Rosemount linebacker Jake Ratzlaff committed to the Wisconsin Badgers football program’s 2021 recruiting class on Monday.
The former Gophers hockey pledge was not selected in the NHL draft and decided before his senior football season that he was going to hang up his skates.
“I knew then that I love football so much and have a passion for it,” Ratzlaff said. “I’m just going to go with football and we are going to give it everything I’ve got.”
Ratzlaff, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, also had football scholarship offers from the Gophers, Iowa and Iowa State.
“I thought Wisconsin was a great place to go because the coaching staff is unbelievable, the culture they got there is so good,” he said. “They’ve got so many great people working, not only with the coaching staff, but people around them. The program, the campus, everything about it was great. I’m just super excited about it.”
Ratzlaff, who is considered the fifth-best player in the state in the class of 2021, said the Gophers were a close second to the Badgers.
“They did a great job,” Ratzlaff said of Minnesota. “I couldn’t have been more happy with coach (P.J.) Fleck and that program. I couldn’t say more nice things about them, and at the end of the day, I just decided it was Wisconsin. It was so close for so long. They both had been recruiting me for a long time, but in the end I decided it was Wisconsin.”
Ratzlaff said he has to have shoulder surgery and will leave for Madison, Wis., in the summer.
In the 2021 class, the Badgers also received a commitment from the No. 1-rated player in the state, Lakeville South offensive tackle Riley Mahlman.
The No. 2 player in the state, Totino-Grace offensive tackle Joe Alt, has committed to Notre Dame, while No. 3, Shakopee defensive end Deven Eastern has committed to Minnesota. Minneapolis North defensive end Davon Townley is undecided at No. 4, with the Gophers considered a favorite.
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