The college decision ended up being easy for Conner McKern.
After considering his options and taking a few gameday visits this fall, the Kasson-Mantorville senior elected to continue his football career at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
“What impressed me most was the coaches,” said McKern via email. “They are committed to making River Falls into an elite football program, and I truly believe they are going to do that.”
McKern said he plans to major in business management, but is undecided about any future career plans. He added that while he was impressed with River Falls’ football facilities, it was the overall campus environment that sold him on the WIAC school.
“It needs to feel like home to me,” McKern said. “Having great coaches and players that are great human beings contribute to that too.”
McKern was a three-year starter up front for coach Broc Threinen’s offense and three-time All-District performer. He helped the KoMets rush for over 2,700 yards in 2017 and was one of the leaders on a veteran offensive line.
“This was the most fun I’ve ever had playing football,” said McKern, who’s also competed in track and field throughout high school. “I’m definitely going to miss my teammates and high school football.”
Kasson-Mantorville posted a 9-1 record this fall, losing to Winona in the Section 1AAAA title game. It was K-M’s best season since 2013.
The postseason awards piled up for McKern — the 202nd-ranked prospect in the Class of 2018.
He was named Associated Press Second Team All-State and played in the Minnesota High School All-Star Game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
He was also voted the Southeast District Lineman of the Year. Threinen told the Rochester Post Bulletin in December that McKern’s work ethic is a big reason for his success, something that McKern will take to UW-River Falls.
“For my offseason workouts, I lift in the mornings before school, Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Friday,” McKern said.
The 6-foot-2, 285-pounder said he hopes to find some extra time playing video games with friends now that his college plans are set.
That is, of course, after his offseason workouts are completed.