Hunter Friesen and Philip Nelson are hoping to carry their success from the high school football field to the synthetic turf of TCF Bank Stadium.
Friesen, a top receiving target for Nelson at Mankato West High School, accepted the opportunity to walk on at the University of Minnesota for the Gophers’ 2013-14 season. In February, Friesen had committed to walk on at Minnesota State, the Mankato Free Press reported.
However, in May, an opportunity to step up to Division I and join his former teammate arose.
“Ever since I started playing football, my dream has been to play Division I football for the home-state team,” Friesen told the Free Press. “Now my dream might come true.”
The Mankato, Minn., native scored 21 touchdowns last season for Mankato West, collecting 1,181 yards on 63 catches. He suffered a broken leg in a state semifinal loss to Bemidji, but he said his leg is at nearly 100 percent, and he expects to have a normal workout routine this summer.
Friesen will look to join Nelson, his quarterback at Mankato West and a highly touted Gophers recruit, who came to campus earlier than most recruits to begin classes this January.
“We’ve played together since we were in fifth grade,” Friesen told the Free Press. “He knows how to get me the football, and we were a very good combination. Hopefully, we can carry that over to college.”
Nelson was Minnesota’s “Mr. Football” in 2011, an award given to the state’s top senior, and he is the highlight of coach Jerry Kill’s first full recruiting class as leader of the Gophers.
Friesen will take this season off, enroll at Minnesota in January and be on the practice field by spring 2013.