Expectations are high for Wayzata linebacker Chris Wipson, the lone Minnesotan in the Class of 2013 to sign Wednesday to play for the Gophers.
But as the latest in the Trojans' proud line of standout linebackers, Wipson is familiar with pressure to perform.
"It's kind of encouraging but also a little daunting," Wipson said. "James [Laurinaitis] is in the NFL, Grant [Olson] won two national titles and A.J. [Tarpley] won the Rose Bowl. Hopefully the same things can happen for me."
Wipson, one of six Minnesota players to sign a national letter of intent with a BCS program Wednesday, made it official in the Wayzata High School cafeteria. Wipson said he received interest from at least 11 schools, including Wisconsin and Iowa.
"It's kind of a special thing," Wipson said of being the lone Minnesotan to sign with the Gophers. "I don't think it's that big of a deal because once everyone gets there, they are all Minnesota kids. But it's kind of odd. We just haven't had the deepest class as far as BCS talent in Minnesota this year."
Wipson, who measures 6-2, 210 pounds, posted 62 tackles -- eight of them for loss -- four forced fumbles and had one sack. He suffered a torn ACL in November, but Wayzata coach Brad Anderson expects Wipson "to be fully recovered by summer. I know the Gophers coaches would like to see him compete for a spot this fall."
Accompanying Wipson will be Jeff Borchardt, a speedy receiver/running back who will join the Gophers as a preferred walk-on. Borchardt turned down two scholarship offers and other preferred walk-on opportunities.
Other Trojans athletes signing Wednesday were swimmer Owen Kusick (St. Cloud State), distance runner Derek Peterson (Lipscomb), wrestler Weston Droegemueller (Minnesota State) and soccer players Mara Dougherty (Gophers), Kiana Nickel (Minnesota State), Katie Schulz (Wisconsin-Green Bay) and Kylie Schwarz (Wisconsin).