Good news: Minnesota Football makes another important recruitment

Head coach P.J. Fleck and his coaching staff have wrapped up National Signing Day, with 25 recruits — including five transfers and one preferred walk-on — signing on the dotted line to play for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Now that these high school players have officially become soon-to-be Gophers, we take a look at the most exciting or intriguing new additions.

Offensive MVP: Drake Lindsey

Given that redshirt senior Cole Kramer, who made his first career start in the Quick Lane Bowl, will soon graduate and temporarily empty the Gophers’ quarterback room, I find it impossible to choose anyone other than the quarterback signing as this class’s offensive MVP.

Drake Lindsey, who was recently awarded the 2023 MaxPreps Arkansas Player of the Year, led his team to a 13-0 record and a state championship this season by completing 69.6 percent of QB passes for 3,916 passing yards and a 7A single-season record 52 passing touchdowns.

Following Bobby Petrino’s appointment as offensive coordinator, there was conjecture that Arkansas might make a late push for Lindsey; nevertheless, he reaffirmed his commitment to Minnesota.

Thankfully, Lindsey will be able to grow under transfer quarterbacks Logan Fife and Max Brosmer. Although I don’t think the Gophers will be searching the transfer portal for a new quarterback every offseason, it’s still important to sign and develop high school arms.

Defensive MVP: Koi Perich

Koi Perich, an Esko kid, is the obvious pick here since he is the top-ranked recruit in the state of Minnesota for this class and ranks third among the highest-rated signings in school history, according to 247 Sports. When he chose the Gophers over offers from Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt in June, he surprised a lot of people. “I want to write my own story,” Perich said when he explained his decision to remain at the home state school in an interview with Gopher Illustrated at the time of his pledge.

In the fall, offers from USC, Florida State, and Ohio State indicated that Minnesota would have to contend to retain Perich in the boat. Ultimately, Perich paid an official visit to the university in December as the Gophers’ main rival, the Buckeyes. The Friday before signing day, head coach Ryan Day and safeties coach Perry Eliano even paid a house call. But Perich stayed with Minnesota, thus their efforts were in vain.

Now, the Gophers may have their next NFL free safety, in the mold of Tyler Nubin, who is expected to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft, and Antoine Winfield Jr. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Perich pushed Coleman Bryson for more playing time the following season.

Most Underrated: Samuel Madu

I’m really fond of Samuel Madu. Whether he is playing man or zone coverage, he is tenacious in pass coverage and fights every pass that is thrown to him. In addition to his exceptional length for a cornerback, he plays hard and is a formidable opponent when making open-field tackles. Despite being one of the class’s lower-rated recruits—at least according to 247 Sports—Madu turned down offers from Boston College, Duke, Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia in favor of Minnesota. I wish those programs could see what I do.

Biggest Steal: Mason Carrier

Though I can see why you wouldn’t view an in-state recruit as a “steal,” I find it strange that Mason Carrier has only received one scholarship offer from Minnesota. Okay, so maybe he stopped recruiting after he committed to the Gophers more than a year ago. He sent out a strong tweet demonstrating his unshakable devotion to Minnesota, which was topped off by two memorable closing phrases: “I am Mason Carrier.” Acclimate to the name. His tape shows that he can certainly punish ball carriers. His size, strength, and physicality are exactly what you would want in a Big Ten linebacker.

Best Position Group: Offensive Line

Brian Callahan, the offensive line coach, is creating something unique. He selected Brett Carroll and Nathan Roy for the All-American Bowl this year. According to 247 Sports, Roy is a four-star prospect and the second-best prospect in the state of Wisconsin. Carroll received a few more bids from Power 5 companies. I also gave the offensive line Best Position Group last year during Signing Day superlatives, in case you forgot. Phillip Daniels, Jerome Williams, and Greg Johnson were in that class. The caliber of offensive line prospects the Gophers have been able to draw has definitely increased.

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