The St. Louis Park football program wasn’t known for annually pumping out college football prospects until the Class of 2017. For the third-consecutive year, the Orioles will now have multiple players with talent to play at the next level, and…
The St. Louis Park football program wasn’t known for annually pumping out college football prospects until the Class of 2017.
For the third-consecutive year, the Orioles will now have multiple players with talent to play at the next level, and Jariel Lopez-Barrera might be the best in this fall’s senior class.
Lopez-Barrera is already on the recruiting radar of Division I and II schools. He said he’s been in contact with South Dakota, South Dakota State, Northern Iowa and Iowa State, along with multiple Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference programs.
“Iowa State and South Dakota State impressed me on the junior days,” said Lopez-Barrera via email. “I would love to go to either one.”
Lopez-Barrera, who’s currently No. 57 in NFN’s Class of 2019 rankings, said he’s interested in pursuing a chiropractic career after his playing days are done. He added that a nice campus, and chemistry with coaches and other incoming freshman, will be a priority when making his college decision.
“I’m planning on going to summer camps at UNI, South Dakota, SDSU, Iowa State and Minnesota-Duluth,” said Lopez-Barrera, who also throws discus at SLP.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder outside linebacker led the Orioles with 109 tackles, including 15 for loss, as a junior. He also recorded seven sacks. Lopez-Barrera was named the Orioles’ defensive MVP by his teammates and coaches, while earning All-Suburban District honors too.
His outstanding performance, however, was just one of reasons the Orioles recorded their first winning season since 1972. Other players like seniors Jonny Sorensen and Karon Adams, along with fellow Class of 2019 prospect Akili Ferris, had breakout seasons to help lead coach Ben Wolfe’s squad into uncharted territory.
But of all the plays that helped St. Louis Park make history last season, Lopez-Barrera’s section-final sealing tackle might have been the most memorable.
The Orioles linebacker sliced through a blocker and stood up Cooper running back Onte Burns short of the goal line on a 2-pt conversion attempt. The play preserved a 13-12 victory and sent the Orioles to the state tournament for the first time in program history.
St. Louis Park lost to Brainerd in the Class AAAAA state quarterfinals, but the impact that Lopez-Barrera and his teammates made on the entire community will be remembered for generations. He hopes to repeat that impact again as a senior in his second year of being a team captain.
“Junior season went by way too fast,” Lopez-Barrera said, “but a successful year to say the least.”