Another article I’ve been meaning to crank out for a little bit since this past April when I got to see Tyler JohnsonTylerJohnson6'1" | ATHCentennial | 2021IA, Carter Coughlin, and Kamal Martin all get drafted into the NFL, this PrepRedzoneMN feature on Minnesota’s All-NFL Defensive Team will bring to you some of the best NFL players from the Land of 10,000 Lakes including some throwback NFL studs before my time, some newer entrants into the NFL, and a ton from my time growing up. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of professional football players from MN I found through some research, and I was happy to see a great showing of Minnesotans at the LB position. Not much more I can say, these guys are some of the best to ever do it from MN and it’ll be fun to see what we can learn about their prep, college, and NFL careers.
Ra'shede Hageman (MPLS Washburn) DL. 6'6, 315 lbs. Luckily, Hageman graduated from Washburn the year before I began playing high school football, so I never had to try and tackle him, but thank God I didn't. Probably the best player to ever come out of the Minneapolis City Conference, Hageman has some absurd high
Another article I’ve been meaning to crank out for a little bit since this past April when I got to see Tyler JohnsonTylerJohnson6'1" | ATHCentennial | 2021IA
, Carter Coughlin, and Kamal Martin all get drafted into the NFL, this PrepRedzoneMN feature on Minnesota’s All-NFL Defensive Team will bring to you some of the best NFL players from the Land of 10,000 Lakes including some throwback NFL studs before my time, some newer entrants into the NFL, and a ton from my time growing up. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of professional football players from MN I found through some research, and I was happy to see a great showing of Minnesotans at the LB position. Not much more I can say, these guys are some of the best to ever do it from MN and it’ll be fun to see what we can learn about their prep, college, and NFL careers.
Ra'shede Hageman (MPLS Washburn) DL. 6'6, 315 lbs. Luckily, Hageman graduated from Washburn the year before I began playing high school football, so I never had to try and tackle him, but thank God I didn't. Probably the best player to ever come out of the Minneapolis City Conference, Hageman has some absurd high school highlights at both the TE and DE position. Tom Lemming named him the #1 TE prospect in the nation and he played in the Under Armour All-American Game after winning consensus First Team All-State awards, All-Metro, All-Conference, and three All-City awards.The Minnesota Golden Gophers were fortunate to earn his commitment and in 2009 he redshirted and moved to DL. He went onto become a First Team All-Big Ten pick as well as a Third Team All-American. He went pro and was the 37th overall pick in the Second Round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. He played three seasons with Atlanta and totaled 62 tackles and four sacks.
Kyle Klug (Caledonia) DL. 6'4, 250 lbs. The OG Caledonia recruit from my lifetime was a three-sport stud who won First Team All-State as a senior and All-State HM as a junior as well as a MN Vikings All-State pick, LaCrosseTribune Player of the Year, and a Minnesota Mr. Football finalist. He also was two All-Conferece awards, Conference Player of the Year, and two WinonaDailyNews All-Area picks. As a senior he recorded 77 tackles, 20 quarterback sacks, 30 quarterback hurries and three FF and also had 1,212 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. Recorded 89 tackles, 18 sacks and 22 quarterback hurries as a junior and recorded 15 sacks as a sophomore. Also qualified for the state tournament in wrestling and track and field. Signed with the Iowa Hawkeyes and won two All-Big Ten Awards and tallied 140 tackles, including 31 for loss, 9.5 sacks, eight quarterback pressures, eight PBUs, four FFs, and a fumble recovery. He was a fifth round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and played until 2018 for the Tennessee Titans.
Beau Allen (Minnetonka) DL. 6'3, 330 lbs. According to Wikipedia Allen was the only Skipper to ever start four years for the legendary prep coach Dave Nelson at Minnetonka and was the fifth ranked prep in the state by Rivals as a senior. Committed to Wisconsin but also held Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan, and UCLA offers. Drafted in the 7th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles and won a Super Bowl with them. Then played with the Tampa Bay Bucs and in 2020 signed a two-year deal with the New England Patriots. He has 117 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his career.
Blake Cashman (Eden Prairie) LB. 6'2, 240 lbs. Helped EP win a state championship and go undefeated in 2014 while making 72 tackles and six TFLs. He was also named Associated Press First Team All-State and was named to the 2014 KARE11 All-Metro Defensive Team pick. I heard he was either going to go to Minnesota-Mankato, St. Thomas, or the U, and chose the Gophers. Went onto play a ton of snaps at the U of Minnesota after originally walking-on, although it was clear early that he was no ordinary walk-on after he appeared in all 13 games as a true freshman in 2015. Senior season was named Third Team All-Big Ten after he led the Gophers with 104 tackles (15 for loss, 2.5 sacks) in 12 games (11 starts). Was drafted in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and played on the big Sunday stage last season for the New York Jets as LB. Also recorded some starts. Senior Season
Kamal Martin (Burnsville) LB. 6'3, 245 lbs. AP All-State First Team pick and Mr. Football Finalist who was committed to Eastern Michigan for a while before the Gophers offered late and nabbed his commitment. As a senior he completed 63 of 117 passes for 877 yards and nine TDs, while also rushing for 400 yards on 88 carries and 8 more touchdowns. On defense he finished with 79 tackles, two FF, an interception and 13 PBUs. He led a Burnsville defense that pitched two shutouts and held the opposition to 10 or fewer points in seven of 11 games and led the team to a 9-2 overall mark and a 7-1 mark in conference competition. Signed with the Gophers as mentioned and was an All-Big Ten HM pick in 2019 and recorded 177 tackles (106 solo), 13 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, nine PBUs, four interceptions, four FFs, and three FRs. Was just picked in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft to the Green Bay Packers. Senior Highlights
Carter Coughlin (Eden Prairie) LB. 6'4, 250 lbs. A 2x All-Big Ten pick for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, it was known since his sophomore year when he was wearing #45 that Coughlin was going to be special. As a senior he was named Associated Press First Team All-State, played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl for the East squad, and guided EP to two state titles and held a 40-game winning streak in high school. Consensus #1 player in the state and Top-5 OLB in the nation. Huge sign for the Gophers as he had Ohio State and Michigan offers, Coughlin played a ton of snaps in his career and finished with 159 tackles (107 solo). He is fourth all-time in school history with 40 tackles for loss and is third all-time in school history with 22.5 career sacks. He also forced seven fumbles and recovered one. He was also just drafted in the 7th round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the New York Football Giants. Senior SZN Highlights
Nate Triplett (Delano) LB. 6'3, 250 lbs. A standout athlete at Delano who signed with the Minnesota Gophers out of high school, Triplett had a big senior season that led to him being drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He bounced around the NFL and played for the Chargers, Colts, and Bucs before hanging up the cleats in 2012.
Ryan Connelly (Eden Prairie) LB. 6'3, 240 lbs. Played QB at Eden Prairie and committed to the Badgers as a PWO and switched to LB. Over four years at Wisconsin he totaled 251 tackles, 29 TFLs, 6 sacks, two interceptions and was a Third Team All-Big Ten pick as a senior. Selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, recorded 20 tackles last season, and now has fellow EP Eagle alum Carter Coughlin joining him in the LB room. Senior Year
James Laurinaitis (Wayzata) LB. 6'2, 250 lbs. The son of WWE Hall of Famer "Road Warrior Animal", Laurinaitis played at Wayzata with Marion Barber III and was also a second or third round NHL Draft prospect coming out of high school. On the gridiron he was named Mr. Football in MN in 2004. That season, he helped lead his high school football team to the state championship game in Class 5A with 193 tackles, including 28 for loss and five sacks. He attended Ohio State University and had a distinguished four-year career in which he was a 3x First Team All-American, Chuck Bednarik Finalist, and Lott Trophy winner, and the only ever 2x Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year winner. Totaled 365 tackles, 24 TFLs, 13 sacks, nine interceptions, and four FFs in his Buckeye career. Was a second round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft to the St. Louis Rams and played eight NFL seasons for the Rams and Saints and totaled 869 tackles, 32 TFLs, 16.5 sacks, and 10 INTs.
Terrell Suggs LB. Just wanted to give a special shoutout to Suggs, as he is a Minneapolis native who played his prep ball in Arizona and will probably become an NFL Hall of Famer. He was raised in St. Paul and actually played youth football with Joe Mauer. If he would have gone to CDH that would have been wild.
Marcus Williams (Hopkins) DB. 5'11, 195 lbs. A tremendous football and basketball player for the Royals, Williams was a All-State pick as senior on the gridiron, and was also a 3x All-Metro and All-Classic Lake Conference selection. Also was a two-year starter on basketball court and member of the Royals 31-0 state championship team. He was also a 2x All-Conference pick on the hardwood. Signed with NDSU for football after not receiving the basketball looks he had hoped for and was a consensus All-American, was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game, and set the NDSU record with 21 career interceptions. His seven interception returns for touchdown set an FCS record, and he also returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdown during career. He was also credited with at least one pass defended in 41 games. Joined the Houston Texans in May 2014 as an undrafted free agent and played until 2018. In his NFL career he posted 119 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 FFs, 27 PBUs and 10 interceptions.
Craig Dahl (Mankato East) DB. 6'1, 220 lbs. The best player to come out of Mankato East, NFL safety Craig Dahl had a monster prep career for the Cougars and was named First Team All-State, All-Conference and All-City. He ran for 3,398 yards and passed for 1,769 yards as a quarterback over his final two years and scored 57 touchdowns! Signed with NDSU and started two years as a SS for the Bison. All-Region and All-Conference pick in college. He played in 43 games for the Bison and posted 238 tackles (134 solo), 8 passes defensed, 7 interceptions and two sacks. Went undrafted in 2007 but was picked up by the New York Giants and won a Super Bowl with them and played until I think 2015. Posted 383 career NFL tackles, four sacks, and five interceptions.
Marcus Sherels (Rochester John Marshall) DB. 5'10, 175 lbs. A 2x All-State HM pick for the Rockets, Sherels walked-on to the Golden Gophers and earned a scholarship and totaled four career interceptions. He then had an awesome 10ish year career in the NFL and ended 2020 with the Minnesota Vikings. He owns multiple Vikings records including most tied for most special teams TDs (5), the single-season punt return average, most punt return yards in a game, most punt return TDs in a season, and most punt return TDs in a career. Not bad for a walk-on from Rochester!
Amani Hooker (Park Center) DB. 6'0, 215 lbs. The youngest player on the DB list and the future stud Minnesotan DB in the NFL, Hooker set the Park Center single-season interception record as a senior with 11 and was also the Conference MVP as a senior. He earned First-Team All-State honors as a senior and was a finalist for Mr. Football that year as well. Was a Second-Team All-State as a junior and Third-Team All-State as a sophomore. Was also First-Team All-Conference for three straight seasons. Went to Iowa and had a great collegiate career that saw him named the Big Ten's DB of the Year, Second Team All-American, and First Team All-Big Ten. He had 125 career tackles with the Hawkeyes along with 3.5 TFLs, and six interceptions. Was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans and recorded 19 tackles last season. Senior Year Highlights
Dom Barber (Wayzata) DB. 6'0, 215 lbs. Graduated from Wayzata in 2004 where he was selected as a PrepStar All-Midwest Region and won All-State and All-Conference awards. Signed with the Minnesota Gophers and totaled 191 tackles and four interceptions in four years with the Gophers. Was a Second Team All-Big Ten pick in 2007. Was drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans and totaled 57 tackles and a sack in the pros.