Four-Star Wide Receiver Decommits from Minnesota


The Minnesota Gophers have snagged just two to three 4-star recruits in just about every recruiting class since PJ Fleck took over as head football coach before the 2018 season. So when one decommits, like 2023 4-star Ohio wide receiver, Anthony Brown did on Monday morning, it hurts.

This shouldn’t be a shocker. Brown committed really early and stood as the highest-rated recruit in Minnesota’s 2023 class, one that had only three total commits when he announced today. But can you “re-open” your recruitment if it never really closed?

Brown dated, but never married Minnesota.

Brown committed to the Gophers on September 4, 2021. Only weeks after (September 22), a story was written in The Athletic about Ohio State and Notre Dame having possible interest in the Ohio native. Brown was quoted in the piece and tried to remain loyal to Minnesota.

“Coach P.J. Fleck is building something great there,” Brown told The Athletic. “I want to be a part of that. I wanted to be a part of something that’s being built, not something that’s already built.”

“As I’m getting older and going through the process, I’ve learned to block it out,” he said. “It’s not really as much to handle for me as you might think it is. Ohio State is still in contact with me. I don’t really know what to do right now. I’m just committed, and we’re good.”

Anthony Brown (via The Athletic)

But by December, Brown was announcing new offers on Twitter, which is never a good sign for a committed recruit. The new offers include Boston College, Duke, Akron and UMass. He’s also held previous offers from Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State and Cincinnati, among others. We’ll see if the schools get more prestigious now that he’s officially decommitted from Minnesota.

Outside Influences

Anthony Brown is an underrated wide receiver recruit, even as a 4-star and it’s clear many believe his stock will rise exponentially over the next year. At 5-10, 170 pounds, the high-major offers could start rolling in if Brown could add a couple inches during his junior and senior seasons.

With offers can come hesitation. Especially when you’re constantly reminded of the Gophers’ TERRIBLE passing attack over the last couple seasons. You can tell throughout The Athletic’s article that there are a lot of influences involved in the situation, including his high school head coach, who’s a huge Kentucky fan and has obvious reservations about “fast-talking” PJ Fleck.

“I was shocked that he made that move that quick because there’s so much time,” Douglass said. “He got out to a lot of places this summer. But you’re talking about being in your junior year now, and (coaches) can really talk to you. I just think there’s a lot of time in between now and when he has to sign. I’m not saying that means he isn’t going to Minnesota. I know Coach Fleck and they were priming the pump. They were priming the shit out of that pump that weekend. You know? He’d be saying, ‘What a great time to be here,’ and he’ll be talking fast. He’s a fast talker. I like him, but he’s a fast talker. So, we’ll see what happens down the road.”

It was funny to hear Douglass say that as he wore a Kentucky hat, mask, shirt and shorts. The 11-year NFL veteran played defensive back for the Wildcats. He reps his alma mater proudly, and they’re one of the programs keeping in contact with Brown despite his commitment to Minnesota. Kentucky has offered, so that isn’t necessarily surprising.

The Athletic

The Good News

There is some good news for the many Minnesota Gophers football fans who this will indeed disappoint. Out of all the decommitments in recent Gopher memory, this one should be the least surprising and might contain the most hope for a reconnection. It’s rare that recruits end up with a school they already decommitted from, but Anthony Brown could be the exception.

His brother, Michael Brown-Stephens, already plays wide receiver for the Gophers and that connection was a big part of his early commitment. Which brings me to my second positive point. It’s very early on in the process for 2023 recruits, Brown isn’t leaving Fleck and the Minnesota staff hanging high and dry in the last moments of a recruiting cycle. The Gophers aren’t out of the running for Brown. In reality, unless he gets better offers coming up, I see them as a favorite. So does

Hopefully, Anthony Brown realizes he’s destined for greatness in Dinkytown. This dude is a playmaker.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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