The Gophers added a big commitment Sunday evening.
Daniel Jackson, a wide receiver out of Kansas, is the Gophers highest-ranked recruit in the 2020 class so far. The 5-11, 185-pound player is ranked as a 4-star athlete, according to 247Sports.com. He visited the Gophers earlier this month in the program's big wave of summer official visits.
His addition to the class, the 22nd so far, is a significant get with most of the other members ranked as three-star players. Jackson was expected to pick between the Gophers and Wisconsin.
Home〽️�� pic.twitter.com/ib4jnOKcb0— Daniel R Jackson3️⃣ (@25DanielJackson) July 1, 2019
Prior to this commitment (this is important, so don't forget), I spoke to a few recruiting analysts about this 2020 class. Here is what they had to say below:
Tom Lemming, CBS Sports: In a word, Lemming called this class “outstanding” and ranked them No. 23 so far, though that likely won’t hold as the powerhouse programs fill out their classes late. He called out St. Louis athlete Itayvion Brown (“one of the better athletes in the Midwest”) and Kansas running back Ky Thomas (“outstanding vision and balance” and could play right away) as two standouts. He also praised Texans Dylan McGill and Abner Dubar, all the Floridians including top-notch cornerback Jalen Glaze and Martes Lewis, an Indiana offensive lineman with “All-American potential.” Lemming said he appreciated the athletic skill of this class, which will allow the coaches to mold the players into whatever positions they need. He also mentioned that in his own travels this past winter to scout, the Gophers were already a program on many recruits’ minds, which was a good sign considering program has to recruit nationally with a limited talent pool in state. Lemming’s one knock on the program was losing Winona product Aaron Witt to Iowa.
Ryan Burns, 247Sports.com: The local favorite analyst touted coach P.J. Fleck’s staff’s influence on recruiting, praising defensive line coach Jim Panagos’ connections to Florida, cornerbacks coach Rod Chance’s in Georgia and tight ends coach Clay Patterson’s in Texas. Eight commits are from those states. Burns also pointed out Thomas, saying he could be as good as Rodney Smith or better and could play early on with uncertainty at the RB position after Mohamed Ibrahim and with Jason Williamson’s ACL injury this past spring. He also liked linebacker Cody Lindenberg from Anoka as a player who has a chance to reach a four-star rating. There’s no quarterback in this 2020 class, and Burns said not to expect one. With Illinois native Athan Kaliakmanis already committed in 2021 and four freshman and sophomore scholarship quarterbacks already on the roster, the Gophers are giving the “Greek rifle” (Burns' nickname) a vote of confidence for immediate playing time. Jackson was one of the recruiting battles Burns had his eye on, but now he's focused on Minnehaha Academy linebacker Kaden Johnson, another four-star player choosing between the Gophers and Wisconsin.
Josh Helmholdt, Rivals.com: Helmholdt wasn’t quite as high on this class as the previous two analysts (again, pre-Jackson). He said with Fleck’s history of punching above his weight at Western Michigan, he didn’t think the coach would continue to recruit the same level of player. “I kind of expected him, as he made the move from the Mid-American group to Power Five, to kind of step up and recruit higher level guys at a more consistent rate.” But he also said it might be too soon to judge Fleck’s recruiting at the Gophers, since he still doesn’t have a roster full of his own guys to deploy as he sees fit. Helmholdt would like to see the Gophers challenging for the best classes in the Big Ten West, not just in this early period when they have double the number of commits as other programs. In this class, though, Helmholdt also mentioned Brown as the “headliner” so far. Missouri offensive lineman Aireontae Ersery could see his stock rise his senior season, while Georgia cornerback Victor Pless also appear to be a solid backfield addition, according to Helmholdt.
And here’s a bonus recruiting analyst, Fleck himself: “I think it’s a really strong class. We have a lot of needs that we have to be able to continue to fill. A lot of those needs are on the defensive side of the ball, and we’ve focused a lot of that. And I think we’ve really done a great job of again sticking to who we are. We’re going to be a developmental program. We’re going to bring in high school student-athletes. We’re going to develop them for all four or five years and then hopefully have their dreams come true and continue to build a tradition of championships.”