If you’ve paid any attention to Gopher football as life locks down for most of the state, then you know PJ Fleck and his staff won’t wait around while Coronavirus takes over the world.
“Adapt and thrive” was a phrase that was made for PJ Fleck. Not only is he talking the talk, though. He’s walking the walk. While other programs wonder what they will do on the recruiting trail, the Gopher staff is blazing a new VIRTUAL trail.
— PhilipRiley2021 (@Riley18Philip) March 26, 2020
We don’t know all of the details yet on these “virtual visits” they are hosting, but we know they aren’t just skyping kids. Whatever the process is, the team thinks they will lose a competitive advantage if media members like me, get too much insight that finds public spaces.
We know the staff is trying to simulate an on-campus visit, as much as possible. The recruit is passed between coaches and in with groups of the staff, just like a recruit would be, if they were on a standard visit.
The visit includes clips of campus, and some of the advantages of Athletes Village along with reminders of what makes the Twin Cities a great place to live for a handful of years (or more).
Until we get more details on these virtual visits from the team, themselves, all I can do is show you some of the talent the Gophers have had virtually visit campus this week… The list though…. is worth you being here.
Look at all these STARS………
— Steven Ortiz Jr (@1stevenortizjr) March 24, 2020
“I’d say the schools that are recruiting me hardest right now are Minnesota, Michigan, Purdue, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and West Virginia,” 2021 Illinois four-star running back Mar’Keise Irving said to GopherIllustrated. “With Minnesota, I’ve been talking a lot with head coach PJ Fleck, my recruiting coach Brian Callahan and my position coach Kenni Burns. It’s just been about building a relationship with them.
I also was able to do a “virtual visit” with Minnesota yesterday,” Irving told 247Sports. “It was nice. I just learned a lot more about the University of Minnesota….”MarKeise Irving w/Ryan Burns (GopherIllustrated.com)
— Jaydon hood (@JaydonHood_7) March 24, 2020
You need to hear what Buddin says about Minnesota. He sat down with Allen Trieu of 247Sports.com and told us more about what these virtual visits are like and he said, “Minnesota has actually surprised me. man. They are a really good option for me.”
You can listen to the rest of Buddin’s thoughts on the Gophers, starting at the 21:19 mark of Trieu’s podcast here:
At this point, the Gophers have held dozens of these virtual visits and it seems, from all the insiders who know more than me, that they are in the minority. Even guys like Trieu seem to be impressed by what the Gophers are doing, and he covers college football recruiting around the country. We’ll see if other programs start to copycat what the Minnesota staff is doing (they will).
It’s fun to have a coaching staff that we know will always go above and beyond to get an advantage. No matter what waters we’re in, we know PJ Fleck is row his boat the fastest and most efficiently.
The stars attached to these kids are more impressive than what we have seen in the past too, even for PJ. This could have something to do with the visits being virtual but could also be fed by last year’s success.
Could we be seeing the fruits of 2019’s labor? It’s possible. You can see all of the Gopher Football recruiting targets at GopherIllustrated.com and if you are a paid member, you can see more of who is virtually visiting in THIS THREAD.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan