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Q&A: Junior LB Jesse Cardenas On Possibility of Playing for U: "That would be awesome."

02/09/2014, 9:00pm CST
By Chris Monter

Jesse Cardenas, a 6-2, 215lb junior linebacker from Lakeville (MN) North, is one of the state's top defenders in the Class of 2015.

Jesse Cardenas, a 6-2, 215lb junior linebacker from Lakeville (MN) North, is one of the state's top defenders in the Class of 2015. Cardenas was a regular attendee at the Golden Gopher home games and helped lead a Panther defense that had five shutouts this past season. Cardenas attended the Gophers Junior Day on Sunday.


Gopher Hole recently caught up Cardenas to learn the latest on his recruitment. 


Gopher Hole: Are you starting to hear from some more schools now?


Jesse Cardenas: A little bit.


Gopher Hole: What schools are you hearing from right now?


Jesse Cardenas: The same. The "U" a little bit. Northern Illinois. I went down there in November and visited them and Northern Iowa, a little bit.


Gopher Hole: It looks like you got a little bit bigger?


Jesse Cardenas: Yes. I am 215 right now. Maintaining my speed and everything.


Gopher Hole: What things have you been working on to try to continue to improve yourself as a player?


Jesse Cardenas: A lot of vertical stuff and speed stuff. Ladder drills. Bag drills. Everything to get myself better for next year.


Gopher Hole: Have you been that through the school or are you working with a trainer?


Jesse Cardenas: School and I have two different trainers that I go to five days a week 


Gopher Hole: Can you tell that it has made a difference?
Jesse Cardenas: Yes. A big difference. I am getting faster. I am getting stronger. I have never been this fast and I have never been this strong in my life.


Gopher Hole: Have you thought about what camps you might attend this summer?
Jesse Cardenas: I am thinking about Wisconsin. Definitely, the "U" senior day. Maybe go to two of those and I am going to go down to Northern Illinois camp, for sure.


Gopher Hole: Obviously, you had a great season this past year, making to the class 6A semifinals. You lose a lot of good seniors. What are the expectations for next year?
Jesse Cardenas: I think that we are going to be better than ever. We have a lot of guys returning on defense. We have our quarterback coming back (sophomore Drew Stewart). Our sophomore class is going to be really good, I think. I think we are going to make it to state again and make a good run.


Gopher Hole: You are probably going to be asked to be more of a leader this year. Is that something that you are looking forward to?
Jesse Cardenas: Yes. I am going to be a captain with my twin brother and my other linebacker, Tristyn Hanson, so it should be a good year. We are going to lead the team to a good state finals run.


Gopher Hole: That has to make you feel pretty proud to be elected as a captain by your teammates?
Jesse Cardenas: Very proud. It means a lot to me because I spent a lot of time with those guys, so it means the world.


Gopher Hole: What would it mean to have a chance to play at a Division I level?
Jesse Cardenas: It would be a dream come true. It is something that I have been dreaming about ever since I was a little kid and hopefully my hard work will pay off and I'll be there some day.


Gopher Hole: What would it mean to maybe to have a chance to play for the home state school?
Jesse Cardenas: That would be awesome. That is every player's dream to have their parents come out to watch them play every game. That would be awesome.

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