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The Gophers football team made it official Wednesday morning, signing 21 high school players, five transfers and seven preferred walk-ons. It was the start of football's early signing period. Here's the Gophers 2023 recruiting class with players ranked by star grade via the 247Sports composite ratings of major recruiting services.

Jerome Williams, OL

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-4, 295, 4

From Osseo High School. Highest-rated Gophers recruit is the second-ranked player in Minnesota and 24th-ranked interior offensive lineman nationally in the 247Sports composite ratings. Also had offers from Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas and West Virginia.

Jerome Williams
Jerome Williams

Star Tribune, Star Tribune

Darius Taylor, RB

Ht./Wt./Stars: 5-11, 202, 4

From Walled Lake (Mich.) Western. The highly productive back rushed for 2,450 yards and 36 TDs in 11 games this season, averaging 9.1 yards per carry and earning first team All-State honors. Michigan, Notre Dame, Iowa and Wisconsin came on late, but Taylor stayed true to the Gophers.

Greg Johnson, OL

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-6, 305, 3

From Prior Lake. Third-ranked recruit in Minnesota in the 247Sports composite and 39th-ranked interior offensive lineman nationally. Wyoming, Air Force and Iowa State were among his suitors.

Donielle Hayes, WR

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-0, 180, 3

From Pensacola (Fla.) Pine Forest. Caught 43 passes for 743 yards and nine TDs as a senior. Also averaged 47.7 yards on his three rushes, all TDs.

Marquese Williams, RB

Ht./Wt./Stars: 5-8, 181, 3

From Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt. Rushed for 1,504 yards and 27 TDs for Class 4A state champion. Averaged 9 yards per carry and caught 20 passes for 317 yards and four TDs.

Kenric Lanier II, WR

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-1½, 180, 3

From Decatur, Ga. Originally committed to Vanderbilt but flipped to the Gophers on Monday. Caught 64 passes for 1,156 yards and 12 TDs this season.

Za'Quan Bryan, CB

Ht./Wt./Stars: 5-9, 180, 3

From Savannah (Ga.) Benedictine Military School. Has 10.95-second speed in the 100-meter dash and contributed 72 tackles and four interceptions for Class 4A state champs. Also caught 63 passes for 680 yards and eight TDs.

Karter Menz, Edge

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-5, 215, 3

From West Fargo (N.D.) Sheyenne. Top-rated prospect in North Dakota helped his team win state title as a junior and had offers from Nebraska, Stanford and Washington State among others.

Phillip Daniels, OL

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-5, 285, 3

From Cincinnati Princeton. Originally committed to Pittsburgh but decommitted from the Panthers in November. Gophers stayed in touch after Daniels' visit last spring.

Martin Owusu, DL

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-3, 290, 3

From Prior Lake. The fourth-ranked player in Minnesota in the 247Sports composite, Owusu had seven sacks and nine tackles for loss among his 45 tackles for the Lakers this season.

Kerry Brown, S

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-0, 175, 3

From Naples (Fla.). Collected 76 tackles (11 for loss), broke up five passes and forced three fumbles this season. Made 225 tackles over three years.

Reese Tripp, OT

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-7, 315, 3

From Kasson-Mantorville. Seventh-ranked recruit in Minnesota also had offers from Iowa State, Temple and Central Michigan.

Sam Peters, TE

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-4, 225, 3

From Maple Grove. Battled injuries this season, finishing with three catches — all TDs — for 73 yards in two games played for Class 6A state champs. Caught nine passes for 264 yards and four TDs as a junior.

Sam Peters
Sam Peters

Star Tribune, Star Tribune

Alex Elliott, LB

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-2, 200, 3

From Hutchinson. Amassed 104 tackles and intercepted three passes for Class 4A state runner-up. Versatile player also rushed for four TDs.

Drew Viotto, QB

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-4, 215, 3

From Walled Lake (Mich.) Western. While teammate Darius Taylor ran wild, Viotto was an efficient 110-for-165 passing for 1,875 yards and 16 TDs with five interceptions this season, earning All-State honors.

Pierce Walsh, TE

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-4, 223, 3

From Lisle (Ill.) Benet Academy. Caught 32 passes for 450 yards and three TDs this season. Rutgers, Navy, Air Force and Army were among his suitors.

TJ McWilliams, WR

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-1, 170, 3

From Indianapolis North Central. Originally committed to Purdue but flipped to Gophers on Monday. Caught 36 passes for 434 yards and seven TDs this season.

Theorin Randle, DL

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-1, 282, 3

From Pearland (Texas) Shadow Creek. Amassed 73 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and seven sacks over the past two seasons.

Garrison Monroe, S

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-0, 195, 3

From Shakopee. Two-way player in high school made 41 tackles along with rushing for 643 yards and eight TDs, averaging 14.3 yards per carry.

De'Eric Mister, OT

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-7, 300, 3

From Gary (Ind.) West Side. Massive tackle also had offers from Kentucky and three MAC schools. Earned All-Area honors from the Chicago Tribune.

Matt Kingsbury, LB

Ht./Wt./Stars: 6-3, 235, 3

From Chicago St. Rita. Had 131 tackles, 11 sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception this season. Named Athlete of the Year in the Chicago Catholic League's Green Division.


Elijah Spencer, WR

Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 190

From UNC Charlotte. Highly productive wideout in his two years with the 49ers, catching 57 passes for 943 yards and nine touchdowns in 2022 and 28 for 381 yards and six TDs in 2021 while being named Conference USA Freshman of the Year.

Elijah Spencer
Elijah Spencer

Associated Press, Star Tribune

Corey Crooms Jr., WR

Ht./Wt.: 5-11, 170

From Western Michigan. Caught 57 passes for 814 yards and five TDs this season for the Broncos. Should help immediately in the slot for the Gophers.

Ryan Selig, LB

Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 210

From Western Michigan. Converted tight end had 73 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks this season.

Jack Henderson, S

Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 205

From Southeastern Louisiana. Led his team with 90 tackles in 2022, including 55 solo and seven for loss. Had two sacks and two interceptions on his way to first team All-Southland Conference honors.

Chris Collins, Edge

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 245

From North Carolina. The Richmond, Va., native had 20 tackles and one-half tackle for loss in 2022 after collecting 29 tackles, five tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks in 2021.


The Gophers also added seven preferred walk-on players. They are: Eastview punter Caleb McGrath, Elburn (Ill.) long snapper Ryan Algrim, Maple Grove defensive back Jackson Powers, Eau Claire (Wis.) linebacker Zander Rockow, Stillwater quarterback Max Shikenjanski, Mequon (Wis.) linebacker Drew Wilson and Detroit Lakes defensive back Ethan Carrier.