By Chad Courrier
Free Press Staff Writer
Following eighth grade, Alex Knutson had to make a choice: Continue playing basketball or switch his focus to football.
So he spent his recent summers lifting weights more than shooting jump shots, and today, he’ll sign a letter of intent to play football at Minnesota Duluth.
“Ever since then, I’ve dreamed of playing football at the next level,” he said.
Knutson said he really liked the city of Duluth and had a good time meeting with coaches and players during a visit last week. He’s been told he’ll play slot receiver.
Last season, Knutson, 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds with a 4.6-second 40-yard dash, made 41 receptions for 672 yards and six touchdowns. He also started at safety, where he made 29 solo tackles and 86 assists with one interception. As a sophomore, Knutson caught two passes for 89 yards and a touchdown, then made 37 receptions for 477 yards and three scores as a junior.
Knutson will join teammate Dan Wills, who committed to Minnesota Duluth last month. Knutson said that when he found out that Wills enjoyed his campus visit and would be signing there, that pushed the Bulldogs ahead of Bemidji State and St. Cloud State.
“It made me feel better that I’d get a chance to play with someone I knew,” Knutson said.
Wills, who projects as a tight end in college, made six receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown before suffering a serious knee injury in the playoffs.
Mankato West running back/linebacker Trenton Marks has decided to attend Gustavus Adolphus. Marks, who transferred from Mankato Loyola for his senior season, led the Scarlets in rushing with 695 yards, averaging 6.9 yards per carry, and 10 touchdowns.
Mankato East lineman Cory Jans has chosen Dakota Wesleyan, an NAIA program at Mitchell, S.D. The 6-foot-1, 260-pound Jans played center and defensive line for the Cougars.
Two area players signed with Minnesota State-Moorhead: tight end Austin Buss of Tri-City United and running back Brock Kolander of Waseca.