When Coach Michael Diggins from Centennial High School sent me a list of Centennial grads who are currently playing college football I was delighted to see thirteen kids on that list. Let's check them out learn a bit more about college options in Minnesota and the region.
Jeff Burns - Mankato St.
Tyler Meany - St. Scholastica
Jake Cruz - St. Scholastica
Andrew Stein - Northwestern
Christopher Kirby- Northwestern
Zach Vine - Gustavus
Michael Diggins - River Falls
Louie Lebert - River Falls
Christiaan Malinowski - Augustana
Moise Igeno - St. Thomas
Marshall Johnson - M.I.T.
Jordan Clark - Southwest
Ray Culp - Hamlin
As you can see from this list, there are lots of regional places where Minnesota kids can go on to play college ball. Minnesota has limited Division I scholarship spots and many of those spots go to players who live outside Minnesota.
However, Minnesota is rich in the numbers of very good Division II and Division III schools where high school players can continue their careers. The Division II programs include the schools in the State College system and that includes a number of Community Colleges as well.
Division II school can provide scholarship money to players that they recruit; Division III schools cannot. DIII schools do provide financial aid "packages" which can be very helpful in bringing down college costs. I talk with parents and players all the time who are requesting information on finding a spot to play college ball.
Most of them are focused on playing Division I football. I always advise them to look into Division II & III as well. The web pages of college sites usually have a place where players can submit information about themselves. Sending in those forms is a great way of seeing if I school is a good match for you. It's always a good idea for player and families to look over the rosters of regional colleges and see if they match the height, weight and speed stats of existing players. This information is a great screen to see where a player fits across the array of college programs.
Minnesota's DII & III coaches are very active in getting out and seeing kids play ball. They contact prospective player and recruit just like the DI programs do. Parents and players should feel free to contact regional football programs and talk with coaches about what they offer to student-athletes in the classroom and on the field. Even if players expect to play Division I ball, it's always a good idea to hedge their bets and return calls from all levels of programs and see what they have to offer.
Centennial and Coach Diggins have done a wonderful job in helping their kids find college football spots. Many Minnesota High School Coaches have excellent contacts with football programs at all levels and are very happy to help their kids find good places to play football at the next level.
Congrats! And best wishes to all the Centennial alumni living their dream of playing football after High School and special thanks to Coach Diggins for sharing his list with MinnestoaPreps.