MANKATO — Minnesota State football coach Todd Hoffner said he’s looking for winners, and thinks he’s found a bunch.
On Wednesday, the Mavericks signed 28 athletes to letters of intent to play football at Minnesota State. Eight of the newest Mavericks have won state championships in football or other sports.
“We test every athlete we sign so we can see strength and agility,” Hoffner said. “Then we try to find leadership qualities and see which players are driven to be great. We’ll know more when they get here for fall camp.”
As usual, the recruiting class followed Hoffner’s mantra of “luck and linemen.” Seven of the recruits are offensive linemen and five are defensive linemen.
One of the offensive linemen is Hunter Nething, a 6-foot-3, 310-pound guard from Elk River, which defeated Mankato West in the state championship game.
Sam Backer of Chatfield, one of three running backs in the recruiting class, ranks no. 2 in state history with 7,377 yards rushing. He had 2,782 yards rushing last season, third most in state history.
The other running backs were Bryer Prochniak of Armstrong, Iowa, and Carter Henderson of Marion, Iowa.
The Mavericks added quarterback Mitchell Thompson of Kewaunee, Wisconsin. Freshman quarterback Camden Dean, who started three games last season, has transferred to Sioux Falls.
Blue Earth Area quarterback Ashton Lloyd signed with Minnesota State, though he likely will switch positions. Hoffner said that he like’s Lloyd’s size and athleticism and is one of several recruits that could end up at different positions.
“He’s a kid who plays multiple sports,” Hoffner said. “He’s one of those guys who should blossom once he starts specializing in college.”
The recruiting class includes eight other Minnesotans: cornerback Jacory Bates of Eden Prairie, defensive lineman Ian Burau of Watertown-Mayer, kicker Connor Fournier of Maple Grove, receiver Jonah Hviding of Princeton, linebacker Charlie King of Faribault Bethlehem Academy, defensive end Andrew Partyka of Rogers, tight end Jermell Taylor of Eden Prairie and defensive end Carter Walker of Buffalo.
Hoffner said he lost a couple of recruits late to Division I programs, but he was happy with those who honored their verbal commitment, some of which were made months ago.
“We had to fight off some Division I (programs) that were trying to steal these guys late,” he said. “It’s always competitive.”
The rest of the recruiting class is receiver Sal Balistrieri (Mequan, Wisconsin), offensive lineman Aidan Betz (Elkhorn, Nebraska), defensive back Charlie Butt (Warrensville, Illinois), linebacker Maverick Cole (Sobski, Wisconsin), offensive lineman Keats Dyslin ( McFarland, Wisconsin), defensive lineman Diego Jackson (Ankeny, Iowa), offensive lineman Joseph Kingston (Ankeny, Iowa), receiver Neal May Jr. (Bradley, Illinois), offensive lineman Austin Moe (Judah, Wisconsin), offensive lineman Sam Morgan (Peoria, Illinois), cornerback Cole Rogers (Altoona, Iowa), defensive lineman Collin Selk (Columbus, Wisconsin), linebacker Cade Stingle (Shiocton, Wisconsin) and offensive lineman Henry Warsaw (St. Charles, Illinois).
Mankato West linebacker Ty Neils signed with Minnesota Duluth.
Mankato East defensive back Ben Glogowski signed with Sioux Falls, where his dad Jim is the new head coach.
Minnesota Valley Lutheran defensive lineman Malachi Kohls signed with Southwest Minnesota State.
Hoffner said that Minnesota State still hasn’t filled the Week 7 opening on next season’s schedule. The opening was created when Upper Iowa announced that it was leaving the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. … Hoffner said that an announcement will be made soon that an assistant coach will be hired to fill the opening created when Jim Glogowski left to become the head coach at Sioux Falls.
Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.