Minnesota’s top high school football players: Meet the state’s best offensive linemenJerome Williams, 6-4, 285, Sr., Osseo
Williams is the state’s second-highest ranked recruit behind defensive end Jaxon Howard. A 4-star recruit, Williams is committed to play for the University of Minnesota. He played right tackle for the Orioles, but he will slot in along the interior of the offensive line for the Gophers. He was second-team All-State last season, and while his team only went 4-5, he led a strong offensive line.
Greg Johnson, 6-5, 280, Sr., Prior Lake
Johnson is ranked ever so slightly behind Williams and had a case of his own as the state’s best offensive lineman. An offensive tackle who also committed to the Gophers, he was the fulcrum of an offensive line which powered Prior Lake to offensive heights which included over 1,000 yards through the air and 2,159 via the ground. He has great size for a tackle and brings an entertaining style of play with his ability to block down the field.
Justin Jacobson, 6-2, 245, Jr., Pelican Rapids
Jacobson is a versatile athlete who runs a 4.9 40-yard dash, benches 285 pounds and squats 455. “Justin is the ideal offensive lineman at the high school level,” coach Eli Beachy said. Jacobson has the versatility to play both tackle and guard and Beachy believes he could even play tight end or running back if needed.
Reese Tripp, 6-7, 330, Sr., Kasson-Mantorville
Like the two lineman ranked above him in the state, Tripp is also a Gophers commit. He has prototypical tackle size and plays both ways for coach Joel Swanson. “He is pretty athletic for a guy his size,” Swanson said. “He moves well and is able to pull around and lead a play to the outside.”
Beau Johnson, 6-7, 250, Sr., Spring Lake Park
Johnson, a 3-star, is the state’s No. 13 recruit. He’s a big bodied, physical tackle who recently committed to play for North Dakota State at the next level. His play helped power Spring Lake Park to a 6-2 record and a total of 2,117 rushing yards.
Kasey Gerhard, 6-0, 270, Sr., Worthington
With ideal size for an interior lineman, Gerhard has been a focal point of both the offensive and defensive lines for Geno Lais’ programs. But it’s been along the offensive line where he’s made a name for himself. “He’s very consistent and moves well,” Lais said. “Understands schemes and has been a leader of the offensive line for two years.”
Wyatt Groskreutz, Sr., NRHEG
Groskreutz is a four-year starter. Unfortunately for coach Mark Kruger, his offensive lineman will be recovering from a torn ACL for the first few games of the 2022 season. It will be a big loss, because with Groskreutz plays, he can operate effectively from all five of the line’s positions.
Joseph Meier, Sr., Watertown Mayer
Meier started every game as a junior for a 7-3 Watertown Mayer team in 2021. He’s slated to be a two-way player for coach Andrew Phillips this season. Phillips describes him as a big frame player who is the anchor of a strong offensive line.
Tait Anderberg, 6-7, 300, Jr., Lakeville North
Lakeville North head coach Brian Vossen needed just two words to describe his star offensive tackle: giant and strong. Anderberg’s frame has propelled into one of the state’s most imposing offensive linemen.
Grant Chapman, 6-5, 28, Sr., Anoka
Chapman, a 3-star tackle with offers from Division I schools, is a quarterback’s best friend. With Chapman’s help, quarterback Jacob Deutschman threw for the third most yards in the state (2,478), and Anoka finished 6-4 in 2021. There will be a new quarterback under center in 2022, and whoever it is is lucky to have Chapman on the front line.
Jack Liwienski, 6-3, 185, Minnetonka
Liwienski is a 2-star interior offensive lineman who committed to North Dakota State in late June. In 2021, Minnetonka went 8-2 overall, had a 1,500 yard passer, a 700-yard rusher and four receivers with at least 275 yards. Liwienski was key to that success.
Trevion Mack, 6-5, 295, Sr., Irondale
Mack is a 2-star recruit. He committed to Northern Illinois at the start of August and will look to have one final, dominant year for Irondale in 2022. While Irondale was just 4-5, the program averaged over 200 rushing yards per game in 2021 behind Mack and others.
Jacob Lopau, 6-7, 300, Sr., Rocori
Lopau is the state’s No. 30 recruit, a 2-star, and a North Dakota commit. He’s one of the biggest lineman in the state. The Cold Spring native also had interest from Northern Iowa in the 2022 recruiting cycle.
Michael Bougie, 6-4, 278, Sr., Cretin-Derham Hall
On a big offensive line, Bougie stands out. He’s got the size and versatility to play multiple positions although he will primarily play tackle for Steve Walsh’s program. “Michael will be one of the big men on the line,” Walsh said. “He brings physicality and strength at a key position.”
Jaydon Ellis, 6-3, 270, Jr., Burnsville
What he lacks in prototypical tackle height, Ellis makes up for with sheer, brute strength. On defense, he plugs up holes as the nose tackle for coach Vince Varpness. On offense, he brings a similar level of strength. Force is the defining word that Varpness uses when talking about Ellis.
Kade Lewis, Sr., Sartell St. Stephen
Scott Hentges' team had quite the offensive line last season, and in 2021it will be anchored by a pair of seniors. The first is Lewis, who is a three-year starter along the front. He’s got versatility for his size which is demonstrated by his commitment to play Division I baseball for Butler.
Will Mahowlad, Sr., Sartell St. Stephen
Mahowlad is the second offensive lineman that will anchor this unit. And, like Lewis, is a three-year starter. Another similarity to Lewis is the versatility. Mahowlad has played both ways the past few years and it remains to be seen if he does that once again or sticks to the offensive side for coach Hentges in 2022.
Ethan Martinez, 6-1, 225, Jr., Tracy-Milroy-Balaton
Martinez is somewhat undersized for left tackle. But, with an extensive wrestling background, he’s been up to this challenge physically. “He plays really well off blocks and is able to move when on offense extremely well,” coach Jason Kainz said. “He is a big, athletic kid.”
Brecken Klein, 6-4, 280, Sr., Lakeville South
Klein was one of several impressive prospects for coach Ben Burk’s championship-winning program in 2021. Klein played center last season and was the anchor of a talented group. “A tremendous work ethic. … He will continue to grow,” Burk said.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a position-by-position look at some of the top players in Minnesota high school football. The first list focuses on the