Blaise Andries, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound senior offensive tackle from Marshall (MN) High, committed to Minnesota in April.
Andries helped lead the Tigers to a 9-2 mark as a junior, losing to Stewartville 35-7 in the first round of the Class AAAA state tournament. They finished 8-1 in 2014, being upset by Waseca in the first round of the playoffs after being them 35-6 three weeks before
Gopher Hole recently caught up with Andries to talk about the latest on his upcoming season, commitment and recent injury.
Gopher Hole: Obviously, you have an injury. What happened?
Blaise Andries: I jammed my thumb in team camp on Wednesday. I played through it on Friday. We scrimmaged and I braced it up and it was fine.
Gopher Hole: What did the doctors say?
Blaise Andries: Jammed. Sprained.
Gopher Hole: How long are you going to be out?
Blaise Andries: Not too long. It should be the next week or so with our break before we start practice.
Gopher Hole: So you won't miss any games or anything like that?
Blaise Andries: No.
Gopher Hole: You were first commit for the Class of 2017. Since then, they have picked up a few other commitments on the offensive line (Corey Gainor and Brett Kitrell). I have seen on social media that you have been active in talking to those kids. Did you know those kids before then at all?
Blaise Andries: Before then, I had gotten to know them, Corey and Brett and Big E (Eric Abojei) before. After they committed, I really reached out to them as our class for our commitments, we've all started up a group message and we are starting to get to know each other better on the daily.
Gopher Hole: I know that was one thing that the Class of 2016 really focused on since they had a lot of Minnesota kids. Has that been something that you guys have taken the initiative to do?
Blaise Andries: Yes. It is great to have the home state kids and if we get the people out of state, we are really welcoming to them, too.
Gopher Hole: Is it kind of nice to get a relationship built with those kids even before you are teammates?
Blaise Andries: Yes. It is great to get to know them, so once you all do get on campus, you know each other and it just makes it easier to transition.
Gopher Hole: I would assume that they are mostly done with offensive lineman in this class. Is it nice that you have gotten to know them and are hopefully going to be together for the next four or five years?
Blaise Andries: Yes. It is good to have known them. I'm not sure what Coach Miller's plan is on the line to see how many others we will take, but it is good to get to know these guys early.
Gopher Hole: When I talked to you before right after you had committed, you were building a relationship with Coach Miller. What have you built since the time of your commitment?
Blaise Andries: Basically, just keeping updates with him on the weekly. I have been up to visit him, where we have gotten to know each other's family. He knows my parents well. I know his family well. Basically, just getting to know the little things better. I am liking what I see.
Gopher Hole: How do you think that you fit in with the style of offensive line that he wants to have at Minnesota?
Blaise Andries: I think that I will fit in pretty well. Our high school is a run-dominant high school. We'll be able to pass this year, too. I think that Coach Miller really likes people that can dominate the line and really get a push off the ball.
Gopher Hole: Your former teammate, Drew (Hmielewski) is there. What is he telling you about what he is seeing so far?
Blaise Andries: He loves it, actually. He is really having a fun time with all of his friends. I think that the words he put it in was "it is like a vacation that never ends." He is doing his school work, too, but it is like a vacation with your friends that never ends, he said. I would love to be playing football on my vacation.
Gopher Hole: Is that kind of nice to have that relationship with him, so you know someone when you get there, too?
Blaise Andries: I have been getting to know the class above me, too with Carter (Coughlin) and Kamal (Martin) and all of them and Conner Olsen.
Gopher Hole: Obviously, you guys had a great year last year. What are the expectations for the upcoming season?
Blaise Andries: We have got high expectations. Our goal is to win state. That is what we are shooting for and hopefully, we can all stay healthy for that. I think that we have got a chance, if we all work hard. Keep working hard through practice and everything and have the right attitude about it.
Gopher Hole: Football is starting for you and the Gophers soon. What are you expecting from
Minnesota this season?
Blaise Andries: I am expecting that they will do really well this year, especially with the class that they have coming in. Everyone is healthy again this year and the O line is looking good and the D line has been good, too. There is a lot of expectations. I think that they will do really well.