Last week marked an exciting beginning and a much welcomed ending for Derik LeCaptain.
The star running back/linebacker from Southern Door High School has decided to accept a preferred walk-on offer from University of Minnesota. As a preferred walk-on LeCaptain won’t receive a scholarship, but he is guaranteed a spot on the 105-man roster when camp starts in August and will have an opportunity to earn a scholarship.
“The recruiting process is the best of times and the worst of times,” LeCaptain said. “It’s a constant roller coaster of emotions. You just have to be patient and find a place that feels like home. For me that place was Minnesota.”
LeCaptain punctuated a stellar career in October with 2,019 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns and 492 receiving yards and six more scores. The Packerland Conference Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year had 98 tackles and returned two of his four interceptions for a touchdown.
LeCaptain’s career stats included 5,073 rushing yards and 65 touchdowns and 1,840 receiving yards and 23 scores. He also added 209 total tackles and nine interceptions, four returned for a touchdown.
Throughout his recruiting process LeCaptain entertained offers from some of the top rated Football Championship Subdivision schools and Division II schools. The University of Wisconsin also offered him a preferred walk-on spot.
“Wisconsin is an amazing program, and I have nothing but respect for their coaches and players,” LeCaptain said. “Minnesota just checked off all of the boxes. [It has] an unbelievable coaching staff, team and community. It truly feels like home. I just felt Minnesota was a better fit for me than Wisconsin.”
Ironically Minnesota defeated Wisconsin 37-15 Saturday to finish its season 6-6 overall and 3-6 in the Big Ten West Division. The Gophers, led by second-year coach PJ Fleck, are awaiting their upcoming bowl bid.
LeCaptain, who was recruited as both a running back and linebacker, said he likely will be redshirted next season.
“I was recruited as an athlete, so me playing offense or defense will most likely depend on where they need guys,” he said. “Either way I’m going to give Minnesota football everything I got.”