Eight freshmen started for St. Thomas last season, including six who started every game in an impressive start to Division I football that saw the Tommies go 7-3.
After signing seven high school seniors on Wednesday to add to the roster of 26 who signed in December, Tommies coach Glenn Caruso once again believes he has a team that is both talented and young.
“I hope it never happens again,” Caruso said of last year’s eight debutants, “but chances are, as we’re in transition, we’ll probably be playing with more freshmen over the next two years than any other Division I team in the country.”
The Tommies added two tight ends — 6-foot-5, 220-pound Aidan Nasser from California and Patrick Wagner (6-2, 200) from Maryland.
Lakeville South tight end Will Chlebecek was among the players who signed with the Tommies at the start of the signing period in December, but Chlebecek opted out and signed with Harvard.
Brody Kallman (6-5, 230 pounds from Arizona), played both sides of the ball in high school, including tight end time, but because the Tommies were able to sign Nasser and Wagner, he will line up the game the along the defensive line.
Caruso said 2021 has been a solid year for the tight end position, and he doesn’t expect this year to be that deep.
“When you’re in a scenario where you’re trying to build and grow,” he said, “we decided it was best to take that position when you can.”
Wayzata tight end Jack Kinsey (6-6, 230) signed with the Tommies in December. Aiden Carlson (6-foot-4, 227) made his freshman debut last season on the Tommies’ tight two-end offense, so tight ends are a strong position.
After signing quarterback Travis Plugge (6-4, 210) in December, they added another quarterback Wednesday in fellow Californian Amari Powell (6-1, 185). They join a roster that also includes a pair of freshmen from last season’s team, Kristoff Kowalkowski and Branden Smith.
“The quarterback position is as open as it has been for the past 20 years,” Caruso said.
Wednesday’s signers also included linebacker Seth Bullard (6-0, 220) from Texas, wide receiver Colin Chase (6-1, 185) from California and defensive back Den Juette (6-3, 175) from Washington. ‘Illinois.
Caruso said the Tommies could still add one more player, possibly from the transfer portal.
The Tommies will also have 12 “super-seniors” on the roster, seniors who will return for a sixth year of eligibility due to COVID.
Spring practice begins April 3 and ends with the spring game on May 7.