If you are unfamiliar with the Minnesota Golden Gophers new coach, P.J. Fleck, his energy is infectious and his focus is on recruiting. The reason that Fleck was hired was because of an incident that happened with the team last year. On December 13, 2016, Minnesota Athletic Director suspended 10 players in connection with a sexual assault case. After these players were suspended, the team started a protest and stated that they would not play in the bowl game.

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Head Coach Tracy Claeys came out in support of the team, pitting the coaching staff against the administration. The Gophers took down Washington State in the bowl game to finish with a 9-4 record, one week later Claeys was fired. In the Gophers' job search, it basically came down to two candidates, P.J. Fleck and Les Miles. Minnesota decided to go with the young and upcoming coach, Fleck.

Fleck at Western Michigan

Fleck took over the Western Michigan program in 2013.

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The team struggled in its first year under Fleck, they went just 1-11 in their first year. The next two years the team improved, going 8-5 each of those two years. Last year was a huge year for Western Michigan, they finished the regular season with a record of 13-0 and ended up losing in the Cotton Bowl to Wisconsin 24-16. Fleck's enthusiasm makes young players gravitate to him. He is also able to relate to the players because of his young age.

After losing in the Cotton Bowl, Fleck got emotional for his players, some of the emotion may have been because Fleck saw the writing on the wall and expected to get another job offer in the offseason.

Changing the recruiting map

The Minnesota Gophers have never really been in the running for top recruits in the country. For years, they have been recruiting players that will fit their system and want to get players that will grow.

Fleck comes into the BigTen unafraid of recruiting hotspots Ohio State and Michigan. After having a short offseason because he was hired later, he still managed to put together a decent class for next season. He has also set a blistering pace with 13 verbal commits for the 2018 season. Iowa offensive coordinator and son of head coach, Brian Ferentz gave a shot to Fleck in an interview on the radio recently.

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He stated that Fleck was handing out scholarships like hotcakes and that he expects them to retract a few offers. Fleck vehemently denies this, he said his recruiting tactic is to talk to as many recruits as possible to get his foot in the door with players that the Gophers would have had no chance to get in previous years. Fleck is targeting much higher rated players than Jerry Kill or Tracy Claeys went after.

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Ten of the 13 recruits that Fleck has brought in have had offers from other power five schools, but decided on Minnesota.

After a couple of years of declining season ticket sales, the hype around Gopher football is trending in the right direction and since the hiring of Fleck, the season ticket sales have increased. It is safe to say that the state of Minnesota has been "inFLECKted."

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