Successful Gopher Football Signing Day Dampered by Top DT Cold Feet

Incoming Minnesota Gophers quarterback commit Jacob Clark from Rockwall, Texas, throws a pass against Longview in a high school football game on Sept. 28, 2018 in Rockwall, Texas. (Courtesy of the Rockwall County Herald-Banner)
Incoming Minnesota Gophers quarterback commit Jacob Clark from Rockwall, Texas, throws a pass against Longview in a high school football game on Sept. 28, 2018 in Rockwall, Texas. (Courtesy of the Rockwall County Herald-Banner)

It was quite a day for PJ Fleck and Co. today as 23 of the 2019 Gopher Football commits signed their National Letters of Intent to play football for the University of Minnesota.

It’s an impressive class that includes the highest-rated quarterback signee in 10 years.

But the defensive side of the ball is where the 2019 class shines. That’s the side where 7 of the top 10 rated signees of the class will look to make their name. Defense was clearly the prerogative for Fleck in 2019. His most impressive position is the defensive line.  

4 of those 7 top defensive commitments play in the trenches. Just like last year with the offensive line, PJ Fleck went for LARGE upgrades on the defensive line this year. It starts with the highest-rated signee on the entire board, Rashad Cheney.

PJ Fleck gave an interview with Big Ten Network that I thought was very good and had some spotlights on some guys I haven’t talked about. 

Here is the tweet from Gopher Football that shows all of those who signed their National Letters of Intent today. Notice though, there is one empty slot at the end of this graphic. Not everything today was on the “up and up”…

That missing space is one that leaves the Gopher fans and especially the team feeling a little bit empty on what should be a really great day. That missing spot was supposed to be filled by a VERY recent commitment that was also supposed to man that defensive line. And he was right up there with Cheney, as far as how highly he is rated. 

Kristian Williams committed just last week and told 247Sports that he would be signing his letter of intent today…

My grandparents were with on the official visit to Minnesota, and they’re happy I’m going there as they know the Gopher coaches will take care of me and they will have great access to me at Minnesota as well. Everything I was looking for in a college was at Minnesota, so I decided to not visit Missouri and just commit to Minnesota.

Kristian Williams (via GopherIllustrated – Ryan Burns)

Williams is very highly rated and has blue-blood football schools still in contact with him. That’s why it was important to get him in the boat early but it looks like he might be pushing his signing out to the next signing period in February.

Don’t get too down though Gopher fans. Not all of the surprises today were negative. Fleck reeled one signee into the boat today that was unexpected and very disappointed to Kentucky football fans. Kelvin Clemons didn’t even visit the U of M campus before signing his letter of intent today. He’s more veteran depth in a very young secondary.

All and all, it was a very good day for Gopher Football and their 2019 class currently ranks 33rd nationally and 8th in the Big Ten. That could change if Kristian Williams decides to play elsewhere. He has a couple of days to still sign and get in early. Otherwise, it’ll be a nervous waiting game for the next month or two.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan |