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Brunner picks football and picks Minnesota State

ELMWOOD -- Let's see, football, basketball, baseball?

Mike Brunner is the kind of high school athlete that can afford to be choosey. He's good enough in all three sports to play them on the collegiate level.

But last Wednesday, Brunner made-up his mind about his future and chose a football scholarship offered to him by Minnesota State University-Mankato.

The first team all-conference and all-state selection is projected to play center for the Mavericks. Head coach Jerry Hannack thinks it will be a perfect fit for him.

"He's smart and he has a passion for the game," Hannack said. "He made all of our line calls last season and I believe he has the tools to be a great college center."

New MSU head coach Todd Hoffner agrees. The Mavericks lured the former UW-Eau Claire head coach away from his assistant coaching job at the University of South Dakota to take over in Mankato and Brunner is in his first recruiting class.

"Not only is Mike an outstanding football player, but he is also ranked No. 1 in his graduating class. He brings smarts and toughness to the offensive line." Hoffner said.

Having Hoffner as coach at Mankato is what sealed the deal in Brunner's decision.

"Mike had been interested in Mankato. He had gone to games there and liked the campus and the town," Hannack said. "Having his friend Ryan Mountain, who also went to MSU, talk up the school certainly was a selling point. But with Coach Hoffner hiring, it was the final piece of the puzzle coming into place. It made all the difference."

Hoffner led UWEC to the WIAC title in 2001. At South Dakota he put together an offense that ranked in the top five in the nation in Division II.

Hannack said that Brunner could have an opportunity to play right away, as Mavericks graduate several starting linemen, but he could also redshirt as well.

Brunner has one more prep game left to play. He and fellow all-stater Kyle Flynn of Plum City will take part in the WFCA All-Star Game in Oshkosh this coming July.