PILLAGER—Northstar Football News took their talents to the Northwoods for their next small town recruiting report. We caught up with AJ Gratke, a 2021 NFN prospect that chat with us about his high school football trail. We chatted with him about his junior season, his recruiting interests, and much more.
Get to Know AJ Gratke
Gratke is a great example of an all over the place football player. He plays tight end, outside linebacker, and safety. He loves to hit people on defense and battle in the trenches on offense. His versatility is what stood out to me, as he runs quick with most of his Huskies wide receivers. His height is his biggest strength as he scares wide receivers when they matchup with him on routes.
Favorite Part About Defense/Offense
On offense, Gratke loves knocking defensive linemen, linebackers on their rear end when blocking for his running back. He also enjoys the route running that goes along with being a tight end too. At safety and outside linebacker Gratke’s favorite is getting key interceptions to help his team and again, knocking guys on their rear end.
College Interest/His Pitch to Coaches
At this time, Gratke doesn’t have much interest going into his senior season, but would love to play college football. His pitch to coaches is his determination to make the program better is at a whole new level!
Improvements For Next Season
Gratke’s Huskies coaches have told him to work on getting more agile and working on his footwork along with adding on some weight. Gratke’s been a constant 2 times a week participant at the Pillager weight room, and has a strong metabolism that has made him stronger as well.
When it comes to mentors, AJ has three that have really helped him out not only in football, but in everyday life as well. His dad, Pillager coach Brian Homan and fellow defensive end/tight end Spencer Schaefer. Schaefer has made Gratke really work hard in every sport they play together for the Huskies. On and off the football field, Coach Homan and AJ’s father have showed AJ how to get after it in both ways of life.
Learning from Last Season/2020-2021 Goals
This was the first year Gratke realized how good of a player he really was. He knows going into his senior season that he can play at a high level. The goal for Gratke and the Huskies, is to get back to the state tournament as they made it back in 2018 and were 7-2 in the 2019 season before a loss to Osakis before one game away from Minneapolis. Gratke plans on bringing more of a leader mentality in 2020 as a senior.
Check out Gratke’s Hudl profile (click here)