Minnesota head football coach P.J. Fleck argues with officials during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Minnesota’s been working their tails off on the recruiting trail during this COVID-19 dead period, and it’s paid off with the top rated corner to commit to Minnesota in the 247Sports era.

One of the top corners on the West Coast in 2021 Desert Edge (Ariz.) cornerback Steven Ortiz Jr. has committed to the Gophers over early offers from Oregon, Washington, Penn State, Mississippi State, Washington State and Arizona among others.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound corner took recent fall / winter visits to Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Penn State and Rutgers. Ortiz has yet to visit Minnesota, but has an official visit planned to Dinkytown for this summer.

Ortiz is currently rated the No. 17 corner in the country on 247Sports ranks, with a 4-star grading of 90, which places him as the #232 overall recruit in the country. Only one defensive back ranks above him on the 247Sports composite all-time for Gopher commits and that’s Michael Carter. Carter did not receiver a 247Sports grade (247 wasn’t around), so Ortiz ranks as the top defensive back commit in 247’s history for Minnesota.

He’s the seventh addition to-date for the Gophers class of 2021, which currently sits at No. 16 nationally in the early 247Sports Composite class rankings and No. 7 in the Big Ten.

Here’s what Ortiz told GopherIllustrated back in March about his Minnesota interest.

“From Minnesota, I’ve been hearing the most from head coach PJ Fleck, defensive coordinator Joe Rossi and also defensive backs coach Joe Harasymiak. They’ve just been building a relationship with me and saying they can’t wait to meet me and that type of stuff.

The Gophers see me as a nickel corner, but also feel like I’m versatile enough to play a lot of different spots in their secondary. I feel like I could have an opportunity to compete early at a great program with an amazing coaching staff and that’s another reason I am so interested. They’ve brought up Antoine Winfield to me, but they also told me they want me to be me. That they want me to be the best version of myself and play my game. Minneapolis looks like a beautiful city and there is a direct flight from Arizona.

Minnesota is definitely one of my top schools right now. I’ve also been talking to Philip Riley about Minnesota. We have had some good conversations, but I don’t want to say too much because I can’t really speak for him. But we play on the same 7-on-7 club team and we always talk about how cool it would be to be able to play together at the next level. My goal is to make a decision no later than August 1st. I want to find the best fit and make a decision. I also want it done then so that I can rep that school for my whole senior year and also help to recruit other guys to join me. And so the process can be over and I can focus on my senior season. We lost in the state championship last year and I’m trying to go get that ring this season.”

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