Not only has the state produced only two five-star players since 2002, the state has only had six recruiting cycles where at least two kids were rated four stars or better by Fox Sports Next … hardly anything to get excited about.
South St. Paul Senior defensive tackle Preston Woods is not one of those four-star-or-better players at the moment, a fact he acknowledges and understands, but his football buddies are far from average.
Hanging out with running back and Minnesota commit Jeffrey Jones (the state's only four-star player in 2014), junior defensive end Jashon Cornell (who has strong potential to be a four-star player when the 2015 ratings come out) and offensive lineman Frank Ragnow (up to 10 offers), Woods is part of a crowd that wants to improve the reputation of the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
"We're all close," Woods told Badger Nation. "We view Minnesota as an underdog state in terms of recruiting. We don't work out together, but when we are at camps we push each other and travel together. For me, because they have so many offers, I view myself as the underdog. I am always competing to improve my game to get these offers because I know I can get these offers."
North Dakota is the only school to offer Woods, but more should be expected. Coaches from Army, Indiana, Iowa Michigan State, Minnesota, Stanford and Wisconsin all came to South St. Paul Senior during the spring, most of whom expressed interest in having Woods perform at their camp to see if he can earn a scholarship.
"A lot of schools are on the verge of offering me," said Woods. "My grades are perfectly fine. I have a 3.5 GPA, so I just have to prove I can play."
Getting feedback that he needs to work with his hands more, Woods has been working with trainers to improve his pad level and his technique every morning with drills. Typically working out for three hours daily in drills designed to improve explosion, footwork and agility, Woods has seen improvements in his lifts and his cardio.
"Coming into my senior season, I want to be improved in all of those aspects of my game," said Woods, who has improved his weight to 294 and his 40-yard dash time to 5.01. "I am going really hard this spring. I feel really comfortable with where I am at because my speed and strength has really complete."
Playing center, offensive tackle, blocking tight end or defensive tackle for his team, Woods wants to be known as a complete player, which is why he plans to hit multiple camps this summer to show his skills.
One school that is anxious to see Woods' development is Wisconsin. Having him on campus for the spring game, Woods said he had a conversation with Gary Andersen in which the head coach said the Badgers viewed Woods' highly, and that they were anxious for Woods to come to camp to try and earn a scholarship.
"He also mentioned he wanted to see my pad level and use my hands more, but I have fixed that," said Woods. "Ever since I heard that I started training more.
"I really like Wisconsin. I am anxious to compete this summer at all these camps."