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Van Someren, Neumann get D1 football chances

It's extremely rare to have an athlete reach Division 1 college sports. This year's Somerset football team has produced two Division 1 players.

Mike Van Someren and Andrew Neumann both signed on with Division 1 football programs last week. And after playing side-by-side in Somerset's state football championship team, they will go to being instant rivals in college.

Van Someren has signed on to play for the University of Wisconsin football team. Neumann will play for the Minnesota Gophers.

Van Someren and Neumann were the leading blockers for the devastating running game that led the Spartans to their state championship. Van Someren was one of the biggest linemen in the area, playing tackle at 6-7 and 295 pounds. Neumann played tight end where his combination of strength and quickness made him an excellent blocker and receiver.

The two Spartans will be "preferred walk-ons" on their college teams. That means they were recruited and are in the future plans of the team, but have not yet received scholarships. This has become a standard way of recruiting in the NCAA, especially for teams facing scholarship shortages. The Badgers have less than 20 scholarships this year because of the shoe scandal that rocked the football program two years ago.

The recruiting process for the two couldn't have been more different. Van Someren has been a highly sought after recruit, getting attention from dozens of major Division 1 universities like Stanford for most of the past year. He decided on Madison as much for the academics as football. Van Someren carries a 3.9 grade point average.

Neumann hadn't had any real solid Division 1 attention. Last Tuesday Neumann and Somerset football coach Bruce Larson met, trying to renew interest in Neumann from Division 1 schools. Neumann told Larson that his number one choice would be playing for the Gophers. So Larson called Minnesota assistant coach Moe Ankney at 7 a.m. last Tuesday. Hinckley pulled out Somerset game tapes that had been sent over when the Gophers were recruiting Van Someren.

He liked what he saw. He then found Vic Adamle, who coordinated the Gopher football camp last summer that Neumann attended. Adamle said Neumann made an extremely strong impression at the camp.

"He said without a doubt he could play at our level," Larson repeated the comments from Ankney. The Gophers faxed over a letter of intent, and Neumann had a long phone conversation with Hinckley that morning.

"It's the fastest recruiting process I've ever been through," Larson said. "Six hours, bang, bang, bang and it's done."

At 6-4, 220, Neumann is being viewed as a future tight end for the Gophers. Both have frames where they should be able to add more bulk in college. Badger coaches have said that Van Someren could end up at 330 pounds or more.

Division 3 rivals

Two other Somerset players will become college rivals at the Division 3 level. Fullback Dusty Peterson has signed on to play at UW-Eau Claire. Somerset's fullback from the 2001 season, Mike Hennessey, is already playing for the Blugolds.

Peterson and Hennessey will be facing UW-River Falls each season, which is where Bruce Baillargeon will be playing. Baillargeon was a halfback and defensive back for the state champion Spartans.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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