When a program graduates seventeen seniors, National Signing Day takes on a special significance. The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference's Winona State needed to retool in a number of areas, but two positions stood out. “Our number one need this year…
When a program graduates seventeen seniors, National Signing Day takes on a special significance. The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference's Winona State needed to retool in a number of areas, but two positions stood out.
“Our number one need this year was wide receiver,” co-defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator Zac Barton. “I think we got some talented young men at that position. It is important to keep our kids – within a thirty to forty mile radius – home.”
The Warriors landed seven wide receivers – two from Minnesota – including Mykal Howard from St. Louis Park and their top-ranked Minnesota recruit Tyler Knutson from Prior Lake.
The other heavily recruited position for the Warriors is a position they almost always have to recruit heavily.
“We are a 3-4 defense, so we are always linebacker heavy (in recruiting),” Barton said. “We lost three senior inside linebackers, so we needed some depth. Each year we bring in a minimum of four.”
Apple Valley's Mario Lewis, Blake Huebner from St. Francis, and Ryan Kusch from Totino-Grace are three of the 2017 class who will be competing for the open linebacker spots.
With the school’s location, most of Winona State’s athletes come from Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“We’ve got some guys who were heavily recruited, but we got them on campus and we got them to our camps. That is huge for us,” Barton said. “To see them in person, it takes a lot of stress out of the evaluation process. That was the biggest thing with the Minnesota guys. We got to see them go against other top level talent. We saw those guys at our camps. We saw those guys at Minnesota’s camps. The more we saw them in a competitive environment the better we feel about it.”
The Winona State coaching staff has a lot to feel good about with the quality and quantity of recruits they were able to bring in with this year’s class.