After the performance of Edina sophomore quarterback Mason West in the state tournament, where he helped the Hornets to within a couple of points of their first Class 6A state championship, here's a look at a talented crop of underclassmen (sophomores and younger) who will make Minnesota high school football a destination for recruiters in the next couple of years.
The top four
Mason West, Edina, Class of 2026
Blessed with the size and arm that coaches at the next level look for, the 6-5, 200-pound West rocketed up the list of local prospects with a dazzling postseason. Also a top hockey prospect (West and Edina's other breakout football star, John Warpinski, are already seeing regular ice time with the Hornets hockey team), West showed exceptional growth in 2023, completing nearly 66 percent of his passes (184 of 281) for 2,625 yards and 28 touchdowns. He showed impressive ball placement on his throws and the savvy to keep his eyes downfield when pressured. He can drive the ball with his throwing mechanics and showed an ability to deliver the ball on time and to the correct receiver. West had a feel for the pocket and moved well within it, buying time. His ceiling is high.
Nick Kinsey, Stillwater, Class of 2026
The 6-3, 205-pounder has made waves on the national stage, already holding offers from four Power 5 schools — UConn, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Miami (Fla.) — that don't often make offers to Minnesota kids. He threw for 2,268 yards and 26 TDs with just four interceptions, despite missing time while in concussion protocol. He has a strong arm with a remarkably quick release and recognizes opposing defenses well. Kinsey's seen as polished and coachable, and he improved his skills by attending Quarterback University, a program for quarterback development based in Detroit that holds camps and combines across the country. He has a good sense for what he's trying to do on the field, and he fits the ball into tight windows.
Kaden Harney, Maple Grove, Class of 2026
Questions abounded about who was going to replace Jacob Kilzer, a dual-threat QB who led the Crimson to the 2022 Class 6A state championship. Harney's presence ended that speculation quickly, and his quick adaptation to the position helped keep Maple Grove in the top 10 in 6A all season. His rapid development was possible thanks to the presence of star running back Charles Langama, relieving pressure. He passed for 1,091 yards and 14 touchdowns. Karney can loft a well-placed, catchable deep ball and makes throws while on the move. He showed a natural ability to extricate himself from difficult situations, thanks to better-than-average anticipation and athleticism. Harney can throw potential receivers open, a valuable talent. At 6-3 and 180 pounds, he has the requisite size to excel and succeed despite pressure. He has all the tools, he just needs the seasoning.
Jett Feeney, Moorhead, Class of 2027
If ever a player had the pedigree to play quarterback, it's Feeney. His father, Kevin, who is also his coach at Moorhead, was a quarterback for North Dakota State in the late 1990s, and his brother Trey just completed his sophomore season as a quarterback for North Dakota. What stands out on video about Jett Feeney is his presence in the pocket and his awareness of his surroundings. His recognition skills are off the charts for a player his age. His accuracy and ball placement are tremendous, and he can drive the ball downfield with velocity. He threw for 2,385 yards and 29 touchdowns in his first year as a varsity quarterback. He's already 6-1 and 175 pounds. If he stays healthy, he'll have to sift through Power 5 offers.
Four more to watch
Caleb Francois, Minnetonka, sophomore, 6-0, 170
Spencer Ackerman, Sauk Rapids-Rice, sophomore, 5-10, 170
Cade Sherman, Rosemount, sophomore, 6-0, 160
Izaak Johnson, Cretin-Derham Hall, sophomore, 6-3, 185