Jesper Horsted made an over-his-helmet, 18-yard touchdown reception Thursday, creating a 17-17 tie for Chicago in what became a 24-20 victory for the Bears in Detroit.
Horsted plucked the pass over two defenders, brought the football toward his body, had it bobble momentarily and then secured it with one hand. It was described in the media as a “circus catch” for the rookie tight end.
No doubt, this came as a surprise to most Bears fans, although not so much those who had watched the passing fireworks of the Roseville High Raiders earlier this decade.
“Jesper was a big kid with great hands, but more so, his body control was far above all the defenders he was playing against,” Roseville coach Chris Simdorn said. “He could body guys out, and then his hand-to-eye coordination, that was tremendous, too.
Horsted was a year behind quarterback Jacques Perra at Roseville. They were close friends, but football was Horsted’s third sport, behind baseball and basketball.
“It took us until his sophomore year  to get Jesper on the field,’’ Simdorn said.
A year later, Roseville reached the Class 6A state semifinals. The Raiders beat Maple Grove 24-21 in the quarterfinals — and Perra connected with Horsted for 19 catches and 293 yards.
Horsted graduated in spring 2015 and headed off to Princeton for two reasons: academics, and a football coach in Bob Surace who had no problem with Jesper playing baseball in the spring.
He was a wide receiver and set Princeton career records with 196 catches and 28 TD receptions, and was second all-time with 2,703 yards. He had success in 2016 and 2017 in baseball, and was a unanimous all-conference selection in 2018.
Horsted skipped baseball last spring, played in the East-West Shrine Game, went undrafted and signed with the Bears in mid-May. He was cut at the end of training camp, re-signed to the practice squad, and surfaced Thursday after a run of Bears tight-end injuries.
“Put that talent with the head he has on his shoulders … all coaches love guys like Jesper,’’ Simdorn said.
• Include Simdorn among those dazzled by Blooming Prairie’s 6-5, 250-pound receiver Gabe Hagen in Prep Bowl: “With that size, and his ability to concentrate and hold on to the ball in traffic … tremendous.’’
• Jim Crane agreed to the switch of Houston to AL when he bought Astros. Maybe that gives him a couple of markers in the current cheating investigation.
• As a proud BBWAA member, I would have voted in the AL for Gerrit Cole for Cy Young and Alex Bregman for MVP, and I did vote for Rocco Baldelli as manager.
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