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Top recruit Alex Reigelsperger made haste in picking Gophers

Dayton, Ohio, defensive end Alex Reigelsperger gave an oral commitment to join the Gophers' 2018 recruiting class on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. He posed in a Gophers uniform during his visit last weekend. Photo courtesy of Alex Reigelsperger

MINNEAPOLIS — Alex Reigelsperger was disappointed in his older brother's pick in rental cars for their long drive from Dayton, Ohio, to Minneapolis in the wee hours of Saturday morning, Oct. 14.

Jesse Reigelsperger selected a practical Nissan Altima, instead of the sleeker Dodge Charger that Alex wanted.

"Something with a little bit more speed to it," Alex lamented.

After only three hours of sleep after his football game with Wayne High School on Friday night, Alex, Jesse and their father Doug made the 11-hour, 700-mile drive northwest to arrive in time for the Gophers' Saturday night game against Michigan State at TCF Bank Stadium.

Continuing the pace he displayed and sought during his unofficial visit, Alex gave an oral commitment Sunday night to Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck and the Gophers' 2018 class. The 6-foot-3, 247-pound defensive end is the top-rated recruit in Minnesota's incoming class and the No. 157 player on ESPN's Top 300 list.

Reiglsperger got his first scholarship offer from Kentucky in January 2016 and made his first campus visit to see Fleck at Western Michigan that February. Fleck offered Reigelsperger a scholarship on that stop in Kalamazoo, Mich., but he committed to Kentucky last February. He rescinded that commitment Oct 9.

"I've moved on and I'm a Gopher now," Reigelsperger said of his decision. "I'm going to be a Gopher for three or four years and for years after that. I'm focused on getting a state (championship) ring (with his high school team), and if that doesn't work out, I'm focused on winning a national championship at Minnesota."

Reigelsperger plans to enroll at Minnesota in January. The Gophers anticipate anywhere from four to eight pledges from the 2018 class starting college this winter.

Gophers assistant coaches divide up areas of the country, with offensive line coach Ed Warriner handling Ohio. He is from Strasburg, Ohio, attended Division III powerhouse Mount Union and was Ohio State's co-offensive coordinator from 2012-14 and the sole coordinator in 2015-16. He joined Fleck at Minnesota in January.

Warriner recruited Reigelsperger's former teammate at Wayne, Robert Landers, to the Buckeyes.

"(Landers) had nothing but positive to say about (Warinner), and I've got nothing but positive things to say about him," Reigelsperger said.

The Gophers also cross-recruit high school players with position coaches, so defensive line coach Bryce Paup, the four-time Pro Bowl player with 75 career NFL sacks, was involved in courting Reigelsperger, too.

"From the first time I met (Paup), I told him that I wanted to play for somebody that played in the league, knows what it takes to play in the league and (really) didn't just play in the league," Reigelsperger said.

Reigelsperger has been chatting with a fellow Ohio prep player headed to the Gophers, Shelby quarterback Brennan Armstrong.

"He better not be afraid to let me chase him around in practice every now and then," Reigelsperger said.

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.