Esko's Koi Perich announces commitment to Minnesota

The four-star recruit fielded offers from nine teams, including six in the Big Ten Conference.

Running back crosses the plane
Esko running back Koi Perich crosses the goal line for his second touchdown against Two Harbors in the Section 7AAA quarterfinals on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022 at Esko Stadium Field.
Amy Arntson / 2022 File / Cloquet Pine Journal

ESKO — Esko junior Koi Perich took to Twitter on Wednesday, April 19, to announce his commitment to play Division I football at the University of Minnesota after fielding offers from nine other teams, including six in the Big Ten Conference.

The decision to pick the Gophers came after having the chance to interact with past players and future teammates during an Alumni Night event held Friday, April 14.

“I got to talk to all of their alumni and all of their recruits (and) that really sealed it for me,” he said. “And just the relationships that I’ve built with them so far, and I know I can continue building those.”

Perich, a 6-foot, 1-inch safety and running back for the Eskomos was named the Duluth News Tribune and Cloquet Pine Journal All-Area Football Player of the Year after compiling 75 tackles, three interceptions and four fumble recoveries on defense.

In the tweet, Perich thanked the coaches from throughout the country who recruited him.


"I would like to thank Coach Fleck and Coach Collins for recruiting me and making this feel like home. With that being said ... Sign me up. #RTB," the tweet said.

Perich found the end zone 25 times overall via rushing (11), receiving (9), punt returns (3) and kick returns (2). The Eskomos finished his junior season with a second-straight trip to the Class AA state tournament.

The multi-sport star is listed as a four-star recruit on the website 247 Sports, and is ranked as the No. 2 overall recruit in the state of Minnesota for the class of 2024.

He joins Simon Seidl (Hill-Murray), Mason Carrier (Detroit Lakes), Mo Saine (Eden Prairie) and Jide Abasiri (Prior Lake) on the list of in-state recruits for the 2024 class who have already committed to play for the University of Minnesota.

The appeal of playing for his home-state team and fans was hard to pass up, according to Perich.

“That’s what I was aiming at. Being able to play in front of the hometown crowd is going to be pretty fun,” he said.

Before heading south to Dinkytown, Perich will lead the Eskomos for one final season as a senior.

The team’s united pursuit of a state title continues to be a motivating factor in the offseason.


“We’ve been one or two plays away the last two years from getting there and I just hope we can do it in this final year with my boys who I've grown up with. So hopefully we can get it done,” Perich said.

Esko head football coach Scott Arntson shared that Perich will be more of a focal point in the offense next season after being part of a three-headed monster backfield with future University of Wisconsin-Stout and Winona State University freshmen Nolan Witt and Javontae Gregory, along with senior wide receiver Carter Zezulka.

“Last year, obviously we wanted to get him the ball, but it was kind of more (about) what the defense was giving us, and we had Nolan (Witt) and Javontae (Gregory) and Carter (Zezulka). Our game plan may change a little bit as far as how we creatively get Koi the ball,” he said.

This story was updated at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 19 with quotes from Koi Perich and Esko football coach Scott Arntson, along with additional recruiting information. It was originally posted at 10:36 a.m.

Esko falls to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton
Esko's Makoi Perich fends off Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton's Jordan Summers on a touchdown reception during the Minnesota 3A quarterfinals in Brainerd on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.
Dave Samson / 2022 File / The Forum

Jake Przytarski is a reporter for the Cloquet Pine Journal covering a mix of news and sports.
What To Read Next
Get Local