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Meet the Star Tribune All-Metro football defense first, second teams

By David La Vaque, Star Tribune, 11/21/16, 9:30PM CST


Click to see who made the 2016 squads.

All-metro first team

Hunter Christenson

Totino-Grace; 6-2, 229; senior lineman

Big and strong and athletic. Closes on the ball well, tough to block.

Jackson Zaugg

Eden Prairie; 6-2, 220; senior lineman

Standout on the metro area’s most disruptive defensive line. Made 27 tackles, five for loss. Versatile enough to play end, tackle and linebacker.

James Jackson

Cretin-Derham Hall; 6-2, 220; senior lineman

Opposing offenses called plays depending on where the athletic and physical Jackson lined up. Finished with 64 tackles, eight for loss and one interception.

Danny Anderson

Eden Prairie; 6-0, 215; senior linebacker

Leading tackler (50 total) on a defense with an incredible seven shutouts. Tormented Cretin-Derham Hall in the playoffs with a blocked punt, an interception and a fumble recovery.

Charlie Waters

Totino-Grace; 5-11, 192; senior linebacker

Smart, always around the ball and plays bigger than his size. Tallied more than 90 tackles heading into the Prep Bowl.

Sam Gibas

Elk River; 5-9, 170; senior linebacker

Opposing teams avoid running his way. No matter, still posted 56 tackles, 10 for loss and added two sacks and three forced fumbles. The Elks’ most dynamic player. Also leads team in rushing.

Jamire Jackson

Minneapolis North; 6-3, 220; senior linebacker

Anchored the defense and led the Polars in tackles (78) for a third consecutive season. Stopped 11 plays for a loss and picked off three passes. Crushing hitter.

Griffin Lanoue

Rosemount; 6-3, 186; senior defensive back

Diagnosed plays and flew to the ball. Led team with 87 tackles—23 against Lakeville North running back Wade Sullivan. Intercepted five passes (one for a touchdown) and broke up six passes.

Jackson Martens

Burnsville; 6-2, 205; senior defensive back

Listed as a defensive back but played nearer to the line of scrimmage and hit like a linebacker. Finished with 52 tackles, six for a loss and one interception. Also ran for 1,133 yards, nine touchdowns.

Joe Russell

Totino-Grace; 6-3, 186; senior defensive back

Considered the top player on a talent-loaded Eagles team. Physical and ferocious competitor also excels as a punt returner and receiver.

Isaiah Cherrier

Mound Westonka; 6-0, 205; senior defensive back

Catalyst for transforming the White Hawks' program. Made 46 tackles, intercepted two passes and returned a fumble for a score. Also led team in rushing and receiving yards.

Grant Ryerse

East Ridge; 6-4, 206; senior kicker

Connected twice from more than 50 yards out, giving the Raptors a long-distance weapon most teams could not match. Went 36-for-38 on extra points, averaged 39 yards per punt. Committed to Minnesota.

all-metro second team

Defensive Linemen

Sam Byrd, Centennial

Graham Devore, Mahtomedi

Jermaine Johnson, Eden Prairie

Ben Kemp, Henry Sibley


Kolade Amusan, Woodbury

Shea Gerrety, Blaine

Boye Mafe, Hopkins

Steph Olson Jr., Burnsville

Defensive backs

Levi Brown, Roseville

Tyler Knutson, Prior Lake

Malik Lofton, Hopkins

Ryan Wesp, Anoka


Austin Solors, Elk River

*All players are seniors unless noted.

How the team was chosen

The Star Tribune’s All-Metro teams and Metro Player of the Year were chosen based on nominations from metro-area coaches, conversations with a panel of coaches and staff observations.

David La Vaque • 612-673-7574

Previous All-Metro first teams

2013     2014     2015

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