasing you. When you are drawn to that mindset, Fleck reels you in like he’s throwing bacon-bait into a starving piranha pond. The type of kids who like Fleck have a HARD time saying no to him. It’s awesome. Oh, and also, you can watch him play at the UnderArmour All-American Game on January 4th.
That’s right. Another prospect that ranks in the top 3 of the 2018 Gopher recruiting class. Now, we aren’t sure what Faalele is going to be because he has only been playing football for two years. Yup, two years. He is a MONSTER, standing at 6’9″, and weighing 400 lbs… He had offers from huge schools as well, including Georgia, Alabama, and just about every other big SEC and ACC school. But, he wants to row. And, there’s only one place in the country where you row. MINNESOTA.
Like Dunlap, Faalele has been chosen to the UnderArmour All-Star game later this year. He will also be enrolling early and will be on campus for the Spring Term and the Spring Game. It’s starting to happen Gopher fans. This is where it starts. Recruiting.
Dunlap will also be participating in the UA @AllAmericaGame game.
— Ryan Burns (@RyanBurnsMN) December 10, 2017
Prior to this weekend, Minnesota ALREADY had the highest 2018 class in the Big Ten West. Now, the Gophers are knocking on the door of the Top 25, NATIONALLY. And, we are coming up on early signing day in less than two weeks.
Usually, schools are picking up the scraps of their recruiting classes right now. Not PJ. Why? Because, with these recruits, he had time that was more comparable to the coaches he was competing with. Remember, these coaches normally have relationships with players for multiple years before they commit, eventually. Most of the kids committing now haven’t decided on a school yet, for a reason. They may have decommitted from a school, after an early commitment that didn’t work out (like Dunlap). They may have been interested in schools who had a coach fired or went through changes they weren’t expecting. That levels the playing field for Fleck. And that’s bad news for everyone else. Other coaches around the country, especially the Big Ten. Other schools in the midwest, and nationally, have to be shaking in their boots as they think about battling PJ for high-end recruits in the future.
If Fleck closes the borders around Minnesota, where is Wisconsin going to get all of its players?
Also, both commitments this weekend were from kids who are about to graduate from IMG Academy, in Florida. IMG Academy kicks out top recruits like the Brady Bunch kicked out great kids… To go into that school, and come out with these two, is incredible. I picture top college coaches walking around the halls there, like military recruits at a high-school, with the pull-up bar. He also has Zach Annexstad coming to campus as a Preferred Walk-On in 2018. He likely played a big part in these offensive linemen committing.
What a weekend so far… I say so far, because it might not be over yet… The raw numbers, for scholarships available, tell us the Gophers don’t have any spots left in their 2018 class. However, don’t be surprised if we see some changes take place before all is said and done, and Fleck gets a guy or two more. Here are the two top targets remaining on Fleck’s radar. Both players would land in the Gopher top 6 for 2018:
Once again, this article was tag-teamed. The Minnesota staff is making so many moves out there, it can be tough to keep up. Shit reminds us of Percy Harvin in 2011.
In our last combination piece, we closed with a video Richard Pitino praising Fleck. In similar fashion, let’s hear a Fleck opinion. We proudly defer to 2018 #RTB commit, Alex Reigelsperger (Follow him on Twitter: reigelsperger_a).
I need to ice my fingers from all the #RTB typing. A good problem to have. While I recover, listen to this part of my interview with @reigelsperger_a #SkiUMah @realmnsportsfan pic.twitter.com/EjXukrhDNW
— Johnny Minnesota (@MNsportsNstuff) December 9, 2017