METRO TOP 10
1. Eden Prairie: For all of its strength a year ago, Eden Prairie’s offense had become one-dimensional (read: JD Spielman) by season’s end. With him gone, expect the Eagles to look like the teams of old, with a balanced, grind-it-out mentality and a staunch defense.
2. Lakeville North: The Panthers must replace Drew Stewart at QB, and their wide receivers will be green. But RB Wade Sullivan and a veteran offensive line will more than make up for those losses. The defense looks primed to return to its rough and rugged style.
3. Totino-Grace: There’s a lot to love here, particularly the metro’s deepest backfield in QB Kyle Halvorson and RBs Brady Bertram, Gayflor Flomo and Ivan Burlak. How quickly an inexperienced line jells will tell how far the Eagles can go.
4. Woodbury: Everybody’s darling, thanks to enviable talent led by TE/DE Nate Bursch, WR Jeremiah Codden, S Nico Bolden and athlete Jake West. They will take a lot of pressure off new junior QB Ryan Christensen.
5. Edina: Top-to-bottom, this may be the most talented team coach Reed Boltmann has had at Edina. It starts with his son, Brock, one of the top QBs in the metro, through fleet WR Parker Rickert and mammoth OT Quinn Carroll.
6. Maple Grove: The Crimson have some big holes to fill but have a terrific leader in QB Brad Davison. Coach Matt Lombardi is a defensive whiz and will undoubtedly have a fast, aggressive group on that side of the ball.
7. Rosemount: After two consecutive years of playoff disappointments, the Irish are back with a chip on their shoulders. It starts with a big, physical offensive line led by junior Jacob Smith, who has committed to BYU.
8. Centennial: This is the Cougars’ breakthrough year. DE Luke Choul strikes fear into opposing linemen. There’s skill to burn on offense with QB Kyle Nordby, WRs Alex Facon and Keshaun Story and RB Riley Trettel.
9. East Ridge: Can the Raptors regain the magic of 2015, when they shook off preseason turmoil and made a run to the Class 6A final? Don’t count them out, particularly with RB Dominik London in the backfield.
10. Prior Lake: The Lakers are as physical as they come. An elite corps of senior linebackers in Lucas Pumper, Sam Schlachter, Jared Benson and Keaton Kaisersatt give them a chance to win every game.
Best of the rest, metro version
5A: St. Michael-Albertville, Spring Lake Park, Rogers, Chanhassen
4A: Becker, Hutchinson, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, South St. Paul
3A-1A: St. Croix Lutheran, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Minneapolis North (1A)