To finish up some of the initial content from National Signing Day on Wednesday, February 3rd, I wanted to share with our subscribers some of the signings that surprised us at PrepRedzoneMN, either because we were not aware of the prospect who was committing, or the decision/announcement came right on NSD. There were definitely more of these "surprise signings" this recruiting cycle, probably due to the unparalleled circumstances from this COVID-19 riddled high school football, but I also think a lot of it is due to high school programs being more vocal about their players signing to college programs. For that reason, I was able to find a lot of small-school signings that weren’t on my radar prior to February 3rd, and I went through some of these announcements below and included as much information as I could find, as well as a small evaluation when necessary. I hope you enjoy! Additionally, stay tuned for upcoming "Commitment Class Breakdowns" going over some signing classes from local programs that have recruited MN boys well this year. Thanks for reading!
Shea AlbrechtSheaAlbrecht6'5" | OLOrono | 2021StateMN
(Orono) OL/DL to the University of St. Thomas. The inaugural PrepRedzoneMN Hog Molly Offensive Lineman of the Year award winner, Albrecht was one of the top remaining uncommitted prospects in the entire state and definitely the top uncommitted OL recruit. At 6’4, 315 lbs., the Mr. Football Finalist is a violent and mauling blocker at the OL position who doubled as a disruptive DL who is also a standout heavyweight wrestler for Orono. He held offers from MSU-Mankato, UMary, Northern State, Bemidji State, Missouri Western State, Wayne State, and was being recruited by Wyoming, Texas Tech, South Dakota State, NDSU, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Fresno State before committing to the Tommies on NSD. He’s a literally massive signing for the Tommies who will stay close to home and has a great chance of getting some playing time early on the UST offensive line.
Tom SolerTomSolerDLHill Murray | 2021StateMN
(Hill Murray) DT/OG to St. John’s University. Soler was a really interesting prospect who was an experienced and powerful DT for the Pioneers who saw his recruitment never really blow up as expected. At 6’1, 265 lbs., he has a great understanding of leverage and uses his hands well to disengage or finish blocks depending on if he’s playing OL or DL. He also moves well for his size, and showed he could get down the LOS at DT and operate out in space as an offensive lineman, so I was super pumped to hear from Soler himself that the Johnnies are planning on playing him at OG in college. With SJU’s long line of punishing OG’s, I love the move. It’s also great to see Soler continue a strong tradition of Hill Murray Pioneers join the MIAC and represent the Johnnies, and I will be seeing him play live in Collegeville soon!
Jonathan Elliott (Lakeville South) OL to the University of Mary. An offensive lineman from 6A’s most dominant program in 2020, Elliott stands at 6’2, 285 lbs. and was unfortunately not my radar at the time of his commitment. However, thanks to Lakeville South’s awesome twitter account (@LSHSCougarsFB) I was able to see the him sign to the Marauders of UMary. He’s a little lacking in senior film, but looks like a powerful and physical run-blocker with a thick frame that looks great for an interior OL position in the NSIC.
Kyle NewhamKyleNewham6'2" | ATHFarmington | 2021StateMN
(Farmington) DL to University of Mary. At 6’2, 250 lbs., Newham is a giant DL prospect coming from a strong program in Farmington that has a really impressive weight training program, so I am confident that Newham’s frame and body will be ready for NSIC football sooner rather than later. He also held an offer from Bemidji State, and is a high-effort defensive lineman with a strong initial punch who comes out of his stance low. Also is a good tackler. I was excited to see him join fellow Farmington Tiger teammate Isaac AskIsaacAskWRFarmington | 2021StateMN
in Bismarck, ND to play for the Marauders.
Jake Anderson (Prior Lake) WR to Southwest Minnesota State University. The 6’3, 175 lb. pass-catcher is a three-sport athlete at Prior Lake and hadn’t reported any offers or interest until I saw he signed with the SMSU Mustangs and their giant 2021 signing class. His length and soft hands are impressive, and he made some really nice sideline catches that required a full extension and a toe drag to complete the catch. The potential is all there.
Joachim KloeppelJoachimKloeppel6'3" | LBJordan | 2021StateMN
(Jordan) LB to Southwest Minnesota State. The 6’2, 230 lb. Jordan Hubmen linebacker has been a player I have been really excited to see commit, he held offers from St. John’s, Mayville State, Gustavus Adolphus, St. Olaf College, Hamline, Concordia-Moorhead, and UW-River Falls before ultimately jumping on a late NSIC opportunity with the Mustangs. He was named All-District in 2020, and made an impact at both the OLB and TE positions and looked like a beast rushing the QB off the edge who plays blockers hands well and has some speed for 230 lbs.
Chris Ewing (Chanhassen) DL to Bemidji State. Committed to Bemidji State back in September and followed up the commitment with an awesome 2020 season that saw him earn All-Metro Second Team honors at the DL from Kare11. Unfortunately, he does not have his Hudl tape updated, but at 6’4, 230 lbs. and a trap shooting letterwinner at Chan, I think he’s going to fit in nicely at BSU.
Christian Vega (Moorhead) DL to Carroll University. One of six Moorhead Spuds to sign on NSD, Vega chose the Carroll Pioneers in Waukesha, Wisconsin over an offer from the hometown Cobbers of Concordia-Moorhead. He’s a stout and powerful iDL prospect who always plays as the low man and has great hand placement and has constant foot drive and active hands. Also a good tackler, he’s bringing a wealth of experience from a top Minnesota program to Wisconsin and I am excited to see where his college career takes him.
Connor Zender (Crosby-Ironton) DL to Bemidji State. The Crosby-Ironton Rangers had some heavyweight prep prospects this year, and defensive lineman Zender totaled 59 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, 10 TFLs, and a PBU in 2020. He destroyed kids as a OT in his senior tape and looked almost unblockable at times from his DL position who laid some massive hits in the backfield. He’s athletic, twitchy, and extremely disruptive, and I should have had him on my hardest hitters list from a couple weeks back...
Luke HumbertLukeHumbertATHRocori | 2021StateMN
(Rocori) LB to University of Minnesota-Duluth. One of my favorite surprise signings from the entire NSD came out of Rocori and the 6’1, 205 lb. OLB/WR Luke HumbertLukeHumbertATHRocori | 2021StateMN
. The Bulldogs landed a complete stud in Humbert, who is very experienced, athletic, and explosive and has been a key contributor to the perennial 4A contenders since he was an underclassman. He’s one of those kids that is just a natural football player who can do just about anything asked of him on the gridiron, and will look good doing it. At 205 lbs., he’s a special combination of speed and strength who made some incredibly exciting offensive plays happen in 2020 while displaying some of the best range of any LB in the entire 2020 class. He’s going to do some awesome things for UMD.
Garrett Coughlin (Barnum) OL to Minnesota State University-Moorhead. At 6’2, 260 lbs., Coughlin showed an ability to execute stunts at the DL and finish blocks from his OT position for Barnum. He’s a powerful tackler with a good frame and is twitchy and athletic for his position. He’s coming off a really dominant high school career and an especially dominant senior season.
Austin LaMotte (Apple Valley) DB to Minnesota State University-Moorhead. The Apple Valley Eagles had multiple senior prospects who fell under my radar this year and made me pay for it with big commitments to local, high-level programs. LaMotte is one of these prospects, and with great size at the DB position (5’11, 190 lbs.), he showed versatility by playing both the CB and the S position, and has a particularly impressive second play of his senior Hudl that saw him run the alley, annihilate a lead-blocker, and finish the tackle impressively on a streaking ball-carrier. He can bring the boom, and is patient in diagnosing plays and then aggressive in getting to the ball once he’s figured out what’s happening. He’s very impressive in run-support and I hope he plays near the box in college.
Gunner Martinek (Wheaton Area) FB to Minnesota State University-Moorhead. I am particularly sad I missed out on Martinek, his senior season, and his eventual commitment to the Dragons of MSUM. He’s a small-school, massive FB/HB prospect who stands at 6’2, 229 lbs. and was a 4-year starter and 2x All-District and 2x All-Section selection and is extremely versatile and physical, all things I long to see in recruits from Minnesota. His Hudl is nuts, as he looks way too fast to weigh in at 230 lbs. but runs people over like a FB at that size. He’s a Mack Truck of a ball-carrier who also has some shifty feet and can make people miss. Defensively, he can go sideline to sideline and has a ton of power in his frame. He’s incredibly exciting and I will be kicking myself for not finding him for a few years after this. Watch his Hudl if you haven’t!
Deezwin CooperDeezwinCooperATHTotino-Grace | 2021StateMN
(Totino Grace) DB to Ellsworth Community College. The Ellsworth Panthers got themselves one of the most overlooked senior athletes in the entire state in Deezwin CooperDeezwinCooperATHTotino-Grace | 2021StateMN
. Playing at one of the best programs in the state in Totino-Grace, Cooper did everything asked of him, and did it well. He played some RB, WR, DB, LB, and helped out on special teams in his three years of playing on the varsity team for the Eagles. Despite a somewhat smaller stature, he’s another natural football player who is an excellent athlete and will be a great playmaker at the JUCO level if he can add some weight. I’ll be following his college career with excitement.
Paul Swanson (Cambridge-Isanti) DB to University of Jamestown. The Jamestown Jimmies landed a bunch of Minnesotans who were off my radar, and Swanson is the first in line because I got to see him play live this past Fall against Waseca. He’s a great tackler in the open field who has a great cut-tackle and some nice speed to track down ball-carriers. He’s got active feet in the open field and is patient at tracking the ball.
Daniel Muehlberg (Cambridge-Isanti) OL/DL to University of Jamestown. No updated film!
Daunte Leiran (NY Mills) RB/OLB to University of Jamestown. A dominant small-school athlete, Leiran was exciting to watch run the football and looked like the biggest player on the field at times last season for traditional wrestling power New York Mills. He’s got great contact balance and a strong lower body to go along with shifty feet and a hammer of a truck stick when he wants to use it. He’s got another fun senior tape to watch and I think the Jimmies got themselves a really talented small-school commit.
Gavin Johannsen (Walker-Hackensack-Akeley) LB to University of Jamestown. No updated Hudl!
Steven Hausken (Walker-Hackensack-Akeley) RB to University of Jamestown. A class of 2020 graduate, he unfortunately does not have any updated film!
Jermaine Collier Jr. (Robbinsdale Cooper) TE to University of Jamestown. A TE prospect who I was kicking myself for not having on my radar due to his size (6’5, 210) and the fact he goes to 612 talent-factory Robbinsdale Cooper. Collier was uncommitted at the time of NSD, so although I knew he was being recruited I did not see the commitment coming! He’s an excellent NAIA TE prospect who can catch the ball and also has no qualms blocking and sticking his face into opponents. chests. He held offers from Ellsworth CC, Iowa Central CC, Mayville State, and Augsburg before committing to Jamestown.
Michael Azure (Osseo) LB to University of Jamestown. No updated senior Hudl!
Robert Anderson (Alexandria) WR to University of Jamestown. No updated senior Hudl!
Jack Savre (Hermantown) OL to Concordia-St. Paul. An All-Section, All-Distrcit, All-Area, and District Lineman of the Year in 2020 out of hockey powerhouse Hermantown, Savre is an excellent puller and moves, blocks, and operates well in space who can block at the second and third level and also eats up double teams from his DT position. He’s got a great frame that is going to be able to hold a lot more weight in college, and has the strength and power to compete in the NSIC at the offensive line position. It’s not very often you see a kid that far North choose to play his college football in the Twin Cities, so I’m pumped to see Savre’s evolution as a football player up close and in-person in St. Paul.
Curtis FavorsCurtisFavorsATHTartan | 2021StateMN
(Tartan) WR to Concordia-St. Paul. A great signing for CSP as well as Favors himself, the Tartan 6’3, 215 lb. WR was only offered by UW-River Falls up until signing day, and I thought his skill-set and athleticism definitely translated to the DII level, so I was excited to see this match on February 3rd. He’s a matchup nightmare as a TE and is especially dangerous in the red zone, where he isn’t scared to make contested catches and can use his big frame to box out defenders and put himself in a good position to catch the ball. He’s also dangerous after the catch, and has some good speed and mean stiff-arm for his size.
Nathan Warner (Glencoe-Silver Lake) DL to Dordt. The Dordt Defenders are always on my radar due to how well they recruit and land commitments from under the radar, accomplished MN preps. This pulled in another talented haul of Minnesotans in 2021, and Warner is absolutely included in that as the 6’4, 270 lber. is explosive out of his stance and light on his feet for 270, who can tackle in space and not get juked out of his shoes with a simple cut by a ball-carrier. He’s a beast at the point of attack and is a classic small-school gem of a recruit who is going to have a great NAIA career for the Defenders.
Jacob Rosendahl (Willmar) WR/OLB to Dordt. Great frame, soft hands, and a nice catch radius coupled with the fact that he can play the outside or slot receivers spots make for a nice looking NAIA wide receiver prospect. He can catch the ball through contact as well.
Brody Ash (Milaca) OL to Dordt. Only 11 seconds of senior film on Hudl!
Hunter Brackee (Chaska) OL to University of Sioux Falls. The Chaska Hawks had a wealth of surprise signings this past NSD, with a lot of talent on their OL heading to the NSIC for various schools. Brackee is heading to Sioux Falls to join a great crop of Minnesota boys to sign to #CooFalls, and is an especially powerful trench warfare specialist with massive amount of pop in his frame. He’s effective at executing combo blocks and has the foot drive to move defensive lineman 5-yards backwards if he gets inside leverage. He also has some nice pass-rush moves at the DL position, and just looks like a snowplow when run-blocking at the OL position.
Ethan BachmannEthanBachmann6'4" | WRChaska | 2021StateMN
(Chaska) WR to University of Sioux Falls. A massive WR prospect at 6’4 who has extremely strong hands and whose head coach could not stop raving about, Bachmann is coming off of an All-Metro Second Team senior season from Kare11 and can take the top off the defense or hurt you in shorter, underneath, more possession type routes. He’s a clean route-runner and has a great vertical as well. Overall a really balanced DII wide receiver prospect.
Carter OttoCarterOtto6'0" | RBElk River | 2021StateMN
(Elk River) LB to Concordia-St. Paul. One of my favorite signings from the entire NSD, Otto’s commitment to the Golden Bears came as a big surprise to us at PrepRedzoneMN and ends a recruitment process that saw him earn offers from St. Thomas, SMSU, and UMary. He’s a 3x All-District selection who is also an All-Metro pick and an All-State selection as well. He finished his career 3,770 total yards, 51 TDs, 160 tackles, 9 TFLs, and 4 FFs from his RB and LB positions. He’s another natural football player who comes from an excellent program in Elk River that puts prospects into the college football ranks with ease. Otto is a playmaker in every sense of the word, and was almost equally effective as a LB rushing the passer off the edge or as a RB with the ball in his hands. He’s strong, with a powerful lower-body and a natural ability to make people miss. Additionally, he’s single-handily won two games for Elk River on the last play of the game, something that not every football player possesses.
Cole Zwiefel (Chaska) DL/OL to MSU-Mankato. Another road-grader from Chaska who keeps the pipeline from Chaska to Mankato alive and well, the 6’3, 305 lber. ate up a triple team in the first play of his Hudl and throughout his senior tape he crushes ball-carriers and keeps himself around the football. I’ll be excited to see where the Mavericks put his big body.
Cade Willie (Princeton) ATH to Gustavus Adolphus College. No senior film on Hudl!
Jared Freestone (Sleepy Eye-St. Mary) OL to Dakota State University. At 6’1, 260 lbs. Freestone is quick and nimble and gets himself to the toes of defenders before they can react or get out of the way. He’s a strong run-blocker and also shows some rare power and ability in his pass-pro set for a small-schooler. There’s power in those arms/chest, but my favorite ability of his is definitely how well he can move and block at the second and third levels.
Aharon Atlas (St. Paul Johnson) OL to Dakota State University. At 6’1, 275 lbs., the 651 product gets of his stance well and is heavy-handed once he gets ahold of you. I like his foot drive as well.
Chris Nieto (Breckenridge) RB to NDSCS. Nieto is a small-school stud who was on the cusp of a really productive and special senior football season before an injury derailed that hope. However, I was STOKED to see that he signed with the always MN-friendly NDSCS to continue his football career and keep the dream alive. He’s a big-bodied RB prospect with a strong lower-body and an ability to make you miss with either speed or power.
Sam Jeffrey (Redwood Valley) OL to Northwestern College. High-effort, high-energy blocker who can move in space is a good finisher when he gets the defender in a bad position. Also a good combo blocker.
Dane Schoenborn (Fosston) RB to Northwestern College. Only has Hudl highlights updated through junior year.
Collin Asplin (Dassel-Cokato) CB to Southwest Minnesota State University. The Dassel-Cokato Chargers are one of my favorite 3A programs in the state of Minnesota, and I was pumped to see the tall and long CB/WR Asplin commit to play some NSIC football for the Mustangs in Marshall. He’s got good technique as a CB and plays the ball well while it’s in the air without too much contact to the receiver. I like his patience at the LOS when the WR releases, and his eye discipline is pretty solid too. With his easy speed and length at the position, I think SMSU landed a real talent at the CB spot.
Delano FieldsDelanoFieldsOLRobbinsdale Armstrong | 2021StateMN
(Armstrong) OL to Dakota State. One of my favorite unsigned senior lineman prior to Signing Day, the Armstrong senior surprised me by committing to Dakota State on February 3rd to play some NAIA football. An experienced lineman from a strong 5A program in Armstrong, Fields is a dominant run-blocker who is strong and heavy-handed. He’s got the size and the pedigree to start contributing early for the DSU program and their offensive line.