Top Minnesotans in college football (outside of Dinkytown)
The Gophers have several key contributers from Minnesota high schools. Here’s our ranking of Minnesotans outside of Minnesota:
1. Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
Senior, center (6-5, 319): The Chanhassen product picked the Razorbacks over Minnesota in 2013. He was ranked as the third best player in the state of Minnesota behind Washburn’s Jeff Jones and East Ridge’s J.C. Hassenauer. Ragnow is a preseason first team All-American and on the watch list for the Rimington and Outland Trophies.
2. Jake Wieneke, South Dakota State
Senior, receiver (6-4, 215): The Gophers never offered him a scholarship as a senior at Maple Grove in 2012. After redshirting, Wieneke became a star for the Jackrabbits, leading them in receiving during three straight All-America seasons. He’s considered the top NFL prospect in the Football Championship Subdivision for the 2018 draft.
3. Jack Cichy, Wisconsin (injured)
Senior, linebacker (6-2, 234): Recorded 60 tackles in just seven games in 2016 before being lost for the season with a pectoral injury. The Badgers star and Hill Murray product suffered another season-ending injury after tearing his ACL in fall practice this year.
4. J.C. Hassenauer, Alabama
Junior, center (6-2, 299): Expected to be the Tide’s No. 2 center for the second straight season. Hassenauer has played in 16 career games, including nine last season. The Woodbury native was ranked as the top center in the nation in the 2014 class.
5. Greg Menard, North Dakota State (injured)
Senior, defensive end (6-2, 241): One of the most dominant pass rushers in the FCS was lost for the season with a torn ACL earlier this month. The All-American from Lakeville had a monster junior season leading the Bison with 11 sacks.
6. Jashon Cornell, Ohio State
Sophomore, defensive tackle (6-3, 280): Cornell was once ranked as the best junior in high school by ESPN. The ex-Cretin-Derham Hall star played in just five games in 2016, but he is projected as an interior defensive lineman with the second unit this fall.
7. Ryan Connelly, Wisconsin
Junior, linebacker (6-3, 228): The second Minnesotan in Wisconsin’s linebacker corps. Connelly started eight games and recorded 59 tackles, including seven tackles for loss. The Eden Prairie standout and former walk-on was named Big Ten player of the week after an 11-tackle performance against Nebraska last year.
8. Alex Hart, New Mexico
Junior, linebacker (6-2, 230): The Prior Lake native was elected defensive team captain and starting inside linebacker this season. Lobos defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove, a former Gophers coach, said Hart graded as his best linebacker last year.
9. John Santiago, North Dakota
Junior, running back (5-9, 180): The former Andover standout earned All-America second-team honors last season after leading the Big Sky Conference in kickoff return with 27.8 yards per return, including a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown against Weber State. Set UND’s single-season rushing mark with 1,459 yards as a freshman in 2015.
10. Jesper Horsted, Princeton
Sophomore, wide receiver (6-4, 220): Horsted set Minnesota’s single-game record for catches (19) at Roseville Area High School. He’s the leading returning receiver for the Tigers. He helped Princeton win the Ivy League title last season in both football and baseball.
Other notable players
• Drayton Carlberg (DeLaSalle), sophomore defensive tackle at Oregon.
• Josh Corcoran (Lakeville South), junior defensive end at Northern Illinois.
• Robbie Grimsley (Hutchinson), junior safety at North Dakota State.
• Jamahl Johnson (Prior Lake), a sophomore defensive tackle at Iowa State.
• Patrick Kasl (Forest Lake), a red-shirt freshman offensive lineman at Wisconsin.
• Matt Kegel (Chaska), a red-shirt freshman offensive tackle at Oklahoma State.
• J.D. Spielman (Eden Prairie), a red-shirt freshman wide receiver at Nebraska.
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