Offensive tackle turned wide receiver.
That’s a statement you don’t often see or hear, but it’s exactly the path Mankato West’s Dondre Spann has taken.
Through the first five games of the 2017 season, Spann has been one of the most prolific receivers in Minnesota. He’s already recorded 36 catches for 476 yards and six touchdowns for West (4-1), which is a contender again in Class AAAAA.
“One of our mottoes this year is ‘keep the tradition’,” Spann said via email. “In order for us to keep a good start to the season going, it all starts with our attitude going to practice every day.”
The Scarlets senior made the position switch after his sophomore season and led the team in receiving last fall. In this season opener against Rochester John Marshall this year, Spann set the school record for receptions in a single game with 16.
West coach J.J. Helget said the staff’s decision to move the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder to a skill position was two-fold.
“It was sparked by his basketball play along with him box jumping a crazy height,” Helget said via email. “We determined he was too athletic to play offensive tackle.”
Helget said Spann’s best attribute is his length, which serves him well at both receiver and defensive end. He added that West still moves Spann to tight end in short-yardage situations because he’s “a very good blocker”.
Spann will play basketball again for the Scarlets this winter, but knows his athletic future is on the gridiron.
“Colleges I've been hearing from the most are mostly D-II schools — Augustana, Minnesota State-Mankato and Winona State,” said Spann, who currently does not hold any scholarship offers. “The only school I have visited so far is Concordia University in St. Paul.”
Away from sports, Spann said he enjoys being with friends. He also said he’s undecided about a college major, but that aviation is a possibility.
“The qualities I look for in a school are a good rate of students being employed after college and good class sizes,” Spann said. “In a football program, I like to see a close-knit group of guys and a championship culture/mindset at the school.”
Helget said he believes Spann’s position versatility on the field, and his character off it, will be an asset at whatever college the Scarlets senior decides to attend.
“He is a young man that is constantly doing the right thing and leading by example,” Helget said. “A hard-working kid and a strong student-athlete that would immensely enhance any program.”