Pierce Walsh planned on committing to a college program some time in May, but after going through the recruitment process for much of his junior year, he didn’t want to wait any longer.
The Benet junior committed to Minnesota on Saturday and announced his decision over Twitter on Monday.
“I knew that I wanted to go to Minnesota,” Walsh said. “They gave me an opportunity and I just took it.”
The tight end prospect had 14 scholarship offers from Minnesota, Rutgers, Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Toledo, Army, Air Force and Navy.
Walsh’s decision came down to his two Power-Five offers, Minnesota and Rutgers. Minnesota offered Walsh in late February while Rutgers offered in December.
Walsh knew he wanted to play in the Big Ten and enjoyed his visits to New Jersey, but he fell in love with the atmosphere at Minnesota on his second visit to campus at the beginning of April, which made the decision easier.
He sat in on a tight ends position meeting while he visited and enjoyed getting to know tight ends coach Greg Harbuagh Jr. Walsh said he met a lot of people with Chicago connections throughout his visit, which helped him feel like he was home.
Walsh was also impressed with the culture head coach P.J. Fleck built during his time at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have won three bowl games since Fleck arrived in 2017 and Walsh became confident the coaches would put him in a position to succeed.
“I think they’re going to really develop me as a person and as a player,” Walsh said. “In all aspects, I think it will be a good place to be around, I think the guys are going to be good.”
247Sports lists Walsh as a three-star prospect, 23rd-best in the state while Rivals ranks him as a three-star, 22nd-best in Illinois.
As a 6-foot-4 and 212-pound prospect, Benet coach Patrick New knows Walsh will be a valuable piece for the Gophers. New watched the junior grow throughout the program and start to get interest from schools his junior year.
Walsh will need to add more weight before he sees some college action, but New knows Walsh’s explosive speed for his frame will make him a valuable player, one who could play at tight end or sometimes go out as a wide receiver if Minnesota coaches need.
“I think it’s a huge plus,” New said. “It’s something he can bring to a program. It’s really great when you don’t have to make a personnel change on the field.”
Walsh admitted that he felt like a weight was lifted off his shoulders after making his decision. It won’t hit him until a couple weeks, he said, and it felt surreal to be in a position where he’ll be playing college football.
Now Walsh will spend the remainder of the spring and over the summer working on becoming a better football player and getting ready for his final season of high school football.
“I’m stoked to focus on my senior season, my friends who I’ve been friends with for the past 10 years,” Walsh said. “I’m really excited for that and to work my [butt] off to win a state championship.”