MN LB Zach Larsen commits to Northern Illinois

Zach Larsen, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker/fullback from Northfield (MN) High, has committed to Northern Illinois and will visit the DeKalb campus this weekend. Larsen led the Raiders (12-1) to the Minnesota Class AAAA semifinals and keyed a Raider defense that has shut out four teams and allowed only three teams to reach double figures. He was getting recruited by several high major programs at one time, including Minnesota.

Zach Larsen was a three-year varsity starter for the Raiders. He finished the year with 171 tackles this season. He had 18 tackles for loss for negative-51 yards and seven sacks for 51 yards. Larsen had two caused fumbles and two pass breakups. Offensively, he had 64 carries for 324 yards (5.1 yards per carry and five touchdowns). Those numbers were a slight improvement from his junior year when he had 141 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and eight sacks and rushed for 360 yards on 59 carries and he scored a touchdown.

Larsen had nine unassisted tackles and one assistsin their 14-7 loss to Sartell-St. Stephens in the semifinals. He had three carries for one yard and threw an 81-yard touchdown to standout wide receiver Kyle Thomforde.

Northern Illinois, Iowa State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ball State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Colorado State and Michigan State called Larsen during May and he attended day camps at Minnesota, Indiana, Notre Dame, Northwestern and Wisconsin.

Larsen said that he actually had committed to Northern Illinois a while ago, but the word did not get out until the end of the season.

"I committed a month ago and will visit this weekend."

Larsen said that he felt comfortable with his decision to commit before the official visit.

"I talked to some of the bigger schools and felt that I would have more of an impact at a smaller school."

Larsen said that having only one Division I scholarship offer to date did not influence his decision.

"I would have waited longer, but I really liked the program and the coaches and went to a couple of games."

Larsen said that Northern Illinois and most schools were looking at him as a middle or strong linebacker.

Larsen said it was disappointing to see his season end in the state semifinals. Northfield ended the playoffs ranked No. 1 in the state before losing to Sartell-St. Stephens.

"It was pretty frustrating. We didn't show up to play right away, but that is the way things go."

Larsen also throws the shot-put for the Northfield track and field team and is on the weightlifting team.

Larsen had gotten interest from North Dakota State and Northern Iowa, who were also checking out three of his Raider teammates.

He was on the radar from schools like Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin, but he is not a top priority for those schools, according to Northfield head coach Bubba Sullivan.

"He was not a top priority for those schools. He was on the next tier, in case they lost out on someone of their top tier. He was excited about the Northern Illinois offer."

Northern Illinois has signed several Minnesota players in the past few years and is recruiting several local standouts this season.

"I played against (freshman wide receiver) Matt Simon of Farmington in the past. I have not gotten to know him, but I saw him during one of my visits."

Former Maple Grove guard Jon Brost is also a freshman at Northern Illinois as is sophomore tight end Jake Nordin of Lake Lillian.

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