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The Gophers 2023 recruiting cycle has officially begun to heat up, as TE Pierce Walsh become the third player to commit to Minnesota since April 5. Walsh, listed 6-foot-4 is rated as the No. 23 overall player in the state of Illinois and No. 49 overall tight end in the country according to 247sports. He held top offers from Rutgers, Navy and Central Michigan. Coach Fleck and his staff offered him in late February and after receiving offers from all three service academies in the proceeding months he verbally chose the Gophers.
Who is Pierce Walsh?:
Pierce Walsh attends Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois, a suburb of ~25,000 a few miles away from Chicago. Benet Academy has an enrollment of just over 1,100 students. Walsh had a serious role with the Redwings in his freshman season. Playing both as a wide receiver and defensive end, you could quickly see his potential. Most recently as a junior, he recorded 30 catches for 474 yards and three touchdowns offensively, adding 26 tackles, two sacks and four TFLs on the defensive end of the ball.
- Scouting Report:
Listed a 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Walsh 0ften looked like the most athletic player on the field in his junior year tape. He played almost exclusively as a true wide receiver, so his blocking has room to develop to be a Minnesota-level tight end. A current Gophers TE, Brevyn Spann-Ford played WR and DE in high school with a very similar athletic profile. I will not put that pressure on Pierce Walsh, but he has a very similar play style.
**High School Football Hudl Highlights: https://www.hudl.com/video/3/13152915/618c21e82347b1133c11b0ff
The Gophers keep adding good football players to their 2023 class. After 4-star WR Anthony Smith decommitted earlier this year, they haven’t found the same level of big-name talent, but sometimes quantity is better than quality. Pierce Walsh is a very good football player, he hasn’t played the position that he will likely play in college, but like Spann-Ford that is something that is very common with players that succeed at the next level. Guys who play both ways at a high level of high school football like Walsh have a better track record of succeeding. As a player, he looks comfortable, natural and athletic on the football field and I believe that the only man stopping him from having a successful career in the Maroon & Gold will be himself.
What is next?:
With five players verbally committed to the 2023 class, the Gophers are 13 short of last season’s total of 18 incoming freshmen. With the addition of Walsh, they currently have the No. 28 class in the country and No. 8 in the Big Ten according to 247sports. Like I said earlier, this class might not yet have the prized jewel, big-name prospect at the top, but I am very impressed with the level of football players they continue to add. Around this time of year is when most players who don’t wait until National Signing Day, begin to verbally commit, so I expect the next few months to be busy for Coach Fleck and his staff.
Full 2023 class: