East St. Louis senior quarterback Reyondous Estes announced in August that the University of Missouri was a better fit than Western Michigan, the college football program that got his first verbal commitment.
Wednesday, he decided that the Minnesota Golden Gophers are tailor-made.
Estes announced on Twitter that he is “bringing the recruiting process to an end” and that he would become a “proud Gopher.”
“It’s been a long journey and I’m more than bless(ed) to play on the next level,” the tweet said.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Verbal commitments are non-binding, so his decision to go to Minnesota won’t be official until he puts it in ink on National Letter of Intent Day Feb. 1.
The athletic Estes was among St. Louis area leaders with 2,454 yards passing and 26 touchdowns against just five interceptions. He also ran for 533 yards and eight touchdowns in leading the Flyers to a 14-0 record and East Side’s eighth state football championship.
According to 247Sports, Estes is a three-star prospect, rated 32nd overall in Illinois and 77th nationally at his position. He’s listed at 6 feet tall and 170 pounds.
After completing three touchdown passes in the championship win over Plainfield North, Estes suggested that Missouri might not be his eventual destination. He said he also was considering Iowa, Illinois, Tulane and New Mexico.
Estes’ favorite target, wide receiver Jeff Thomas, continues to weigh his mounting offers.
Thomas caught 58 passes for 1,198 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Flyers in 2016. He also pulled down an off-balanced Hail Mary pass from Estes in the waning moments of a second-round playoff win over Glenbard North that sent the Flyers to the state quarterfinals.
Since telling the BND in November that he had narrowed his choices to Alabama and Illinois, Thomas upped his stock with a record-breaking performance at the Under Armour All-American game in Orlando, Florida.
Miami is believed to be the new front runner to land the four-star prospect, who 247Sports ranks as the seventh-best high school wide receiver in the nation. Thomas said he won’t make his decision known before the Feb. 1 letter-signing day.
Earlier this week, East St. Louis linebacker James Knight announced he would attend the University of Illinois. Knight, 5-11 and 210 pounds, led the metro-east with 137 tackles to go with five sacks.
Five other players have been identified by East St. Louis head coach Darren Sunkett as potential Division-I prospects. They include linebackers Ken Dixon (111 tackles, 10 sacks, interception), Terrez Lagrone (75 tackles, 4 sacks) and LaMontre Harvey (112 tackles, 11 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries), and defensive backs Markevion Darough (82 tackles, 3 interceptions) and Tayler Cook (81 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions).