Daniel Faalele, a 3-star offensive lineman listed at 6-foot-8, is one of the biggest recruits — and biggest new 2018 signees. The Minnesota signee also has one of the more interesting stories going into the early signing period.
Faalele is 400 pounds — and didn’t play a down of football until this season. He’s also at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., by way of Australia.
With Faalele signing to Minnesota, the Gophers could finish around the Top 25 in recruiting rankings.
Daniel Faalele: Stats, bio
Name: Daniel Faalele
Weight: 400 pounds
School/Team: IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
"He'll fit right in with the #Gophers culture."
— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) December 20, 2017
Daniel Faalele: Recruiting rankings
National: No. 398
Position: No. 30
State (Fla.): 72
Note: These rankings are from 247 Sports
Daniel Faalele: Commitment
Faalele committed to Minnesota and coach P.J. Fleck after going on an official on Dec. 8. Faalele has an impressive list of offers, including College Football Playoff participants Alabama and Georgia. The lineman also took official visits to those schools.
Faalele picked up an offer from the Gophers in March.
The IMG prospect even tagged his location as Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium when making his commitment.
“I am 1000% committed to the university of Minnesota. Please respect my decision,” Faalele wrote.
— Daniel Faalele🇦🇺 (@DanielFaalele_) December 10, 2017
Faalele was at Michigan’s satellite camp in Melbourne last summer and started gaining attention and traction with his recruitment. The big lineman isn’t the only IMG player committed to Minnesota, either.
IMG teammate Zack Annexstad, a quarterback, is also part of the signing class. Curtis Dunlap is the brightest star so far to sign, however. Dunlap is a 4-star recruit as a guard and committed to the Gophers on Dec. 9. The 6-foot-4, 368-pound Dunlap is rated No. 198 nationally.
As ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren reports, a Hawaii recruiter found Faalele in a Melbourne gym to jump-start Faalele’s football career.
Though Michigan once was seen as the favorite because of that early connection with the satellite camp, the Gophers earned Faalele’s commitment over the Wolverines, Georgia and Tennessee. On December 20, Faalele officially signed.