Rosemount senior linebacker/safety Jake Ratzlaff announced Monday his intention to play football for the University of Wisconsin.

Ratzlaff’s future had been the subject of much speculation. A talented hockey player who had played with the U.S. U-18 national team, he had given a verbal commitment to Minnesota after his freshman year.

“I knew for a long time that I wanted to go there, but I talked with their coaches this morning and made it official,” Ratzlaff said. “It’s an amazing campus, an amazing place. Their program is awesome.”

A talented all-around athlete, the 6-3, 215-pound Ratzlaff’s star began to rise as a football player last year and he reopened his recruiting to football coaches. His two finalists were Wisconsin and Minnesota, but he also held football offers from Iowa and Iowa State.

When he wasn’t drafted in the 2020 NHL Draft earlier this year, many believed that was a sign that he had changed his focus to football. “That he didn’t get drafted might mean that he’s made a decision,” Jeff Erdmann, his high school football coach, said.”

Ratzlaff was considered three-star recruit and ranked as the No. 7-recruit in Minnesota in the Class of 2021 by 247Sports, a ranking likely influenced by uncertainty over whether he would play football or hockey.

He said his days in skates are likely over.

“I’m getting surgery on my [right] labrum in two weeks and there’s about a four-month recovery,” he said. “I do want to play baseball to end my high school career, so it looks like hockey is out of the question for now.”

He’ll join Lakeville South lineman Riley Mahlman, considered the state’s top recruit, at Wisconsin. Last year’s No. 1-ranked player in Minnesota — Minnehaha Academy linebacker Kaden Johnson — also chose to play at Wisconsin.

JIM PAULSEN