METRO TOP 10
1. Eden Prairie: The defending state champs lost a lot to graduation. But 11 state titles and 13 championship game appearances since 1996 are proof the Eagles know how to reload.
2. Minnetonka: The Skippers have much of their starting defense back and QB Aaron Syverson has some tools to work with in receivers Jackson Owens and Mitch Klass.
3. Cretin-Derham Hall: Perhaps no QB in the metro improved more over the course of the 2017 season than Danny Callahan. He’s a seasoned vet now and should get off to a fast start.
4. Lakeville North: For a change, the Panthers’ identity likely will be offense. Bryce Benhart anchors an experienced line, and RB/WR Raja Nelson and TE Tate Staloch are game-changers.
5. Prior Lake: The Lakers brought in former Mankato West head coach Mark Esch to run the offense. He will take advantage of a nice stockpile of offensive talent.
6. Rosemount: With dynamic playmakers in WR Jonathan Mann and RB Marvin Walker, a system built for long-term success and a favorable schedule, this could be a special season for the Irish
7. Edina: Coach Derrin Lamker has a pair of studs to build around in OT Quinn Carroll and RB/FS Matt Cavanagh. But there are concerns about overall team speed.
8. Totino-Grace: Don’t expect another season like last year, when the Eagles lost four games for the first time in coach Jeff Ferguson’s tenure. Senior stalwarts Charles Kamara (RB) and Luke Kubesh (DT) are back and the defense is always sound.
9. Maple Grove: Superstud RB Evan Hull will have to shoulder the offensive load until sophomore QB Nate Elmes gets some seasoning. The defense is smallish but runs to the ball well.
10. St. Michael-Albertville: Most of the returning talent is on the offensive side of the ball. RB Desean Phillips is on the short list of the metro’s top ball carriers.
Others of note: Wayzata, Champlin Park, Elk River (5A).