Allen Trieu / Scout

GopherIllustrated previews Minnesota's 2017 National Signing Day with a look at some story lines heading into Wednesday

GopherIllustrated previews Minnesota's 2017 National Signing Day with a look at some story lines heading into Wednesday.

Where does Minnesota rank in the Big Ten?

Minnesota Class Ranking

Minnesota's 2017 commitment list

Story lines

Here's what East Coast analyst Brian Dohn said on the board this morning about New Jersey athlete Ihmir Marsette

"Minnesota is in for a battle with Iowa over Ihmir Marsette. One key here is mom has to sign off on it because Marsette is 17. He took down his commitment from twitter, and although he has not publicly decommitted, it remains a battle. Also, Minnesota wants him as a cornerback, and Iowa likes him as a receiver."

I'll add some more context here. 

I know the staff found out over the weekend that Marsette's sister is actually moving to Minneapolis right now, so he'd have family in the Twin Cities, and that'd be key here. His sister was with on the official visit and I know this is a huge plus back home in New Jersey with his family. It's going to come down to what Marsette and his family can hash out here. Trey Creamer and Marsette became close on the Iowa visit, and even though they'll play different positions, I believe it's absolutely a factor. 

Going to be an interesting 24 hours, but I don't believe Marsette will be a part of the Minnesota class ultimately tomorrow.

As Brian Dohn said this morning, and as I posted on GopherIllustrated last night, I feel good about Minnesota signing Boye Mafe tomorrow. I know some on the board haven't understood Mafe's recruitment, but I'm a big fan of him as a defensive end after seeing him live at camp and at a couple of games. There's a reason we at Scout have him ranked as the best defensive end in the state of Minnesota.

I'm expecting Mafe to sign with the Gophers tomorrow.

Ohio defensive tackle Tyrone Chambers took his official visit with the Minnesota Golden Gophers on the 20th of January, but signs recently point to Chambers signing elsewhere because of academic concerns. Minnesota would like for Chambers to head to a junior college so they could sign him in two years, but Chambers wants to go a different direction, so GI expects him to sign at a junior college. 

Ryan's nine favorite recruits from Minnesota's Commitment List (in no order)


Marshall's Blaise Andries started off this 2017 recruiting class for Minnesota, and he's been the leader for this class since. Love what I've seen from Andries at tackle this past season, and at 6'6" 305 lbs, he could play early as Minnesota's offensive line has battled serious injuries in recent years. 

Scout evaluation: "Good sized kid with the frame and ability to be a college tackle. Looked good in pass protection at camp settings and run blocks very well on tape. Gets off the ball well, is powerful and looks to finish his blocks. Plays until the whistle. Can continue to improve his ability to bend, especially if he is to play left tackle at the next level. Overall though, he is a good athlete who plays with good balance and coordination."


Demetrius Douglas represented the first big-time win for P.J. Fleck and company when the Gophers were able to flip Douglas from Oregon, and keep him from visiting Notre Dame. Douglas has the position flexibility to play either side of the ball, but Fleck and staff want him at wide receiver.

Scout evaluation: "Douglas is a good looking player on both sides of the ball. He's a playmaker at receiver but we like him as a cover corner at the next level. He's a high level athlete with very nice body control, adjusts well to the ball in the air and is smooth in the way he plays the game. He's a high level student off the field and it shows on it as Douglas is a very smart player who understands how to play the game. He's always in the right position to make a play and has the athleticism to make an early impact in college."


I know there's not a lot of film out there on Robbinsdale Cooper (Minn.) Eric Abojei, but from what I've seen in person for months, Abojei has about as high of ceiling as any player in this 2017 class. He's very athletic for his size, and has a mean streak with good length. He could provide some immediate depth at guard if he continues to progress. 

Scout Evaluation: "Very good athlete who is light on his feet for such a big kid. Shows some tenacity and toughness as well. Naturally strong and has the potential too dominate in the run game with his combination of strength and athleticism. Still raw in terms of technique but has excellent upside."


Woodbury's Dominik London is another guy on Minnesota's list with little film from this past season, but I'm excited for his future years in Maroon and Gold. London's an extremely shifty north-south runner, that can absolutely make you miss in a phone booth. Maybe he doesn't have the breakaway speed on the long runs, but his vision, footwork and elusiveness in tight quarters are big pluses for me. London's offer list does not reflect his talent in my eyes. 

Scout Evaluation: "Good back. Shorter, stocky build. Has really good feet and elusiveness. Subtle in the way he can avoid tacklers and make cutbacks. Good vision. Good hands and pass catching ability and has carried the load for East Ridge since his freshman year and has shown toughness and durability. Good, but not elite long speed."


Truthfully, Tanner Morgan has some of the best quarterback tape I've seen a Minnesota signee have in at least a few years. Morgan isn't overly athletic, but he's elusive in the pocket and you can see him keep his eyes downfield constantly, and then will make the throw with accurate ball placement and loft. Morgan's going to have a chance to compete early at Minnesota.

Scout Evaluation: "Productive high school quarterback with the arm to make all the throws. Drives the ball downfield well and shows good touch on his deep balls. Maybe not a dual threat, but mobile and escapes the rush. Makes throws on the move. Good kid, good leader who really only lacks great great height."


Minnesota lacked a play maker up the between the hashes in their passing game last season, and Louisville's Jacob Paulson is a guy that could help early on. Paulson's tape displays a passing game threat, with a nasty streak in the running game. I'll go on record saying that Paulson will be a multi-year starter at Minnesota by the time his career comes to an end.

Scout Evaluation: "Paulson projects as a traditional, on the ball tight end even though his team did move him around the formation some including splitting him out. He played like an H-back at times, but he is a kid you can put in motion and have him lead block or catch short passes. He has good, solid, reliable hands. For a kid of his size, he is a pretty good athlete with some fluidity and ability to run after the catch. He is a strong kid with a good stiff arm. He is not likely to be a field stretcher and was not used as such in high school, but is a good, dependable short to intermediate receiver. He is also a good blocker with his size, strength and the effort he gives there. He was a kid we felt could play either side of the ball, but the plan is for Minnesota to play him as a tight end first. Expect him to be a move-the-chains type receiver, a great, reliable option for quarterbacks and a top-notch blocker for the Gophers."


Alabama's Kendarian Handy-Holly was the first four-star commit for P.J. Fleck, and Minnesota's getting a heck of a player. Looking at the long-term depth at the position, Handy-Holly is another guy that could play early on. 

Scout Evaluation: "Handy-Holly is a two-way standout at the prep level who's tough to deal with on either side because of his big frame and athleticism. While he shows solid ability as a wide receiver, his future is on the defensive side of the ball at safety. The offensive skills translate well and help him get his hands on plenty of footballs, where he has the ability to do damage after creating a turnover. Handy-Holly flashes good physicality at the back end and can be a force upon contact but he needs to polish up his backpedaling and breaking on the ball before he begins the college game."


I'm a big fan of Justus Harris' senior tape, as it reminds me on a more physical KiAnte Hardin. The Gophers arguably best corner last year was Hardin, so that should be a good thing to hear for Minnesota fans. Harris loves to get in the face of the WR's, plays the ball well and has good hips.

Scout Evaluation: "Scrappy player, o,n the smaller side. Nickel likely, has toughness, plays hard, likes to play press coverage, not elite speed, but solid and plays with confidence."


There isn't another player in the 2017 recruiting class for Minnesota that's bought into PJ Fleck more than Malcolm Robinson. The ninth best defensive tackle in the Midwest knew immediately after meeting Fleck last week that he's the kind of coach that he wants to play for. With immediate needs at defensive tackle, Robinson is a high effort guy that'll be asked to play early on.

Scout Evaluation: "First off, Malcolm Robinson is a high effort guy and a player that loves to compete and win. He uses his quickness off the ball to his advantage and is perfect 3-tech tackle in a 4-3 look. He could shift outside in a 3-4 set and play defensive end. I would expect Minnesota to redshirt him the first year, and let him gain strength in the weight room. Robinson played against top competition his entire career at Massillon, and has been very productive the past two seasons. He also played offensive guard in high school. Robinson is a great student in the classroom, and his coaches rave about his leadership skills. This is a player that is going to represent the Golden Gopher program well on the field, in the weight room, in the classroom and in the community. Robinson wants to get better and is a player that will allow himself to be coached. All in all, this is a nice get for Minnesota, and Massillon always has D-I talent so establishing a line to the school can only aid the Gophers in the state of Ohio."

For full coverage of National Signing Day for Minnesota, stay tuned to 

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories