This Friday the 2020 Minnesota high school football season finally kicks off, and I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who is especially excited for this season. With so much uncertainty and apprehension surrounding the season and its starting date, as well as the countless other issues going on in our world, Minnesota is in desperate need of something to distract us. Fortunately, high school football is the is finally back, and with it come the exciting opportunities and possibilities of success for the high schoolers of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. As per usual, the Minnesota Football Coaches Association will name the state’s top senior as MN’s 2020 Mr. Football, and although my colleague Tony Liebert did a Mr. Football watchlist back in May, I wanted to make my own. The MFCA names 10 finalists for the award, but my list will be a little longer and will include seniors who I believe have a chance to be named either a finalist or the winner of the award. The list is in no particular order as well! Thanks for reading! Also, here are the past Mr. Football Award Winners: 2019 = Jalen SuggsJalenSuggs6'4" | QBSMB | 2020StateMN
(SMB), 2018 = Jason WilliamsonJasonWilliamsonRBOwatonna | 2019StateMN
(Owatonna), 2017 = Antonio MonteroAntonioMonteroLBEden Prairie | 2018StateMN
(Eden Prairie), 2016 = Wade Sullivan (Lakeville North), 2015 = JD Spielman (Eden Prairie), 2014 = Robbie Grimsley (Hutchinson), 2013 = Jeff Jones (MPLS Washburn), 2012 = Bridgeport Tusler (Osseo), 2011 = Phillip Nelson (Mankato West), 2010 = Peter Westerhaus (Holy Family).
Mr. Football Watchlist
Terrance KamaraTerranceKamara5'9" | RBMinneapolis North | 2021StateMN
(MPLS North) RB. 5’9, 175 lbs. In 2019 rushed 271 times for 2,369 yards and 33 TDs. Named All-State 2nd team and All-Metro. Named All-District and District Player of the Year. Led state is rushing yards and rushing TDs. Holds offers the University of St. Thomas, Dartmouth, Butler Community College, Holy Cross, Missouri State, Air Force, Tennessee State, Fordham, Eastern Kentucky, Washburn, Minnesota State-Mankato, Northern State, Southeast Missouri State, Bryant University, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Western Illinois, Alcorn State, UNI, Buffalo, Navy, South Dakota, Montana State, Illinois State, Central Michigan. Kamara is apart of a loaded Polars senior class that included scholarship senior prospects Zach YeagerZachYeager6'2" | QBMinneapolis North | 2021StateMN
, Dominic Mcmillian, Davon TownleyDavonTownley6'6" | DEMinneapolis North | 2021StateMN
, Darnell McCreaDarnellMcCreaDLBenilde-St. Margaret's | 2021StateMN
, and CJ BrownCJBrown6'1" | DBMinneapolis North | 2021StateMN
that looks to win North’s second state title and possibly upset and end Caledonia’s nation-leading win streak. TK and the Polars rushing attack will again need to dominate for this state championship to happen, and I don’t see why they can’t make it happen as they return a couple starters on the OL and the other offensive threats at QB and WR. I’m really hoping Kamara can break 3K yards this year, a feat that hasn’t happened since Owatonna’s Jason WilliamsonJasonWilliamsonRBOwatonna | 2019StateMN
Jake RatzlaffJakeRatzlaff6'2" | LBRosemount | 2021StateMN
(Rosemount) LB/TE. 6’2, 210 lbs. Holds offers from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Iowa State. In 2019 named District Player of the Year, Kare11 First Team All-Metro, StarTribune First Team All-Metro. Mr. Football primarily goes to offensive skills positioned players, and Ratzlaff - who is one of the best defensive players in the state - also plays TE and was a legitimate offensive weapon for the Irish, so he definitely has a shot of winning the whole thing. As a senior I also would think he’s going to get more offensive touches, and the two-sport athlete should put up some monster stats this fall. He’s still deciding if he’s going to play football or hockey in college, but with the NHL Draft continuing to be postponed I feel like he’s leaning more and more to playing football in college, with finalists Minnesota and Wisconsin eagerly awaiting his decision.
Trey FeeneyTreyFeeney6'2" | QBMoorhead | 2021StateMN
(Moorhead) QB. 6’2, 195 lbs. Committed to the University of North Dakota to play college football. In 2019 Feeney threw for 2,968 yards and 29 touchdowns in 12 games with only six turnovers. He even added 492 yards on the ground with 13 touchdowns. Feeney returns his two leading WRs from 2019 in Brady and Blake WalthallBlakeWalthall6'1" | WRMoorhead | 2021StateMN
, both of whom went for more than 1,000 yards last season receiving. With an even stronger defense coming back, I think the Spuds offense could possibly be on the field even more in this season, and with the offseason work I’ve seen Moorhead putting in I don’t see why Feeney’s numbers can grow even larger this Fall.
Kristoff KowalkowskiKristoffKowalkowski6'2" | QBTotino-Grace | 2021StateMN
(Totino-Grace) QB. 6’2, 210 lbs. According to MNFootballHub the four-year starter from TG went 110-200 for 1,400 yards and 12 TDs in 2019. In his career he has passed for more than 6,000 yards and 52 TDs. Committed to the University of St. Thomas to play college football. PrepRedzoneMN’s #1 ranked QB has had a four-year recruiting process that begin when he started for Sartell-St. Stephen as a freshman, and the recent UST commit has some dangerous weapons offensively including WR Nick HandNickHand6'3" | DBTotino-Grace | 2021StateMN
, RB/WR Deezwin CooperDeezwinCooperATHTotino-Grace | 2021StateMN
, TE Joe AltJoeAlt6'7" | OLTotino-Grace | 2021StateMN
, and some heavy-hitters at the OL.
Bryce LanceBryceLance6'2" | WRMarshall | 2021StateMN
(Marshall) WR. 6’2, 170 lbs. Holds offers from Dartmouth, Princeton, Columbia, South Dakota State, North Dakota State. Marshall is one of the most underrated recruiting hotbeds in the entire state of MN, and the little Lance is an incredibly explosive WR who is a legitimate threat to score on every possession. Also a standout hooper, his combination of speed, acceleration, and vertical will help him put up some impressive stats, and he deserves a lot more attention for what he’s done on the gridiron than he got last year.
Jaden NorbyJadenNorby6'4" | ATHWest Central Area | 2021StateMN
(West Central Area) QB/TE/ATH. 6’5, 235 lbs. Committed to University of North Dakota to play his college football. Norby reminds me a lot of 2020 Hutch grad and Boise State commit Russell CorriganRussellCorriganTEHutchinson | 2020StateMN
, as he’s the best athlete on is high school team and for that reason he plays QB. Norby is generally the biggest kid on the field when he plays, and he’s a load and a half to bring down as a runner and has a naturally strong arm that makes him a threat in the passing game to boot. A lot of the times with these smaller school studs we see some crazy statlines put up week-to-week, and I expect to see some ridiculous performances from the Ashby native.
Gaven ZiebarthGavenZiebarth6'0" | RBCambridge-Isanti | 2021StateMN
(Cambridge-Isanti) ATH. 6’, 215 lbs. Committed to University of North Dakota to play college football. Ran a 10.88 in the 100 M dash, and the 215 lber. is a rare combination of speed and strength that makes him a force to run right over you or run past you all the way to the endzone. According to MNFootballHub he’s rushed for nearly 1,500 yards the past season with almost 1,000 last season, and also is a real weapon out of the backfield with some strong and soft hands. He’s going to have a great season for CI.
Carter OttoCarterOtto6'0" | RBElk River | 2021StateMN
(Elk River) RB/LB. 6’, 210 lbs. Holds offers from University of St. Thomas, Southwest Minnesota State, Grand View University, UMary. Named All-District twice. In 2019 totaled 2,034 yards and 20 TDs on offense plus 66 tackles, 3 sacks, and a FF on defense. Otto is the next in-line of the great Elk River standout RBs, and he’s a good one as he has a strong lower-body with good vision and some quick lateral agility. He also has good speed for 210 lbs. and runs Elk River’s misdirection Veer style rushing offense to perfection, so it’s almost a guarantee he’s going to have a big senior season. Elk River’s offense is so explosive that they consistently put up some of the best rushing numbers in the state year after year, and being a RB in that offense almost locks in a shot at being named a Mr. Football Finalist. Lastly, Otto has a knack for making big plays, and that trait should help him stay on the Mr. Football radar in 2020.
Nic SnuggerudNicSnuggerud5'10" | WRChaska | 2021StateMN
(Chaska) WR. 5’10, 175 lbs. Committed to the University of St. Thomas to play college football. A versatile and dynamic offensive weapon for the defending 5A state champions in MN, Snuggerud lined up at RB, WR, SB, PR, KR, and kicked extra points and FGs for Chaska as a junior in 2019. He possesses some game-changing speed and is a really elusive ball-carrier who also is a pretty polished route-runner for a prep. Being able to score in a variety of different ways is a sure-fire way to turn heads and differentiate yourself amongst the best football players in the state, and Snuggerud is versatile in a way that a lot of other names on this list can’t match. He’s Chaska’s best returning player and will need a gigantic season for the Hawks to repeat as 5A champs.
Joshua Streit (Eden Valley-Watkins) TE. 6’8, 210 lbs. Holds football offers from South Dakota State. Holds basketball offers from Northern State, St. Cloud State, Cal-Poly, NDSU, Denver, and the University of St. Thomas. The Streit family include a tremendous MN prep football legacy, as older brothers Jared, Jacob, and Justin all played college ball at St. John’s, Northern State, and Northern State respectively, and all of them were standout high school players at Eden Valley-Watkins High School throughout the mid-to-late 2010s. They are all big-boys, but Joshua takes the cake for being the largest at 6’8, 210 as only a 17-year old. Odds are that he’ll play basketball in college, but he’s another one of my dark-horse Mr. Football candidates as he’s an absolute matchup nightmare who will be almost unguardable in the redzone. He’s going to score a ton of TDs, and I think the Mr. Football eyes will have to take notice. He’ll be a fun one to watch.
Logan FreeburgLoganFreeburg5'9" | RBLakeville North | 2021StateMN
(Lakeville North) RB. 5’9, 195 lbs. Committed to Minnesota State University-Moorhead to play college football. 2019 All-District RB. A productive and tough RB for the Panthers of Lakeville North - a school that has a good history of Mr. Football Finalists, Freeburg will be running behind one of the best OLs in the state and will be one of the most dangerous RBs in the Metro. Always worth keeping an eye on him.
Finn DigginsFinnDigginsTEPerham | 2021StateMN
(Perham) TE. 6’5, 220 lbs. Committed to North Dakota State to play his college football. One of the state’s best kept secrets after the 2019 season, NDSU came in and swooped up the commitment of the Perham native, and with their history of TE development - especially with Minnesotans - I’m going to go ahead and trust that Diggins is one of the state’s best. He’s a well-built kid who can jump out of the gym and is quick laterally and has some moves after the catch. An obviously strong runner, he also has great ball-skills and strong hands, and will be incredibly hard for safeties to matchup against. He’s going to score a ton of points in 2020.
Gavin WysongGavinWysong5'9" | LBHills-Beaver Creek | 2021StateMN
(Hills-Beaver Creek) 5’9, 185 lbs. QB/LB/ATH. Offers from Hamline, Concordia College-Moorhead, Trine, Mayville State, UW-River Falls, and is receiving a ton of NSIC interest. The only 9-man player to make the list, Wysong totaled 1,106 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground in 2019 while he threw for 625 yards and 13 touchdowns with no picks. On defense he also recorded four interceptions and 50 tackles, and will see all of these numbers rise as a senior. He’s a great athlete and is also one of the most versatile and dynamic players in MN.
Zach YeagerZachYeager6'2" | QBMinneapolis North | 2021StateMN
(MPLS North) QB. 6’2, 205 lbs. Committed to North Carolina A&T. In 2019 passed for 2,179 yards at a 67% completion rate with 27 TDs. Also rushed 87 times for 635 yards and 7 TDs to help the Polars go 12-1 and finish as the AA runner-ups in 2019. An athletic and mobile QB prospect who is poised in the pocket, shows good fundamentals, and does an excellent job of improvising and making plays when things break down, Yeager is a true duel-threat and will benefit from a grind of a offseason that helped improve his arm strength and fundamentals while also building more chemistry with his WR core. All the weapons around him - such as the aforementioned Terrance KamaraTerranceKamara5'9" | RBMinneapolis North | 2021StateMN
, WRs Mario SandersMarioSanders5'10" | WRMPLS North | 2022StateMN
and Dom Mcmillian, and TE Davon TownleyDavonTownley6'6" | DEMinneapolis North | 2021StateMN
- also will free up Yeager as a runner if he needs to, as it will be really hard for opposing defenses to account for an extra runner.
Nick FlaskampNickFlaskampLBMinneapolis Southwest | 2021StateMN
(MPLS Southwest) RB/LB. 6’, 215 lbs. Holds offers from Northern State, St. John’s University, Mayville State. In 2019 finished second in MN in tackles with 113 with 20 TFLs, as well as 401 rushing yards and 5 TDs on offense at 9.5 yards a carry. Flaskamp is my last sleeper on this list, and I believe the Southwest Laker to also be one of the most underrecruited in the state of MN as well. He’s always been a tremendous tackler, and is a fundamentally sound and explosive tackler who follows through with his hips and who can wrap up, cut tackle you, or bring you down almost any way he pleases. He’s going great range as a LB as well, and the 3x State wrestling qualifier also does a great job of getting off blocks with his hands. LB alone won’t win you the award though, and luckily Flaskamp got a ton of carries from his FB position last season while primarily blocking for MN Football Finalist and now NDSU RB TK Marshall. With Marshall gone we will Flaskamp’s carries significantly increase, and he’s a Mack truck of a runner who is not going to be fun to tackle for one run, much less four quarters. He’s going to surprise a lot of people this year and deserves some more NSIC attention at the very least.
Cade KramerCadeKramer6'2" | WREden Prairie | 2021StateMN
(Eden Prairie) WR. 6’2, 180 lbs. Committed to University of Minnesota-Duluth to play college football. Although he plays for a run-first offense at EP, Kramer is one of the best WRs in the Metro and an absolute steal of a commit for the Bulldogs. He’s a tremendous route-runner who shows a lot of nuance in his routes and is a natural separator with great hands and tremendous hops. I wouldn’t be shocked if he plays some QB this year, as HC Mike Grant likes to put his best athletes at QB, and that could greatly raise his potential to win the Mr. Football Award. He’s a great athlete and will be tough to guard as a senior.
Riley MahlmanRileyMahlman6'7" | OLLakeville South | 2021StateMN
(Lakeville South) OL/DL. 6’7, 265 lbs. Committed to Wisconsin to play college football. It’s very hard to win Mr. Football from the trenches, but if there’s anyone who can do it this year it’s most-likely the 4star recruit from Lakeville South Riley MahlmanRileyMahlman6'7" | OLLakeville South | 2021StateMN
. He’s so disruptive as a DL that I could see him putting up double-digit sacks, and if LS has a strong enough rushing attack he could seriously get some consideration to win Mr. Football. I’m not saying it’s fair, but it is way harder to win the award for a lineman, much like the Heisman Trophy.
Michael OlowoMichaelOlowo6'2" | DBRogers | 2021StateMN
(Rogers) DB/WR. 6’1, 190 lbs. Holds offers from St. Thomas, UNI, South Alabama, Army. Yes, it’s true: Olowo is back from Arizona and will be playing his senior year of football in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. A track-star with ideal size at the CB position, Olowo should have far more Missouri Valley offers right now, but has a great chance to earn them this year when he balls out. A lockdown CB capable of shutting down an entire half of the field, Olowo is technically sound and a sticky coverage corner who can come up and support in the run game if need be. He played some WR last year, and will need to have some more catches and overall big plays to be considered for the best senior in the state, but absolutely has the talent and ability to get it done. He’s one recruit I’m particularly keeping my eye on this season, as he has a high-ceiling and is going to make a college DB room a lot better.
Logan PurcellLoganPurcell6'7" | OLAnnandale | 2021StateMN
(Annandale) OL/DL. 6’7, 240 lbs. Committed to Minnesota to play college football. Another lineman who I could see making the finalist list for Mr. Football, Purcell is such a good basketball player that I really think he could have what it takes to play some TE this year for Annandale if they give him the chance. He’s also a great pass-rusher himself, and his length and first step will help him put some impressive stats on the defensive side of the ball this season.
Elijah GreenElijahGreen6'0" | WRFarmington | 2021StateMN
(Farmington) WR. 5’11, 185 lbs. Has received offers from St. Thomas, Northern State, Minnesota State-Mankato, Iowa Western, UNI, South Dakota State. MN isn’t short on receiver talent this year, and Green will benefit from experienced QB Alex BarrethAlexBarrethQBFarmington | 2021StateMN
, fellow WR Isaac AskIsaacAskWRFarmington | 2021StateMN
, and RB Zac JanzZacJanzRBFarmington | 2021StateMN
all returning, so defenses will be stretched thin to try and contain the explosive and speedy Green. Also an asset in the return game, Green can make something out of nothing and has great concentration and toughness that help him to bring the ball in securely, and is shifty and fast after the catch. He’s going to have his best season yet in 2020 and should earn some more Missouri Valley looks at the very least.