To win Minnesota's Mr. Football award is a great achievement.
Joe Mauer has won it.
Michael Floyd has won it.
2010's winner was a player with talent on both sides of ball.
Peter Westerhaus of Holy Family Catholic High School registered 139 tackles and scored 13 touchdowns on offense en route to winning the title. He helped lead the Fire to a 13-1 record and a berth in the Class AAA State Championship, where they lost in the Metrodome to Rochester Lourdes High School.
On Wednesday, he signed his letter of intent to play with the University of Minnesota in front of the entire student congregation. He was also given scholarships by Iowa State and Stanford.
A 3-star recruit, Westerhaus is a 6'3", 205-pound player who will most likely play linebacker for new coach Jerry Kill and the Golden Gophers. He was ranked by Rivals.com as the third-best prospect in the state of Minnesota.
He is also listed in Rival and ESPN.com's top 100 lists for both the tight end and middle linebacker positions.
As a proud alumnus of Holy Family, Victoria's lone high school, it was a pleasure for me to interview the institution's first Big Ten signee and discuss college football.
Joseph Fafinski: Peter, you recently won the 2010 Minnesota Mr. Football, an award that goes to the best high school football player in the entire state. I just want to congratulate you on winning such a title.
Peter Westerhaus: [Laughs] "Thank you, Joseph. It's a fun achievement, but at the same time I look at it as a team award. I had great teammates at Holy Family. We won this award as a school. This isn't really an individual award to me. I try never to let this get into my head because basically it is a team award."
Joseph Fafinski: How does it feel to sign with your home state's top football program?
Peter Westerhaus: "It feels great. A lot of hard work went into this, and so many people have helped me out. I'd like to thank my family, coaches, teammates and so many others. I feel so blessed, and there are so many people who I have to dedicate this to, and like I said so many people have helped me out in this process. I thank God every day for the opportunity, and I can't wait to get started as a Gopher."
Joseph Fafinski: What do you think Jerry Kill will bring to the program?
Peter Westerhaus: "Something that Coach Kill brings to the table has to do with work. I think that with Coach Brewster we would've been working hard too, but regardless Kill is going to make us work hard. As a player, I'm going in regardless looking to win. I'm going in with the attitude that Coach Kill is going to win and improve the program, and I will work with my teammates in order to do so."
Joseph Fafinski: In high school, you played tight end and middle linebacker. Where will the Gophers place you into their lineup?
Peter Westerhaus: "You know, it's funny. Everyone who has interviewed me has asked me the exact same question. Most likely I'll be playing linebacker, but wherever I can make plays on the field and help the Minnesota Golden Gophers win, that's where I'll play on the field. Whether Coach Kill wants me to play tight end or linebacker, it is totally up to him."
Joseph Fafinski: What is the thing you're most excited to do playing college football?
Peter Westerhaus: "I'm excited to play at a high level of competition. Everyone's going to be great and it's top of the line college football. It's the Big Ten level. It's a college team; it's going to be awesome. I'm so excited to work hard and see where my potential will go."
Joseph Fafinski: What team in the Big Ten are you most looking forward to playing?
Peter Westerhaus: "Most excited team to play against? You know, I've never been asked this question, it's a good one. [Takes deep breath] I'm excited to play in the Big Ten. It'll be awesome to play Wisconsin in such an intense rivalry. It's going to be awesome to play for the Floyd [of Rosedale Trophy] when we play Iowa. With the recent expansion it's going to be awesome to face Nebraska. It's crazy, you know with everything going on, and the history of the Big Ten. I'm so excited to get started."
Joseph Fafinski: Thank you, Peter, and good luck to you in your upcoming years with the Gophers.
Peter Westerhaus: "Thank you Joseph."
There you have it, folks. Peter Westerhaus is a class act who is eager to take the field for the Minnesota Golden Gophers in hopes of turning the football program around.
It was an honor to interview Minnesota's "Mr. Football" and I wish him the best.