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Wyatt Gilmore knows the hard sell is coming. When the standout defensive end from Rogers makes his official visit to the Gophers football program this weekend, he's well aware that plenty of people will encourage him to commit to Minnesota — and that's not only coach P.J. Fleck and his staff.

"I have a really strong relationship with a ton of guys on the team and pretty much all the commits," said Gilmore, a four-star recruit and the top-ranked player in the state in the 2024 recruiting class. "… They'll tell me a couple subtle things here and there."

Over the next two "Summer Splash" weekends, Gilmore will be one of roughly 25 recruits making their official visits. The Gophers have 15 players who've verbally committed to the class, and Fleck is doing a solid job of keeping Minnesota's best players home. According to the recruiting-focused website, seven of the top nine recruits in Minnesota have pledged to the Gophers.

That list includes No. 2-ranked Koi Perich, a safety from Lincoln High School in Esko; No. 4 Mason Carrier, a linebacker from Detroit Lakes; No. 5 Jide Abasiri, a defensive lineman from Prior Lake; No. 6 Mo Saine, a defensive lineman from Eden Prairie; No. 7 Simon Seidl, an athlete from Hill-Murray; No. 8 Jalen Smith, a wide receiver from Mankato West; and No. 9 Sam Macy, an edge rusher from Chanhassen.

The two in the top nine who haven't yet committed to Minnesota but are slated to visit are Gilmore and No. 3-ranked in-state recruit Emerson Mandell, an offensive lineman for Irondale High School. The 6-4, 240-pound Gilmore is the 20th-ranked edge rusher nationally, while Mandell (6-5 and 295) is the 42nd-ranked interior offensive lineman.

Strong start for Gophers

With their 15 commits, the Gophers as of Thursday were ranked No. 16 nationally and fifth among Big Ten teams in the 247Sports composite ratings of major recruiting services. The rankings change daily as teams receive commitments, but Minnesota's quick start is a good sign, according to Allen Trieu, a national recruiting analyst for 247Sports.

"Recruiting rankings have to be taken with a grain of salt, but it's still meaningful to be a top-five class in the Big Ten and a top-20 class in the country," Trieu said. "And when you look at the quality of the players in the class — who those players had an opportunity to take official visits with and commit to — they beat some pretty good schools. … They've done an exceptional job so far."

Trieu considers the in-state talent for the 2024 class to be strong.

"Clearly, this is a pretty good year inside the state when you have guys like Wyatt Gilmore, Koi Perich and Emerson Mandell," he said. "When you look at the top of the board, these guys have plenty of opportunity to leave the state if they want to."

Gilmore in high demand

Receiving a commitment from Gilmore would be a big win for the Gophers based on his three other finalists. He officially visited Miami (Fla.) last weekend — "It was awesome," he said — and has visits to Oklahoma (June 16-18) and Oregon (June 23-25) scheduled. Gilmore said he cancelled a visit to Kansas State that was slated for Monday through Wednesday. He plans to announce his decision in early July.

In the Gophers' favor with Gilmore are the bonds he's developed with Fleck, defensive line coach Winston DeLattiboudere III and defensive coordinator Joe Rossi.

"The coaches there are the main thing for me because I love Coach Fleck, Coach Debo and Rossi," Gilmore said. "For me, the relationships are the top thing."

That goes for Gilmore's potential teammates, too. Carrier, who committed to the Gophers last June 19, recently posted a Twitter video of a workout with Gilmore. And Gilmore has been a regular on campus, attending a Gophers camp last year, their Junior Day in January and making at least three unofficial visits.

"This weekend's gonna be really exciting because I'll be going up there with all the committed guys," Gilmore said, "and that's who I'd be playing with."