Jesper Horsted, Roseville High School (Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune)
Say this for Jesper Horsted: He knows how to pick his friends.
Roseville’s 6-foot-4 senior wide receiver was a key component to the Raiders’ 2013 Class 6A state semifinal team, using height, Velcro-like hands and a gymnast’s ability to contort himself in the air to rack up 82 receptions for 1,482 yards and 19 touchdowns. Horsted’s receiving helped quarterback Jacques Perra earn the honor as the Star Tribune’s 2013 Metro Player of the Year.
The chemistry between Horsted and Perra was palpable; they grew up best friends, playing with and usually competing against each other.
“We made each other better,” Horsted said. “We’re best friends, but we’re enemies when we play against each other.”
Perra’s graduation — he’s a walk-on quarterback with the Gophers — leaves Horsted to fill the role of team leader. It may be tough to duplicate Roseville’s 2013 season, but he already has one advantage before the Raiders ever take the field.
The front-runner for Roseville’s quarterback position is senior Jake McKenzie. ‘‘My other best friend,” Horsted said.
“I’ve known Jake since before I was 1 year old,” Horsted said. “We went to the same early day care together. Jake and I have been throwing the football together for a long time.”
Horsted has narrowed his college choices to Miami (Ohio) and Princeton. He acknowledged that his leadership will be vital to any success the Raiders have this season.
“It’s very exciting, but it means a lot more pressure on me,” he said. “I can’t take a single play off because there will always be someone watching me, especially the freshmen. It’s different because I’m used to flying under the radar, but, yeah, it’s exciting.”