Head Football Coach Glen Mason announced today that 20 student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to attend the University of Minnesota and play football for the Golden Gophers.
The list, which includes players from 10 different states and from every region around the country, is highlighted by six signees from Minnesota. In addition to one placekicker/punter, the group includes four defensive linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs on defense, to go along with three quarterbacks, two offensive linemen, two tight ends/wide receivers and one running back on offense.
"We signed 11 players on defense, eight on offense and one specialist so we are extremely pleased that we were able to fill some needs at every single position on both sides of the ball," Mason said. "Once again, closing the borders on the state of Minnesota is one of our highest priorities and we are really excited about the six student-athletes who will stay at home and play for the Golden Gophers. Overall, this is a very talented group. They all have the ability to develop into outstanding players during their careers."
6-2, 195, QB
Elizabeth, N.J. (Fork Union Military Academy)
Completed 62 percent of his passes and threw 18 touchdown passes in just seven games during the '98 season at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy.suffered just three interceptions and in the process broke NFL star Vinny Testaverde's school record for best touchdown-to-interception ratio.PrepStar All-America choice as a senior in '97 when he completed 116 of 173 passing attempts (67 percent) for 1,679 yards and 20 touchdowns, with just two interceptions at Elizabeth High School.third-team all-state choice and a first- team all-county selection in both '96 and '97.named the Watchung Conference Player of the Year as a senior.averaged 42.3 yards as the team's punter.calls winning the state championship his most memorable sports thrill.also a two-year letterwinner in basketball.cousin of Syracuse star receiver Quinton Spotwood.high school coach was Jerry Moore.son of Qasim Abdul-Khaliq.
6-2, 240, LB
St. Paul, Minn. (Cretin- Derham Hall HS)
Two-time all-state selection who registered 121 tackles, including 92 solos, as a senior in '98.also had 19 tackles for loss and two interceptions during final prep campaign.SuperPrep All-Midwest Team choice.collected 15 tackles in the Raiders' 7-6 loss to Champlin Park in the '98 Class 5A semifinals.three-year letterwinner who finished with 203 career tackles, including 156 solos. helped lead the school to a sterling 32-3 overall record during his prep career.also played defensive end, defensive tackle and fullback at one time or another for the Raiders.high school coach was Richard Kallock.son of Phillip and Sandy Archer.
5-9, 180, CB
Dallas, Texas (Fort Scott CC)
Comes to the U of M after spending the '98 season at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College and the '97 season at Arkansas State University.has two seasons of eligibility remaining.named the best cover corner in the conference in '98.registered 30 tackles, which included 26 solos and three tackles for loss, five pass breakups and four interceptions under Fort Scott CC coach Kevin Gundy .also blocked a kick last fall.played in nine games with one start as a true freshman at Arkansas State in '97.collected 13 tackles and two pass breakups for the Indians.played wide receiver, running back and defensive back during his prep career at Carter High School in Dallas.helped lead the school to the District II-5A title and the state playoffs three straight seasons with a combined 29-4 overall record.averaged over 37 yards every time he touched the ball.member of the '91 and '92 Pop Warner state and national champions.track letterwinner who was a medalist in the National Junior Olympics 4 x 100 meter relay.honor roll student.high school coach was Bruce Chambers.son of Tommy and Orien Brown, a former track star at TCU who holds the Texas Relays 100-yard dash record with a time of 10.4 seconds.sister Lakissha Brown currently runs track at TCU.
6-8, 280, OL
Afton, Minn. (Stillwater HS)
Earned all-state and Midwest all-region honors as a senior in '98.rated the 11th-best offensive lineman in the Midwest according to PrepStar.named the 36th-best player overall in the Midwest by SuperPrep.also collected all-area and all-conference honors during final prep campaign when he registered 20 pancake blocks for the Ponies.calls winning the '96 section final to advance to the state playoffs in the Metrodome his most memorable sports thrill.throws the shot put and discus for the school's track & field team in the spring.has surpassed the 50 foot mark in the shot put.honor roll student with a 3.5 GPA.high school coach was George Thole.son of David and Judy Dabruzzi.
6-2, 220, LB
Jersey City, N.J. (Ferris HS)
Three-time all-county selection during prep career.collected second-team all-state honors as a senior in '98 when he registered 120 tackles, which included 95 solos, 13 tackles for loss and two sacks.also forced three fumbles and recovered two.also played quarterback where he threw for 880 yards and completed 51 percent of his passes during final prep campaign.two-time team captain who has been selected to play in the North/South-East/West all-star game.has also earned letters as a forward on the school's basketball team and as a shot putter on the track & field team.interested in studying engineering.high school coach was Joe Blasucci. brother Roedell Dupree earned a letter in '95 as a linebacker at Ohio State.son of Roedell and Lucinda Dupree.
6-1, 190, DB
Columbus, Ohio (Whetstone HS)
Multi-talented athlete who played defensive back, linebacker, quarterback and running back at one time or another during his prep career.four-year letterwinner who earned first-team all-county and all-city honors as a senior in '98 when the school racked up its best record in 10 years with a 7-3 overall mark.registered 87 tackles, which included four sacks, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions during final prep campaign.also had 510 yards rushing and scored six touchdowns on the ground, to go along with 15 receptions for 198 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver in '98.chalked up 1,186 yards and 15 touchdowns rushing, along with 57 receptions for 570 yards and three touchdowns receiving during his prep career.three-year letterwinner as a small forward on the school's basketball team where he earned defensive player of the year honors.team MVP and a state meet qualifier as a sprinter in track & field.Scholar- Athlete Award winner.high school coach was Jack Raidiger.son of Carla Galloway.
6-6, 255, TE
Oak Creek, Wis. (Oak Creek HS)
All-area and all-conference selection as a senior in '98.has only played one season of football.had 14 receptions for 312 yards and one touchdown during final prep campaign.also served as the team's punter where he had a career-long 67-yard boot.calls playing in the state playoffs his most memorable sports thrill.standout performer on the school's basketball and baseball teams.plays forward-center on the hardwood and is a pitcher-third baseman on the diamond.registered a perfect 8-0 record on the hill as a junior.honor roll student.high school coach was Joe Koch.son of Dan and Judy Gitlewski.
6-7, 225, DE
Coleraine, Minn. (Greenway HS)
All-state selection as a senior in '98 when he registered 83 tackles, four sacks, eight pass breakups and three fumble recoveries.also played quarterback where he completed 83-of-149 pass attempts (.557 completion percentage) for 1,290 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior.three-time all-conference selection.outstanding athlete who has charted a storybook prep career.has earned a total of 12 letters in three different sports.all-state selection in baseball in '98 as a pitcher/first baseman.had an 11-2 record on the mound and hit .430 at the plate as a junior.all-conference performer as a defenseman on the school's hockey team.prep teammate of current Golden Gopher goalie Adam Hauser.honor roll student.Scholastic Achievement Award winner.interested in studying turf management at the U of M.high school coach was Bob Schwartz.son of Kathy and Kurt Johnson, who was a member of the Golden Gopher baseball team during his collegiate days.
6-3, 195, QB
Mayville, Wis. (Mayville HS)
Named Wisconsin's Offensive Player of the Year as a senior in '98 when he completed 81-of-137 passing attempts (.591 completion percentage) for 1,708 yards and 18 touchdowns with just four interceptions.two-time all-state selection and a three-time all-conference choice who completed 329-of-575 passing attempts (.572 completion percentage) for 5,618 yards and 52 touchdowns during his career.also collected first-team all-conference honors in '98 as the team's placekicker.two-time all-conference choice as a guard on the school's basketball team.averaged better than 20 points per game on the hardwood as a junior.honor roll student.interested in studying elementary education at the U of M.high school coach was Alex Hilber.son of Lloyd and Bonnie Kamrath.
6-5, 242, DE
Fort Ransom, N.D. (Lisbon HS)
Two-time all-state selection who was named the North Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year in '98.collected 160 tackles and had seven sacks as a senior when he helped lead the school to a 10-1 overall record.also forced 12 fumbles, recovered five fumbles, had eight pass breakups and intercepted three passes during final prep campaign.two-way performer who caught 26 passes for 453 yards and two touchdowns from his tight end position in '98.three-year letterwinner who finished his prep career with 498 tackles on defense and 59 receptions for 780 yards and five touchdowns on offense.all- conference selection as a forward-center on the school's basketball team.standout thrower on the track & field team as well.National Honor Society member with a perfect 4.0 GPA.class treasurer and student council member.interested in studying biological sciences at the U of M.high school coach was Robert Babach.son of John and Kathy Kwapinski.
6-8, 275, OL
Hartland, Wis. (Arrowhead HS)
Two-time all-area performer during prep career.named the 17th-best offensive lineman in the Midwest by PrepStar.SuperPrep All-Midwest Team selection.three- year letterwinner who helped lead the school to a 29-7 overall record during his prep career.sophomore on the school's 14-0 state championship team in '96.calls winning the state crown his most memorable sports thrill.interested in studying business at the U of M.high school coach was Tom Taraska. son of Julie McIntosh-Mrosz and Don Mrosz.
5-11, 220, LB
Hawthorne, CA (El Camino JC)
Second-team junior college All-America selection in '98 at El Camino JC by J.C. Gridwire after spending two seasons at BYU.one year at BYU was spent as a redshirt so he has two seasons of eligibility remaining.collected first-team all-state and all- Mission Conference honors at El Camino JC.received the team's MVP and Jim Hanchett Most Inspirational awards as well.junior college coach was John Featherstone.USA Today prep All-America choice as a senior in '92 at Hawthorne High School when he racked up a single-season school record 170 tackles.that included a whopping 26 tackles for loss and nine sacks.led the school to the C.I.F. championship over Bell Gardens during his final prep campaign.also a standout running back.had a 91- yard touchdown run as a senior.named the C.I.F. Division III Player of the Year.Cal-Hi Sports first- team all-state choice.named the Los Angeles Times Back of the Year.also the Bay League Defensive Player of the Year.two-time all-Bay League choice.earned four letters as a sprinter/hurdler in track & field.named the school's Athlete of the Year as a senior.interested in studying either international relations or business at the U of M.high school coach was Dan Robbins.son of Talite and Toilose Moala.
6-3, 205, LB
Columbus, Ohio (Mifflin HS)
Four-year starter who played linebacker, defensive end and running back during his prep career when the school racked up 31-10 overall record.selected to play in the prestigious "Big 33" all-star game this summer which pits the finest prep players from Ohio vs. those from Pennsylvania.registered 82 solo tackles as a senior in '98, which included 13 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.also recovered three fumbles, forced two fumbles and had an interception.two-way player who gained 580 yards rushing on 79 carries (7.3 yards per carry) and scored 10 touchdowns in '98.standout sprinter and horizontal jumper on the school's track & field team.placed fourth in the long jump at the '98 state track & field meet.power forward on the school's basketball team.12-time honor roll student.National Honor Society member.interested in studying pre-med at the U of M.high school coach was John Hackett.grandfather Clarence "Bump" Clark, who was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers after a standout collegiate career at West Virginia State, played two years with the Harlem Globetrotters.son of Paul E. Nixon, and Deborah and Steve Hughes.
5-11, 205, K
New Hope, Minn. (Cooper HS)
Two-time all-state and three-time all-conference selection during prep career.rated the third best placekicker/punter in the Midwest by PrepStar.became the first high school player in Minnesota history to kick two field goals of 50-plus yards in the same game.connected on 7-of-12 field goal attempts as a senior in '98.averaged 40.8 yards per punt as a senior with a career-long of 60 yards to his credit.versatile athlete who also played fullback and linebacker for the Hawks.had 804 yards rushing on 149 carries (5.4 yards per carry) and scored six touchdowns on offense, and racked up 110 tackles, eight tackles for loss and four sacks on defense during final prep campaign.earned all- state honors in wrestling.has also earned letters as an outfielder in baseball and a shot put and discus competitor in track & field.honor roll student.high school coach was John Oelfke.high school teammate of current Golden Gopher running back Robert Williams.his uncle Lee Nystrom played pro football.son of Norman and Susan Nystrom.
6-3, 190, QB
Belleville, Ill. (East HS)
SuperPrep All-Midwest Team selection.outstanding all- around athlete who completed 64-of-110 pass attempts (.582 completion percentage) for 1,190 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior in '98.also gained 440 yards and scored seven touchdowns on the ground.two-time all- conference and all-area performer.team captain during final prep campaign.helped lead the school to the Southwestern Conference title as a junior.calls that his most memorable sports thrill.small forward on the basketball team where he also serves as the team captain.averaging 14 points per game on the hardwood.interested in studying physical therapy at the U of M.high school coach was Mike McGinnis.son of Monik and Anthony Patterson.
6-4, 290, DT
Bronx, N.Y. (Milford Academy)
Played both ways at offensive and defensive tackle during the '98 season at Milford (Conn.) Academy.collected 48 tackles and eight sacks on the defensive side of the ball.racked up 17 pancake blocks on offense.PrepStar All-America choice as a senior at Lehman High School in '97 after recording 89 tackles, including 62 solos, eight sacks, 22 tackles for loss, eight pass breakups and four forced fumbles.rated the No. 2 defensive lineman in the East.also collected all- state honors. two-time all-city selection.has great speed for a player his size.three-year letterwinner who played on both the offensive and defensive lines during his prep career.helped the school rack up a combined record of 27-8 over three seasons.played center on the school's basketball team.also threw the shot put in track & field.high school coach was Carmine Colosanto.son of Alle and Betty Smith.
6-1, 220, RB
St. Paul, Minn. (Johnson HS)
SuperPrep All-America choice as a senior in '98 after he rushed for 1,845 yards on 208 carries (8.9 yards per carry) and scored 27 touchdowns in just eight games.USA Today second-team All-America choice.Associated Press and Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior.named the 45th-best overall player and the 10th-best running back in the country by SuperPrep.SuperPrep also named him the fifth-best player overall in the Midwest.named the third-best running back in the Midwest by PrepStar.two- time all-state selection.Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year in '98.racked up 1,864 yards rushing and scored 24 touchdowns as a junior in '97.finished his prep career with 3,709 yards rushing on 421 carries (8.8 yards per carry) and 51 touchdowns.holds St. Paul City Conference records for most points in a career (296) and in a season (158), most points (37) and touchdowns (6) in a game and most rushing yards in a game with 385 yards vs. Highland Park in '97.also played linebacker and occasionally cornerback on defense, in addition to handling some of the kicking duties.averaged 40 yards as a punter, took care of the kickoff duties and made six extra points as a placekicker.all-conference selection for the Governors both as a forward in basketball and a sprinter/ horizontal jumper in track & field. participated in the state track & field meet.National Honor Society member.Academic All-Star.high school coach was Jeff Plaschko.grew up playing soccer in Liberia before his family moved to the Twin Cities when he was nine.has only played football for two years.son of Cecily Woiwor.
6-6, 220, WR
Hastings, Minn. (Hastings HS)
Detroit Free Press Best of the Midwest Top 20 selection.SuperPrep All-Midwest Team choice.hampered by a cracked hip as a senior.caught the winning touchdown pass against eventual state champion Woodbury to clinch the conference title for the Raiders.all-state selection as a punter after averaging 39.1 yards per kick as a senior.has a career-long 68-yarder to this credit.had a knack for hitting the coffin corner kicks.Star Tribune all-metro choice.also a standout at defensive end for the Raiders.recognized as one of the finest goalies in the state in hockey.helped lead the school to the consolation crown at the '98 state tournament.National Honor Society member.homecoming king.physical education student of the year.high school coach was Bob Majeski.son of Jeff and Lori Utecht.
6-1, 190, DB
Akron, Ohio (Garfield HS)
Three-year starter who racked up 211 tackles, nine interceptions and six fumble recoveries during his prep career.second-team all-state selection and a first-team all-conference choice as a senior in '98.physical player with good speed.versatile athlete who also played quarterback as a prepster.two-year letterwinner as a shooting guard on the basketball team. interested in studying business at the U of M.high school coach was William McGee.son of Doris Ward.
6-5, 260, DE
Detroit, Mich. (Pershing HS)
All-state selection as a senior in '98 when he registered 68 solo tackles, which included 16 tackles for loss and eight sacks.also forced nine fumbles, recovered four, broke up seven passes and had two interceptions.two-way player who had 42 receptions for 301 yards and five touchdowns as a tight end during his prep career.two-time all-city choice.standout performer as a forward on the school's basketball team where he is averaging 14.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.high school coach was Stephon Thompson.son of James and Marlene Bledsoe.
Player bios courtesy of University of Minnesota