Early National Signing Day: Gophers’ 2024 class recap

––> The majority of Minnesota’s 2024 recruiting class put pen to paper today on Early National Signing Day, ranking as the No. 35 overall class in the country according to On3 Sports and No. 36 overall according to 247sports.

Follow @Tony Liebert on X

During a time when the transfer portal is dominating any conversation about roster construction in college football, Early National Signing Day is still a thing and a very important thing at that. The Gophers are bringing in (19) scholarship high school seniors and (one) preferred walk-on (as of now).

The Gophers’ class is highlighted at the top by the No. 1 player in Minnesota Koi Perich (Esko, MN) who has yet to make his official decision between Ohio State and Minnesota, but he’s expected to remain a Gopher, and he would become their third-highest ranked recruit in the internet-era per, 247sports. Behind him, there is a talented OL trio of Nathan Roy, Riley Sunram and Brett Carroll, and the 2023 Arkansas State high school player of the year per, MaxPreps QB Drake Lindsey.

While losing talented DL Jide Abisiri (USC) and LB Brady Pretzlaff (Michigan St/*expected) to flips earlier this month is certainly not ideal, this class still has some of the best top-end talented recruited under PJ Fleck. Minnesota will unfortunately never be a destination for the elite of the elite players, but Koi Perich, Drake Lindsey and Nathan Roy are about as close to blue-chip as the Gophers will get. There is some exciting talent from top to bottom in this class and I believe that it could be Fleck’s best since arriving in Minnesota, coming at a time that he needs it most.

Koi Perich only trails Jeff Jones and Carter Coughlin when it comes to the highest-ranked players committed to the Gophers program in the internet era. In his senior season at Esko High School in 10 games played, he had 27 Total TDs, 61 Carries, 708 Yards, 6 Rec, 80 Yards, 1 Passing Td, 57 Tackles 2 Sacks 5 Int 1 FF 2 Fum Rec, 12 Returns and 464 Return Yards. He is as good as advertised and I believe that he could be a major contributor on day 1, given the Gophers’ safety situation.

Roy is the No. 1 ranked player in the state of Wisconsin and he opted to go elsewhere. I spoke with him early this summer and he’s bounced around from Vegas to California, so he’s not a Wisconsin lifer, but nevertheless, it’s an impressive recruiting feather in P.J. Fleck’s cap. He is one of three linemen (Sunram and Carroll) to play in the All-American Bowl on January on NBC. After seeing Greg Johnson contribute right away on the offensive line as a true freshman, Roy has the potential to do the same.

Sunram is the second of three (Roy and Carroll) linemen to represent the Gophers in the All-American Bowl. He is a tremendous three-sport athlete, and the No. 1 player in the state of North Dakota. He played both sides of the ball as a junior for Kindred High School at offensive and defensive tackle. The Gophers were one of his first offers in July, top schools like Kansas, Duke, Iowa State, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas State and Miami (FL) all came flowing in throughout the fall/winter. After visiting Dinkytown in January and April, he eventually settled on the Maroon & Gold. 247sports and On3 consider him a DL, but he has the versatility to play both sides.

Carroll is the last of three (Sunram and Roy) linemen to play in the All-American Bowl in January. He is another tremendous three-sport athlete with an individual state championship in wrestling and shotput. Listed at 6-foot-4, 285 pounds Carroll is the prototypical corn-fed midwestern offensive lineman. He has the size to play along the interior, and he’s a great piece of clay for offensive line coach Brian Callahan to mold.

Simpson is one of two very talented tight ends committed in this class, as Minnesota looks at life after Brevyn Spann-Ford. He is another three-sport athlete, playing basketball and baseball as well. He is one of the best players in Iowa (9th per, 247sports), so it’s another feather in Fleck’s cap to recruit in his rival’s backyard. Listed at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, Simpson lined up a lot on the outside as a WR in high school. His physical profile and skills remind me a lot of Brevyn Spann-Ford at the same age and has an intriguing long-term future.

He broke onto the recruiting scene after an impressive junior year of football playing all over the field at TE, DE, WR and LB. Following the season he picked up 20 different Division I offers, highlighted by Texas A&M, Iowa, Kansas State, Missouri and Purdue to name a few. After unofficially visiting Minnesota on April 8th, he committed to the program nearly one month later. He played a lot of WR at Waubonsie Valley High School and much like Simpson, he has a very interesting long-term ceiling based on his size.

Smith is one of six in-state players committed to Minnesota and he was one of six finalists for Mr. Football. He has 40+ catches, 550+ yards, 9 TDs
and 3 INTs as a senior. Listed at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds Smith has prototypical WR size. He was clocked in at 10.87 seconds in his first Track and field meet of the season as a junior. Like most recruits his age he has room to grow in route running, but the potential is 100% there. He has tremendous burst and quickness that gives him a very high ceiling.

Saine has terrific size for a defensive line prospect his age. At 6-foot-5, 270 pounds he has the frame to be a game-wrecker in the Big Ten. He weaponized his strength as a junior and showed impressive get-off from the line of scrimmage. Like most players his age he has room to grow when it comes to pure pass-rush moves. He is the No. 7 ranked player in the state of Minnesota and he will provide DL coach Winston DeLattiboudere with a fun prospect to mold.

Carrier was the first player committed to the Gophers 2024 class, and he’s already a fan favorite. Carrier is the classic hard-nosed high school linebacker. He will not blow you away athletically, but he certainly has the traits of a Big Ten linebacker. Playing both sides of the ball, he has a very high football IQ and looks comfortable on the football field. He is a throwback-type player at the position with a neck twice the size of a normal athlete his age and a motor of a diesel truck. I would be surprised if he didn’t contribute in big moments during his UMN career.

Lindsey was recently named the 2024 Arkansas State High School Player of the Year according to MaxPreps. He led Fayetteville High School to the State Championship where he was named MVP of the game. He threw for 3,916 yards and 52 (Arkansas 7A record) touchdowns and remarkably only four interceptions while completing 69.6 percent of his attempts as a senior. After bringing back old head coach Bobby Petrino as OC, Arkansas tried to make a late push for Lindsey but he held firm on his Minnesota commitment. If he wasn’t committed to the Gophers, I am sure many more schools would’ve made a run at him after that senior season. I truly believe that he has all of the skills to be a starting QB in a major conference and with the Gophers’ current situation at the position he will have time to develop at his own pace.

As a junior, Mike Gerald was the ultimate playmaker for Morton Ranch High School in Katy, Texas. He played on both sides of the ball, catching 24 balls for 522 yards and 9 TDs as a receiver, adding three carries for 60 yards on the ground, plus even completing 9 of 15 pass attempts for 116 yards and 1 TD as a passer. Defensively he had 14 tackles and one forced fumble as a cornerback and he even returned seven kickoffs for an average of 28.7 yards. Listed at 6-foot, 170 pounds, Gerald is the classic do-it-all high school football player. He reportedly clocked as low as 11.14s 100m time as a junior and it shows on the football field. His next-level athleticism makes him a very fun project. There is room to grow in the pure coverage technique, but he will be another fun prospect for new CB coach Nick Monroe to mold.

Zahir Ranier is another fan favorite amongst Gophers fans having affirmed his commitment to the program many times. He was initially heavily recruited by a multitude of high-level programs before settling in Dinkytown. He is the son of former NFL (6 seasons) and Virginia linebacker Wali Rainer. Listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Rainer is an incredibly versatile and athletic defensive back. Throughout high school, he has played all over the secondary, but he will likely slot in as a safety for the Gophers. He has impressive range and overall feel for the position. He has the potential to be next in line of great safeties at the U.

Ijeboi is one of two RBs in this class, joining a relatively thin position group. As a senior in 8.5 games, he had 1,075 rushing yards, 10 Rec 192 receiving yards
and 15 total TDs and five turnovers on the defensive side of the ball. At 6 feet, 190 pounds, Ijeboi has the prototypical size for a Big Ten running back, but his defining characteristic is definitely his athleticism. He will bring electrifying speed and game-breaking ability to the Gophers backfield, having three touchdowns of 90+ yards as a junior.

Staring at Hill Murray High School, Seidl is another in-state player in this class. He is another three-sport athlete playing hockey and track and field as well. Seidl is an all-around athlete in every sense of the phrase. Listed at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds he made plays all over the football field as a junior; Hill Murray’s coaching staff knows what they have and they make sure to take advantage of Seidl’s abilities. Given his physical profile, I would imagine his future with the Gophers will be a cornerback, but he certainly has the potential to play both positions at the next level. He is still a bit raw with pure technique at the CB position, but the sky is the limit when you’re an athlete of Seidl’s level.

Attending an all-boys private school Archbishop Stepinac, Madu broke onto the recruiting scene following his junior season. His first DI offer was from the Gophers on Jan. 24 and then 13 more came in, headlined by Missouri, Vanderbilt and Penn State. Listed at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Madu has the ideal size for a Big Ten cornerback. He also is a terrific athlete, being logged at 22.7′ in the long jump, which ranks top 10 in the state of New York. Watching his highlights, his potential quickly jumps off the screen, and his impressive length helps him stick to receivers like glue. His great instincts and feel for the game makes him a playmaker in every sense of the term. He will be another fun long-term prospect for new CB coach Nick Monroe.

Jaylin Hicks comes from Iona Prep, the same school as recent Gophers transfer CB from Bucknell Ethan Robinson. At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, Hicks is currently a bit of a DE/DT tweener along the defensive line. He played mostly on the outside as a junior, but likely projects more along the interior at the next level. His physical profile reminds me a bit of current Gophers’ DT Deven Eastern who also played more defensive end at the high school level. Like most players his age, he relied a lot on his strength and athleticism at the high school level rather than technique, but that is exactly what makes him a fun long-term prospect for new DL coach Winston DeLattiboudere to develop.

Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Dallas Sims’ football career has blossomed in Clearwater, Florida. At Clearwater Academy International Sims recorded 24 catches for 429 yards and four touchdowns as a junior. CAI is a school that has built a relationship with Minnesota, Rhyland Kelly and Martes Lewis both coming from the school. Listed at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds Dallas Sims has elite physical traits for his position. He has shown tremendous skills after the catch throughout his high school tape. He has room to grow when it comes to expanding his route tree, but he has very intriguing potential. He continues to improve every year that he’s played football, making him a very exciting prospect.

Wright is the second of two running backs in the class for the Gophers. He is another three-sport athlete, competing in Track & Field and basketball on top of being a premier football prospect Wright is a terrific athlete. He had a tremendous junior football season for the Fighting Irish, totaling 1,224 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. Listed at 5-foot-11, 220 pounds, Wright has a prototypical size for a Big Ten running back. Although he has run as well as 11.64 in the 100m dash, speed is not Wright’s strength. He is a power-back who wins with vision and balance. He has great patience for someone his age. He has a very similar physical profile to Mohamed Ibrahim. That is obviously very lofty expectations, but his running style reminds me a lot of the Gophers’ all-time leading rusher.

LB Matt Kingsbury was the last player mentioned on this list last year and he played 26 meaningful snaps as a true freshman, so Macy is certainly worth mentioning. He was one of the best players in Minnesota last season at Chanhassen High School. Listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds Macy is a bit undersized to be a true four-technique defensive end. He played as a true 4-3 OLB last season for Chanhassen, a position that suited him well with his current skillset. Like most players his age, he has plenty of time to grow into a Big Ten frame, but he has a very similar physical profile to that of a player like Thomas Rush. Macy is a very explosive athlete that relies on his speed rather than his strength. He will likely not be an imediate contributor, but he is more than capable of handling a serious role throughout his career.

Preferred Walk-Ons (PWO)

  • Harrison Brun, CB, Rockford (MN)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *