the 16th super preps class

The 2014 Star Tribune Super Preps are a select group of seven Minnesota high school seniors who will sign Division I football scholarships. They were chosen based on college football potential.


East Ridge • TE • 6-5, 235 College choice: Rutgers

If timing is everything, then circumstances for Behr are setting up perfectly.

Tight ends are in vogue these days, particularly those with Behr’s ability to catch the ball — he played baseball until his junior year — and agility. Such NFL stars as New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, San Francisco’s Vernon Davis and Behr’s favorite, New England’s Rob Gronkowski, have added glamour to a sometimes blue-collar position.

“The game has changed to where tight ends are now seen as vertical threats,” said Behr, who committed verbally to Rutgers before his senior season. “At Rutgers, they use the tight end mostly as a Y-back, in a receiving role. That’s what caught my eye.”


East Ridge • C • 6-3, 292 College choice: Alabama

Minnesota prep football and colleges in the Deep South go together about as well as surfing and snowshoes. So what was it that led Hassenauer to become the first Minnesotan to “Roll Tide” since 1925?

Aside from requisite size and strength, Hassenauer has the attitude to succeed in the SEC, the nation’s most athletic and physical conference.

“Offensive line is the nastiest position on the field,” Hassenauer said last summer. “You have to be the most physical player you can.”

At a program like Alabama, he should be a perfect fit.


Eden Prairie • TE • 6-5, 235 College choice: Miami (Ohio)

Expect 2014 to be an eye-opening experience for Hovey, a starter for the Eagles on their three consecutive state championship teams. He will be going from a team that hasn’t lost in more than a year to a team that hasn’t won in the same span. Miami (Ohio) was 0-12 last fall.

No matter. The Redhawks hired former Notre Dame and Minnesota State Mankato assistant Chuck Martin to take over the program, one of many moves that impressed Hovey.

“He’s recruited me heavily,” Hovey said. “I like their tight end-oriented offense. [It’s a] chance for playing time, and it’s an outstanding academic school.”


Mpls. Washburn • RB • 6-0, 198 College choice: undecided

When something positive happens around Gophers football, fans wait for the other shoe to drop. That pretty much sums up their attitude when Jones, a four-star recruit, backed away last year from his verbal commitment to Minnesota to reopen the recruiting process.

Since then, an impressive showing in an all-star game in early January has created a buzz around him. Minnesotans remain hopeful that one of the most highly recruited running backs in state history will stick around — he’s gone on record saying Minnesota is still the front-runner — but when the likes of Florida and Michigan, and now Tennessee, show interest, does Minnesota stand a chance?

Gophers fans are hoping that shoe stays put.


Wayzata • TE • 6-5, 240

College choice: Minnesota

There was little for Lingen to mull over when the University of Minnesota called.

A physical player with surprising speed and better-than-average hands, Lingen had offers from North Dakota State, Air Force and Florida Atlantic when the Gophers made their pitch. “Once they offered, I knew where I wanted to go,” he said.

After impressing coaches over the summer, Lingen knew the Gophers were interested. And with three former Wayzata teammates — tackle Ben Lauer, linebacker Chris Wipson and receiver Jeff Borchardt — on the roster, he knew what to expect. But the offer didn’t come until midway through the season, just late enough to keep him guessing.

“I wasn’t expecting the offer when it came,” he said. “It was an awesome surprise.”


Chanhassen • OT • 6-6, 285

College choice: undecided

At this time last year, a lot of people didn’t know Ragnow from Ragnar, the Vikings’ mascot. But as Signing Day nears and Ragnow, a prototypical offensive tackle, remains uncommitted, he’s become as popular as a pizza guy in a dormitory.

“It’s kind of cool,” Ragnow said. “You feel like a celebrity when you really aren’t.”

The burly, long-limbed Ragnow is sincere when he says he still doesn’t know where he’s headed. Minnesota, Arkansas and Florida State are his three finalists.

“I just want to be 100 percent sure before I commit,” he said.


Owatonna • DT • 6-4, 255 College choice: Minnesota

With so much uncertainty surrounding top-level local recruits, Stelter’s commitment to Minnesota last summer was certainly a relief to everyone involved.

There was word that Nebraska was in the mix for Minnesota’s top defensive recruit, but Stelter ended that speculation in late July.

While he’s not the type of player who jumps off the stat sheet, his strength, wide frame (for adding weight) and solid fundamentals have him projected as an attacking interior lineman who will fit well in defensive coordinator’s Tracy Claeys’ scheme.


Jim Paulsen