Gopher Illustrated takes our best guess projection at the players Minnesota will sign on defense for the Gophers in 2017

Gopher Illustrated takes a stab at what the Gophers 2017 football recruiting signing class will look like seven months from national signing day with a look at the defense.

Defensive Line

Already committed: None

Projected signee:

http://www.scout.com/player/192665-kendrick-green/recruiting?year=2016&s...

http://www.scout.com/player/200205-joshua-croslen/recruiting?year=2016&s...

http://www.scout.com/player/189374-juan-harris?s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/201921-ezekiel-ott?s=176

Reasoning:

The Gophers have five defensive tackles graduating over the next two years, and if they can get three of the quality that I've listed above, I'd have to think they'd take it. 

Chicago's Kendrick Green is one that received an offer after the Minnesota staff worked with him at a satellite camp in suburbs of Chicago at defensive tackle. Green plans to visit Minneapolis in July, and look for that visit to occur around the Gophers BBQ. If and when this visit happens, I like the Gophers to land Green.

Croslen also recently just picked up a Minnesota offer, and he told GopherIllustrated earlier this week and the Gophers are definitely standing out to him now that they're his first power five offer. Croslen is working on a visit to Minnesota this summer.

The three-time Iowa commit is now back on the market, and tweeted a week or so ago that Minnesota has re-offered him. Harris is a gigantic human being at around 360 lbs, so he'd absolutely be a run stopper off the bat. Wouldn't be surprised to hear that he's visiting Minnesota this summer as the staff is really pushing hard for him to visit for the BBQ. One source tells Gopher Illustrated that the Gophers are in his top two and that he will take an official visit to Minnesota this fall as well. 

I also think that Caledonia's Ezekiel Ott does end up earning an offer this fall at defensive end. The biggest reason he doesn't have one already is he tore his ACL during his junior season last season, and Minnesota wants to make sure he's healthy. Ott was leading the state in sacks before he went down with the knee tear. The Gophers already know what he can do in a camp setting, and if Ott can come out strong again for his senior year, I think he gets that Minnesota offer and shortly becomes a Golden Gopher. 

Linebacker

Already committed: 

http://www.scout.com/player/205846-kyrei-fisher?s=176

Projected signee:

http://www.scout.com/player/205846-kyrei-fisher?s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/206798-jeffery-burley?s=176

Reasoning:

Gophers already have one linebacker committed, who will also be an early enrollee in Oklahoma's Kyrei Fisher. The Union high school standout loved his unofficial visit to Minnesota earlier in the summer and now is a firm Gopher commit. I think the Gophers end up around three LB commits. 

Burley has the Gophers in his top group and plans on visiting Minnesota later this month. I'd say if and when the visits happens, Burley should immediately be placed on "commitment watch". Gophers are still very interested in Chinedu Ogbonna, but he's got some academic things to clean up before Minnesota can move farther forward. 

I do end up thinking if Minnesota has an eight plus win season, that they end up landing a third linebacker that maybe they would have got before, but before I project that linebacker to come, let's see the results of the season first. I think Sherels would be through the roof if this was his haul for 2016.

Cornerback

Already committed: None

Projected signee:

http://www.scout.com/player/208638-dewayne-terry/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/209017-tre-norwood/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Reasoning:

From what sources have told Gopher Illustrated, Minnesota will sign both two corners and two safeties. Minnesota was among the first to offer the Miami speedster and the Gophers are firmly planted in his top group heading into the summer. The staff will work to get him on an official visit this fall. Norwood is the teammate of Gophers 2016 corner signee Kiondre Thomas, and after the Minnesota staff saw Norwood live at a satellite camp earlier this month, they're hoping to strike twice in Arkansas.

Safety

Already committed: None

Projected signee:

http://www.scout.com/player/202719-jaquarius-landrews/recruiting?year=20...

http://www.scout.com/player/208460-claudin-cherelus/recruiting?year=2016...

Reasoning:

Minnesota will likely sign one junior college safety, to go with a high school safety. While Landrews doesn't have a Gopher offer just yet, sources have told GopherDigest that he's among the top, if not the top JUCO safety option for Minnesota at this point. The Gophers will likely take a JUCO safety, and Landrews is absolutely the name to watch at this stage. Minnesota was the first college football offer for Naples (Fla.) safety Claudin Cherelus as coach Mike Sherels was extremely impressed with him after seeing him in person. Minnesota could be a major player here.

Total number for 2017 on defense: 10


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