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Ihmir Smith-Marsette tells cringeworthy Minnesota recruiting story

'Yeah, go ahead show us that you put that up so we can have everybody know that you're locked in.'
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Did you know that Ihmir Smith-Marsette originally committed to play football at the University of Minnesota before changing his mind and starring at Iowa?

Smith-Marsette, who has spent three years in the NFL with the Vikings, Bears and Panthers, told his Minnesota recruiting story during an appearance on the Men on Melrose podcast, a show all about the Hawkeyes. 

Long story short: Smith-Marsette alleges Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck and others put a lot of pressure on him to commit and then go public with his commitment back in 2017. 

"Man, it's like, everything looked so golden. Everything is gonna be like tailor-made just for you, and that's the talk to every single recruit. And honestly how you going to do that for every single recruit?" And it's just like, alright, now [Fleck gets me in his office], it's like, 'Hey listen kid that doesn't know anything about anything, this offer is right here right now and if you don't take it I can't promise you that it's going to be there if you walk out that door,'" Smith-Marsette said.

"Being one of those kids that really don't know anything it's like, 'Well, if I don't accept this I don't know what's after this.' It's just tough hearing [Fleck] basically like it's us or nothing and you don't know and everything's going to be great for you. I don't even know one kid from my class that went there and made it."

Smith-Marsette gave Fleck and Minnesota a verbal commitment. That's when he alleges he was put under a lot of pressure to announce his decision on social media. 

"I told them I would commit," he continued. "I was just going to tell them that and get on the bus, the flight back to New Jersey and just not let anybody know that I'm committed there. On my way to the bus to the airport, they was just saying like 'Hey we got this photograph that we want you to post and let the whole world know. I was like, 'I'll post it when I get home.' They was, 'OK.' As we go onto the bus and stuff they stopped me, they were like "Hey we want you to put that out right now just to let everybody know you're coming here and you're locked in here.' 

"I just kept shaking it off. I shook them off probably like 2-3 times and then finally right before we were about to leave, everybody's getting dropped off at the airport, they stopped the bus, they pull me off, they said 'Yeah, go ahead show us that you put that up so we can have everybody know that you're locked in.' 

"So I posted it on Twitter and I got home and I sat down and was thinking, 'I really don't want to go there.' And it was just heavy on me and I was like, 'F*** it I'm going to Iowa.' That's my choice and then I deleted the commitment and then signing day I just signed with Iowa. 

How did the Gophers respond once he changed his mind?

"They was trying to call me, they was coming to my school ... all type of stuff," he said.

Smith-Marsette mentioned that he doesn't know anyone from the 2017 Gophers recruiting class who "made it." That's where he's wrong. That recruiting class featured offensive lineman Blaise Andries and John Michael Schmitz, running back Mohamed Ibrahim, edge rushers Boye Mafe and Esezi Otomewo and quarterback Tanner Morgan. 

Mafe and Michael Schmitz were second-round picks in the NFL, while Andries and Ibrahim were undrafted NFL free agents. Otomewo was a fifth-round pick by the Vikings in 2022. Morgan set passing records at Minnesota and has had cups of coffee in the NFL with the Steelers and Vikings. 

Smith-Marsette was drafted by the Vikings in the fifth round in 2021 after scoring 17 touchdowns (13 receiving, four rushing) and racking up more than 1,600 receiving yards in four years at Iowa. 

Ihmir Smith-Marsette

Nov 16, 2019; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6) catches a 6 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nate Stanley (not pictured) during the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Kinnick Stadium.