The Gophers’ early signing period is off to a good start, as they signed 20 new players. The bulk of the class consisted of three-star recruits, but they did nab two four-stars, both from in-state.
Jerome Williams, is a four-star offensive lineman out of Osseo, MN. A high-school tackle, he’s projected to play guard in college. Head coach P.J. Fleck described Williams as raw in terms of technique, but that’s to be expected from a player who didn’t play football until high school. Already 6’4″ and 295 pounds, Williams could be scary good in a year or two. He also had offers from Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas, and West Virginia.
The Gophers’ other four-star is running back Darius Taylor. The Walled Lake, MI productplayed as a receiver initially, moving to running back as a junior in high school. Taylor ran for 2,450 yards and 36 touchdowns as a senior, and added 14 catches for 292 yards and another touchdown. He has decent size at 5’11” and 200 pounds. Among the other schools offering Taylor were Dartmouth (clearly a pretty bright guy) and Michigan.
Taylor comes to the Twin Cities with his Walled Lake teammate Drew Viotto, a three-star quarterback who wowed the Gophers’ staff by throwing for them in a downpour, refusing to move the workout indoors.
Other Standouts from the Gophers’ Early Signing Period
Defensive lineman Martin Owusu was a four-star prospect according to some outlets. The 6’3″, 290-pound Prior Lake native also had offers from several MAC schools. He and offensive tackle Greg Johnson are the second set of high school teammates the Gophers have signed this year. Johnson, listed at 6’6″ and 305 pounds, also had offers from Iowa State and Air Force (again, smart guy).
Cornerback Zaquan Bryan is the latest Gopher from the state of Georgia, and he’s an intriguing prospect. As a junior in high school, he played both corner and receiver, putting up impressive numbers both ways. On defense as a senior, he had 51 tackles, seven pass breakups, and two interceptions. He also played both baseball and basketball, AND ran track.
Wide receiver Kenric Lanier is another three-star Georgian. He flipped from Vanderbilt last week after a visit to Minnesota. As a senior at Decatur, he caught 64 passes for 1,156 yards and 12 touchdowns, and made 32 tackles as a defensive back. He’s also an accomplished track athlete.
The Gophers’ early signing period also included several transfer portal signees, which we’ll address in a separate article in the next day or so.