Gophers add fourth 4-star prospect, putting Minnesota's 2021 recruiting class among best in nation

An 11-win season is leading to even more victories on the recruiting trail for the University of Minnesota football team.

The Gophers’ class of 2021 is beginning to take shape, already up to four four-star commitments. The latest is athlete Sam Jackson from Naperville, IL, who committed early Wednesday morning.

Jackson joins fellow four-star caliber players cornerback Avante Dickerson, cornerback Steven Ortiz, and quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis on the Gophers’ commitment list.

Nationally, the Gophers’ recruiting class is currently ranked 5th in the country by 24/7 Sports and 9th in the nation by

“These kids see where Minnesota is going and they really want to be a part of what was one of the greatest seasons in Gopher football history last year,” Ryan Burns of 24/7 Sports’ Gopher Illustrated said.

Burns added that this is a trend unlike others he’s seen in Gopher football history.

What makes this achievement even more impressive is the way Fleck and his staff are building this caliber of a class with limited contact during the COVID-19 crisis.

“P.J. Fleck is sitting at home with nothing but time, and he’s putting all of that energy and effort and time into recruiting,” Burns said. “That’s how you get to be where you’re at.”

This is an upward trajectory for the Gophers thanks to another common trend: when one recruit commits, other big names often times follow suit.

“Many of these kids don’t want to be the only four-star to go somewhere,” Burns adds. 

“Blaze your own trail and you can be a leader here at Minnesota,” Burns says in a common mindset of some of the recruits. “That message has really resonated with a  lot of different people.”

The Gophers’ high-caliber recruits will not be on campus for at least another year, but it is a class that could lead to even more wins for a program on the rise.

“I think all four of them could have tremendous impacts very early on in their Gopher careers,” Burns said.