PJ Fleck Lands Indiana Defensive End; Gophers 2021 Class Again in Top-5 Nationally

Center Grove High School junior Austin Booker (94) reacts after sacking Carmel’s quarterback during the first half of action in the 47th annual IHSAA class 6A football state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (Photo: Doug McSchooler/for IndyStar, Doug McSchooler/for IndyStar)

On March 27, 2019; (QB) Athan Kaliakmanis committed to the University of Minnesota, to play football for PJ Fleck and the Golden Gophers. Since then, the 2021 recruiting class has snowballed into one of the best in the nation. That momentum continued again today, when (DE) Austin Booker (Greenwood, IN) committed to row his boat north!

Since PJ’s been rallying up all of the best recruits from its neighboring state, it only made sense that he’d make a quick stop in Indiana, and grab one of their best defensive ends. What are neighbors for, if not to share recruits with Minnesota?

There were a bunch of notable schools who offered the Indiana native, including Oregon, Iowa, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Nebraska, Washington, Missouri and Illinois.

Austin is a (high) 3-star defensive end, who has great measurables and a bright future. Booker’s high school team in Indiana, has five or six other DI-caliber players. His coach, however, thinks Austin has the highest ceiling of them all. 247Sports.com recruiting analyst, Allen Trieu, agrees… but thinks he’s more ready than most are, right now.

Will never get out of him in high school what his potential can be developed two to three years in college. He has as good a length as anyone we’ve seen here, yet he has incredible athletic ability.

Center Grove coach Eric Moore – 247Sports.com

He has athleticism, but is also ahead of other defensive ends in the Midwest as far as technique and is one of the more college-ready guys at his position in the region based on that technique and level of competition he has played.

In my opinion, he is a generally under-appreciated, under-talked about prospect nationally and will be a really good player for the Gophers.

Allen Trieu – 247Sports.com

We always used to be looking for the underrated kids who were (high) 2-star or (low) 3-star… but now, our underrated kids, according to Trieu above, are (high) 3-stars.

I’m excited to see Austin Booker on campus and I’m excited to see how PJ Fleck finishes off this last class. He only has a few scholarships left but every school loses recruits and current players, who aren’t expected to go. This is the 19th commitment for the Gophers’ 2021 class and I always expect 23-25, no matter how many scholarships are technically available.

Booker’s commitment put the Minnesota back into the top-5, nationally and #2 in the Big Ten, for now (4:30p CT). The class will eventually fall out of the top-10 but anything that lands top-25 when all the dust settles, would be historic for this football program.

Grab your oar!


Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

Mentioned in this article:

More About: