Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck, right, hugs wide receiver Tyler Johnson after Minnesota defeated Auburn during the Outback Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Minnesota Gophers added their fifth four-star recruit to their 2021 recruiting class on Saturday, landing Illinois running back Mar’Keise Irving to add another elusive option to their backfield.

Irving is a 5-foot-10, 175-pound running back that excels in creating explosive plays for an offense. According to 247Sports analyst Allen Trieu, Irving’s speed isn’t at the elite level, but good enough to turn shorter runs into huge gains and is still developing as a pass-catcher.

“[Irving] can play in any scheme and has a skill set that projects well to college,” Trieu said. “[He’s] likely to be a lead back at the Power 5 level and has the tools to end up having his name called in the middle part of the NFL Draft.”

The Gophers’ 2021 recruiting class remains at sixth in the nation after Irving’s commitment and joins cornerbacks Avantae Dickerson and Steven Ortiz, quarterback Athan Kalikamanis and athlete Sam Jackson as four-star commits.


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