All-State Receiver to Walk on with Gophers

Two-time All-State wide receiver and recent Mankato West (Minn.) High School graduate Hunter Friesen will walk on with the Gophers during the 2013 season. He originally was invited to walk on at Minnesota State (Mankato, Minn.) University, but decided if he is going to walk on somewhere, he might as well shoot for the level he has always dreamed of playing.

"I've always wanted to play D-I football," Friesen said. "I worked so hard for it."

Despite the big numbers he put up in high school (63 catches for 1,181 yards and 21 TDs) he doesn't understand why more teams did not offer him a scholarship.

"I don't know," Friesen said. "I was waiting, waiting, waiting and it just never came."

He felt that being 2011 AP Player of the Year Philip Nelson's teammate may have overshadowed some of his accomplishments. However, since they've played together since fifth grade, Friesen feels the relationship they have developed can really help his chances of making the Gopher squad.

"It's mostly just chemistry," Friesen said. "He's as good as they come. He knows where to put the ball. I know it can help in the long run to give me a chance to show what I can do."

Friesen is taking the fall off from football to continue to rehab the broken leg he suffered broken leg in the state semi-final loss against Bemidji. He participated in the high school all-star game held at St. Cloud State University last month. It was his first action since his injury.

"I felt good," Friesen said. "I felt just as fast and well-rounded as everyone else. It was a good time. Everyone there is up at the next level, but I didn't feel like I was behind or anything."

At 5-foot-10 and as Friesen puts it, "170 pounds on a good day after a meal", schools may have overlooked him because he does not fit the on-paper profile of a D-I receiver. But he doesn't listen to detractors.

"It's just heart," he said. "I like people to know I'm the smallest guy on the field, but they better watch out for me, because I don't let size or any of that stuff turn me down. I'm just going to go out there and play."

Although he has taken a few kick returns back for touchdowns in his career, Friesen is not opposed to covering kickoffs or playing anywhere else on the field in order to make the team.

"I'm fine with [covering kickoffs]," he said. "That's cool with me. I'll do whatever I have to do to play. If they want me to play D-back, I'll play D-back. Anything I can do to play."

Friesen says his wrestling background has made him mentally tough, and he is ready to continue his progress in the weight room as he prepares for spring football in 2013.

"I'm going to give it everything I've got," he said. "I'm going to put everything on the line to get out on the field and get playing time."

Hunter Friesen Profile

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