Blaise Andries, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound senior offensive tackle from Marshall (MN) High, committed to Minnesota in April.
Andries helped pace the Tigers to an 11-1 mark this year, losing to Benilde-St. Margaret's 44-34 in the semifinals of the Class AAAA state tournament.
Gopher Hole recently caught up with Andries to talk about the latest on his senior season, commitment and more and also eight days later at the Minnesota Vikings' game where he was honored at halftime.
Gopher Hole: You had a couple of nice honors last week, playing in the Minnesota Football Showcase, the first ever played in the new U.S. Bank Stadium. What was that experience like?
Blaise Andries: It was a great experience to get to play with people from the cities and everywhere else around the state. It was just really fun getting to know people and having one more game with my teammate Reece Winkelman (a tight end at Marshall) and my coach (Terry) Bahlmann.
Gopher Hole: What was the experience like playing at U.S. Bank Stadium?
Blaise Andries: That was the second time that we played there. We played there in the semifinals. It was a great experience. It was really a neat atmosphere. Just the whole thing that the Vikings did for us and the Minnesota Coaches Association, it was just amazing. It was just an amazing experience.
Gopher Hole: Does that ever get you thinking about to maybe have a chance to play in that kind of stadium down the road?
Blaise Andries: I'm not looking that far ahead. I am just going day to day, worrying about school and working hard in my respective sport and just working on a day-to-day basis.
Gopher Hole: In the All-Star game, you got a chance to play with a couple of players that you are going to be playing with next year like Dominick London, Grant Ryerse and Eric Abojei and got to know them a little bit better.
Blaise Andries: It was awesome. I was kind of wondering if that was what college felt like just being able to play football and hang out with your friends and stuff like that We weren't doing school work, so you have to add school work to that and that is what college would like for us. It was awesome, being able to hang out with those guys and get to know them better.
Gopher Hole: That game was Saturday and Sunday, you were one of ten finalists for the Minnesota Mr. Football Award, which is a pretty big honor anyway, but for a lineman, to be honest, it is hard to get recognized. It has to make pretty proud that even though you don't play one of the quote, unquote skilled positions, you were recognized as one of the best players in the state?
Blaise Andries: That was an amazing experience, also. We got to spend some more time with some of the players. I have been talking to them all week. They are great people and congrats to Wade Sullivan. He deserved it. He is a great guy. It was an awesome experience.
Gopher Hole: Now you are in basketball mode. You guys are off to a great start. You played a really good team in Minneapolis Patrick Henry and beat them pretty handily. How pleased are you with how well you played?
Blaise Andries: That was a great win. We really played together and props to Zach Bloemker (who had 32 points in the win). He really hit a lot of shots today and that just propelled our team forward and we were able play together, work hard on defense and really go out there and get the win today.
Gopher Hole: I saw you at pretty much every home game this year. The Gophers had a good year, 8-4 and to be honest, had a couple of games where they easily could have won. What was your impressions of the team this year?
Blaise Andries: They worked hard and they went out and got eight wins and got a good Bowl game and I am looking forward to seeing them play in the Holiday Bowl. Good luck to them and I'll be watching and it was a good season so far.
Gopher Hole: They have some good seniors like Mitch Leidner and some defensive players, but they are still a very young team and with your class coming in, I think that the expectations have to be pretty high. Have you thought about that for next year?
Blaise Andries: We have got to work hard, day by day and just see what will happen. I trust that the Coach Miller and Coach Claeys will coach as well and we'll just give them our best and hopefully, we'll get as far as we can.
Gopher Hole: I know that they recently announced that Coach Claeys will be back. Does that make you feel a little bit more secure?
Blaise Andries: I didn't even know that was going on at that moment, so it is good to hear that he got an extension. I'm looking forward to playing under him and Coach Miller and it will be a great next five or four years.
Gopher Hole: I know that you have gotten close to Eric and the other offensive line commits. I know that they have lost one player who you have gotten to know a little in Corey Gaynor. Was that kind of tough?
Blaise Andries: I wasn't expecting it at first, but when it happened, he got offered by his home state and that is the reason that I decided to go here, so I'm disappointed, but I can't blame him really. He can do whatever he wants and I am sure that Coach Miller has got another plan and I think that we will and pick right up.
Gopher Hole continued this interview last Sunday at the Vikings-Colts' game.
Gopher Hole: What was the experience like being here for the Minnesota Viking All-State team that was announced at halftime?
Blaise Andries: It was a good experience. It was my first NFL game that I have ever been to, so it is nice to see the atmosphere and everything. It is an honor to be named to the All-State team. I couldn't have done it without my teammates back home and my coaches and my community around me. .
Gopher Hole: Is that a nice way to culminate the whole year being a Mr. Football finalist and now this?
Blaise Andries: Yes. It has been a good senior year. It has been a really good way to go out. It has been a good end to the year and ready to get back to work and go play some basketball and finish out the senior year.
Gopher Hole: Obviously, you guys are playing great basketball right now. What would it mean to maybe to get to the state tournament? You came so close last year, losing in four overtimes in the section finals. You made it to the state semifinals in football as well. What would it mean to get to the state tournament in basketball?
Blaise Andries: It would mean a great bit. It would mean a lot because I have been to state in football and baseball and I haven't been in basketball, yet, so I would really like to see that. I just remember as a kid always watching the basketball team make it to state and play in the Barn and I think it would be an amazing experience.