Meet the 2022 Star Tribune All-Metro Defense. Here are the first-team selections, followed by the second-team choices. For the All-Metro Offense, go here. And to read about the 2022 Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year, go here.
Hayden Bills, sr., Rosemount
The 6-4, 253-pound Bills anchored the defensive line for the state's top defense. Heads into the Prep Bowl with 25 tackles, five tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Uses great strength and leverage to shed blockers.
Jaxon Howard, sr., Cooper
Excelled at defensive line and linebacker for the Hawks. Posted 119 tackles, four tackles for loss and an interception. The 6-4, 240-pound Howard was the state's top recruit. Chose LSU, one of the more than 50 Power Five schools to offer a scholarship.
Chiddi Obiazor, sr., Eden Prairie
Elite edge rusher. A beast of a player at 6-6, 245 pounds. Got better throughout the season. Finished with 40 tackles, three forced fumbles and also blocked three kicks. Committed to Kansas State.
Keenan Wilson, sr., Eagan
A key part of Eagan's resurgence this season. Said one opposing coach: "if you didn't double-team him, you did so at your own peril." The 6-2, 280-pounder recorded 25 tackles, six for a loss and recovered three fumbles. Committed to North Dakota State.
Alex Elliott, sr., Hutchinson
The 6-2, 210-pound Gophers commit brings 122 tackles, six sacks, three interceptions and two blocked punts into the Class 4A Prep Bowl. The stopper in the middle of Hutchinson's defense as the Tigers attempt to defend their state championship.
Kade Gilbertson, sr., Rosemount
Speed kills and the 6-2, 210-pound Gilbertson has it in spades. Relentless pursuit of opposing ball carriers has produced 99 tackles as the Irish readies for the Class 6A Prep Bowl. Also starts at tight end, providing key blocks in the Power-T offense.
Reese Littlefield, sr., Centennial
Gets all of his 6-3, 235-pound frame into his work Friday nights. Led the Cougars with 144 tackles. "Absolute man child inside," an opposing coach said. "Watch offensive linemen try to block him — he splatters them."
Dan Tschida, sr., Roseville
The Raiders' 0-9 finish this season couldn't diminish Tschida's value. He compiled 92.5 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. The 6-1, 225-pound man in the middle, who also played fullback, has committed to the University of St. Thomas.
Jake Borman, sr., St. Thomas Academy
All too often, opposing quarterbacks saw their pass attempts wind up in Borman's hands. The 6-1, 185-pound safety was the ultimate centerfielder. He finished with nine interceptions and broke up another seven passes.
Devin Jordan, sr., Eden Prairie
Played like another linebacker with his ability to run the alley and tackle ball carriers. The 6-2, 190 pound safety, who is committed to the Air Force Academy, tallied 46 tackles and intercepted three passes. He scored seven touchdowns as a running back.
Garrison Monroe, sr., Shakopee
An opposing coach called the 6-foot, 180-pound Monroe, who is committed to the Gophers, the "best defensive back we saw this season. He could handle every skilled player we have." Recorded one interception because teams preferred to not throw his way.
Ryder Patterson, sr., Lakeville South
"He's the heart and soul of our team and one of the most impactful and physical players in the state of Minnesota," Cougars coach Ben Burk said. Finished the season with 65 tackles and two interceptions. The 5-10, 190-pound Patterson is committed to Minnesota Duluth.
Connor Fournier, sr., Maple Grove
Drilled 8 of 10 field goals and 50 of 52 point after attempts for the Crimson heading into the Class 6A Prep Bowl. Three of his field goals have come in the playoffs.
Caleb McGrath, sr., Eastview
Launched his punts a net average of 40.4 yards. Dropped six punts inside the other teams' 20-yard line. Committed to the Gophers.
. . .
- Charlie Gleason, sr., Stillwater
- Jack Lachmiller, sr., Elk River
- Braden Mohr, sr., Farmington
- AuVon Sager, sr., Minneapolis North
- Tanner Albeck, sr., Maple Grove
- Owen McCloud, sr., Lakeville South
- Adam Mertens, sr., Eden Prairie
- Caleb Sandstrom, sr., Elk River
- Joey Stolpestad, sr., SMB
- Chase Ullom, sr., Wayzata
- Jacob Anderson, sr., Maple Grove
- Peyton Himley, sr., Edina
- Marques Monroe, sr., Bloomington Kennedy
- Chance Swansson, sr., Rosemount
- Logan Lehrer, sr., Prior Lake
- Eli Nowacki, sr., Centennial
. . .
How they were selected
The Star Tribune's All-Metro teams and Metro Player of the Year were chosen based on nominations from metro-area coaches, conversations with coaches and staff observations.