Roseville quarterback Perra commits to play for Gophers

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 22, 2014 - 7:56 PM

Jacques Perra, the Star Tribune’s Metro Player of the Year, will be a preferred walk-on at Minnesota, which recently lost quarterback Philip Nelson when he opted to transfer.

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Jacques Perra, the Star Tribune’s Metro Player of the Year, has guided Roseville to the state semifinals for the first time.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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Roseville quarterback Jacques Perra, who led his team to its best season and was named the Star Tribune’s Metro Player of the Year, said Wednesday that he has committed to play football for the Gophers.

Perra, who will be a preferred walk-on, announced his intentions on Twitter.

“There’s no greater feeling,” Perra said in an interview. “It’s a weight off my shoulders knowing I get to be part of a program on the rise.”

The Gophers, who recently lost quarterback Philip Nelson when the sophomore announced his decision to transfer, intensified their interest in Perra last weekend. Perra took a campus visit and watched hours of film with quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski. On Sunday, Perra and his family met with head coach Jerry Kill at Kill’s home.

Kill also met with Perra and Raiders’ coach Chris Simdorn at Roseville High School on Tuesday. Perra said Kill “doesn’t do this for many preferred walk-ons” but “wanted to make sure I knew how much he wanted me.”

Perra plans to graduate in March and attend Gophers’ spring practices, though he cannot participate and enroll in the college in May.

He ranked No. 1 in Class 6A with 2,875 passing yards and 32 touchdown passes during the 2013 season. Perra led the Raiders, who had not recorded a winning season in seven years, to the semifinals of the state football tournament before losing to Rosemount.

Perra, 6-3, 210 pounds, improved his foot speed and developed a better touch on throws downfield working with former Gophers quarterback Rickey Foggie last summer.

He was regarded as one of the past decade’s best high school quarterbacks in Minnesota. One coach in the Suburban East Conference said Perra’s legacy is comparable to Adam Weber of Mounds View, who also played for the Gophers, and Mark Alt of Cretin-Derham Hall.

“You don’t need eyes to be his receiver,” said Jesper Horsted, a longtime best friend and Roseville receiver. “If you put your arms out, you’ll catch it.”

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