Walking slowly off the practice field at Minnehaha Academy's Lower School, Jalen Suggs is weary. His helmet and shoulder pads are carried in one hand, exposing a black form-fitted padded football shirt with a gray Superman logo stenciled on it.
Fitting for the state's most sought-after two-sport athlete.
"It's mental fatigue," said Suggs, who is back on the football field for the SMB Wolfpack after spending much of the previous four months traversing the country playing basketball. "All the traveling and constantly got something going on. But as far as my body goes, I'm feeling well."
While basketball exploits have made Suggs a recognizable figure in basketball circles nationwide, it's time to put on cleats and get down to business playing football, a sport he swears he enjoys every bit as much as basketball.
"I love it," the senior said, his fatigue ebbing and enthusiasm creeping in as he talks football. "I love playing quarterback. I love playing free safety. I love everything about football."
Suggs is Minnesota's top dual-threat quarterback prospect. A lean 6-5, his pinpoint arm and speedy legs gracefully turn little things into big plays, as he did in the Class 4A state championship game in November, a 44-18 victory over Willmar.
His repertoire of physical gifts was on display: A weaving, tackle-breaking 23-yard touchdown run. A 97-yard pick-six. An 89-yard scoring drive just before halftime, completing four consecutive passes thanks to his ability to scramble and buy time. A 76-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter in which the ball traveled more than 50 yards in the air.
Versatility, Suggs said, is his biggest weapon.
"When you play against a dual-threat quarterback, you've got to account for everything," he said. "I can throw, I can run, and when I run, I can throw outside of the pocket. That's dangerous for an offense if you have a quarterback who can do it all."
Suggs is expected to make a college commitment to play basketball after high school. But there's no denying the passion and dedication that he brings to football. And not just the quarterback position.
"As much as I love offense, I love getting on defense and laying a big hit," he said, a wide grin across his face. "Last year in the section championship, I had a big hit and caused a fumble. Ain't nothing like laying a big hit."
That fondness for contact has become a concern for his coaches, particularly when he runs with the ball.
"I was talking with my coach and my Pops, and they said you definitely need to start sliding more," he said. "I've got to try to preserve my body."
Suggs said he hopes to make his highly anticipated college announcement "sooner rather than later." But for the near future, his main priority is enjoying his final high school football season.
"People ask me all the time why I still play football and risk injuries and all that," he said. "But I've been playing this game since I was 4 years old. This is a game I've put a lot of effort into and that I love. For me, you can't compare anything to a Friday night."