What is Happening with Minnesota’s Top Recruit Avante Dickerson?
Omaha Nebraska ATH, Avante Dickerson, was supposed to be the sparkling gem sitting atop the highest-rated recruiting class in Minnesota Gophers internet era history. Instead, the 2021 high-4-star commit declined to sign his official letter of intent this morning and the Gophers finished early-NSD with 19 total commits (including walk-ons) instead of 20.
Top of his class…
If Dickerson decommits and signs elsewhere, it would cost the Gophers 10 recruiting points (from 205.47 to 194.91) on 247Sports.com. He’s the difference between the #26 and #36 rankings in the country.
The #26-ranked class would be tied for the Gophers’ highest of the internet era (2008 – Brewster). Falling down to #36 would put this class right next to the others during PJ Fleck’s tenure. That’s not a bad thing because he’s been the best recruiter we’ve had… ever. Still, it’s not the growth we thought were getting in the 2021 class.
I would like to announce that I will not be signing along with my teammates. I am simply not ready to make a final decision that will impact my future as a student athlete I will be at the signing at Westside high school to support my teammates but not available for questions.— AD #28 (@_dickerson1) December 16, 2020
We’ve written about Dickerson, and how dynamic he is, multiple times on this website. If he doesn’t want to play in the secondary, he’s good enough to play multiple offensive positions too. The kid is a stud. He’s the only Minnesota Gophers commit who’s rated above a .9000 by 247Sports.com.
So what happened?
Nebraska happened. At least that’s what their fanbase wants you to think.
Fleck swiped Avante from Scott Frost country but the Huskers have continued to recruit him hard ever since. Public doubts on Dickerson’s commitment to Minnesota only sprung up in the hours leading up to Early-NSD, however.
The Omaha kid has never stepped foot on the University of Minnesota Campus and that’s probably playing into his non-committed status. He verbally-committed to the Gophers in April, just as the COVID shutdowns were beginning.
According to Nebraska 247Sports affiliate, Husker247.com:
“Nebraska never stopped recruiting Dickerson, though the Huskers didn’t re-enter the picture fully until the fall, when it was first rumored that the Omaha Westside defensive back hadn’t closed the door entirely on playing for the Huskers and that there were some sticking points with his Minnesota commitment. Publicly, Dickerson never wavered, never made a statement, never decommitted or even said he was considering other schools.
Behind the scenes, Nebraska continued to work to try to land the defensive back. One of his best friends and current Westside teammate, Koby Bretz, committed to the program.
Husker247 seems to think Dickerson’s made his final decision, during this early National Signing Day period. If his LOI isn’t submitted by Friday, Avante will have to wait until February 3. That’s when the late National Signing Day period begins.
But, his tweet didn’t announce a decommitment nor did it say that he’s pushing his LOI out until February. Dickerson was expected to sign his LOI to Minnesota at his local Omaha (NE) high school today, along with some HS teammates (one of which was committing to the Huskers).
Fans are hoping
So Minnesota Gophers fans are holding out hope that the hometown Nebraska boy is just trying to avoid the local Nebraska mob. One that would surely be stirred up by his public commitment to Minnesota.
Could Avante Dickerson be waiting for the hoopla of National Signing Day to pass, just to send in his LOI during a discrete time later this week? That’s the hope.
Of course, these things/thoughts are all speculation and we really don’t have any idea what is going through this young man’s head. We’ll obviously know more by Friday because he will either sign his LOI by then… or he won’t.
I guess we’ll wait and see. PJ Fleck has a National Signing Day press conference scheduled for 1:30 today so we’ll see if he gives any clues as to what’s happening with AD. I will stream the zoom presser live on our Twitter page if you want to watch PJ talk about these signees (you do).
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan