Woodbury football: Rotto named All-StarSince closing the book on his final high school football season, Woodbury senior Torsten Rotto has been racking up awards and accolades — and next fall he’ll take his talents to Stanford University.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
Since closing the book on his final high school football season, Woodbury senior Torsten Rotto has been racking up awards and accolades — and next fall he’ll take his talents to Stanford University.
Most recently, Rotto was selected to play in the prestigious Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game, to be held on June 25, at 7 p.m. at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota.
Rotto, a defensive and offensive lineman for the Royals, was one of 88 high school seniors from the state chosen to play in the historic game. Rotto will compete for the South team, coached by Dave Nelson of Minnetonka along with assistant coaches Clay Anderson of Albert Lea, Jon Bakken of Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, Mal Scanlan and Mike Scanlan of Cretin-Derham Hall and Bubba Sullivan of Northfield.
“To be put on the list with the best in the state of Minnesota is a really high honor,” Rotto said. “Everybody there are going to be the captains of their team, All-State guys, All-Conference guys, so it’s going to be a whole new ballgame.”
Rotto is the 28th Woodbury High School football player selected to compete in the game. The first player to play in the game for the Royals was Mark Ritter in 1977, who played for the South. The most recent players to play in the game for Woodbury were Cooper Wahlo, Jr. and Mike Willett — they contributed to a 54-13 win in 2009. Other Royals to play in the game included Phil Ayeni, Chauncey Charlson, Tony Holmes, Kyle Jepson and Nico Holmes.
“Torsten is gifted with academic and athletic ability,” said Rotto’s coach at Woodbury Beau LaBore. “However, I have not worked with a student-athlete who works harder in the classroom or on the field. He’s an even better person. Torsten earned everything he’s been awarded and has a very bright future. Teaching, coaching and being around Torsten is a pleasure.”
At Woodbury, Rotto, 6’3” and 235 pounds, played both ways all season and snapped for point-after-touchdowns and field goals. He was awarded All-State in 2010, All-Conference in 2009 and 2010, was All-Metro Third Team in 2009 and Academic All-State in 2010. This past year, despite facing double teams a majority of the time, had 84 tackles (51 solo tackles and 33 assisted), 16 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. In his three years with the Royals, he had 169 tackles (84 solo and 85 assisted), 29 tackles for a loss, 13.5 sacks, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.
Rotto said his work ethic is his finest attribute.
“I like to work hard,” he said. “If you apply the same work ethic to sports, to school, to family, to your friends, you can’t go wrong. Good character and hard work will take care of whatever you want to do in life. That’s how I look at it.”
Rotto will attend Stanford University next fall as a “preferred walk-on” on the Stanford football team. As a “preferred walk-on,” Rotto does not receive a football scholarship, but is guaranteed a roster spot on the team and can be awarded a football scholarship at any time during his tenure on the team.
Rotto picked Stanford over an offer to play football at Princeton University, as well as a “preferred walk-on” opportunity from Jerry Kill at the University of Minnesota, along with a “full ride” football scholarship offer from Eastern Illinois University.
“It kind of came down to Princeton, the U of M and Stanford,” Rotto said. “But, Stanford kind of had the best of the best — it had the best sports, it’s one of the best schools in the nation, it has some of the smartest professors and best coaches in the world. I just looked at it as an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.”
Rotto said he’ll likely be slated as a pass-rushing linebacker at Stanford.
“I’ll have to earn my way, but I’m up for the challenge,” Rotto said. “I’m not going to give up. I’ll be the first one in the weight room and the last one out and the first person on the field and the last one off it. I’ll do everything I can to get to the level I want to get to.”
The All-Star Football Game showcases the most outstanding senior players from the past football season. Players and coaches were selected by members of the Minnesota Football Coaches Association and represent 79 schools and 33 conferences. The Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game was first played in 1945 and has been an annual event since 1974. The game was played in a North versus South format from 1945 through 1979, a Metro versus Outstate format from 1980 to 2010 and back to a North vs. South this year. The 2011 All-Star Game will be the 38th in the current annual series and the 49th overall. For the first time since 1979, the game will feature the North All-Stars versus the South All-Stars. In 17 previous North vs. South All-Star Games between 1945 and 1979, the series was tied at 8-8-1.
For the 13th year, Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter will host the All-Star football training camp. The players and coaches will report to Gustavus on Sunday, June 19, to begin the seven-day camp. An All-Star Football media day will be held at TCF Bank Stadium on Wednesday, June 22. The teams will travel from St. Peter to Minneapolis on Saturday, June 25, to play the All-Star Game at TCF Bank Stadium.
“It’s really cool to get noticed for all the hard work you put into it,” Rotto said. “At the same time, you have to stay grounded and keep working hard. When I go out to Stanford I’ll be a freshman and low on the totem pole and have to do it all again. But, I’m very humbled by all the recognition.
“I’m just very thankful about the support I’ve gotten from all my coaches, the fans and the community in Woodbury. I’m enjoying my senior year and thankful for all the people around me.”
THE ROTTO FILE
— Woodbury senior
— Defensive line, offensive line
— 6’3” 235 pounds
— Three varsity seasons (2008-2010)
— 169 tackles
— 29 tackles for a loss
— 13.5 sacks
— All-State 2010
— All-Conference 2009, 2010
— Downtown St. Paul Lions Athlete of the Year finalist
For more on the Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game, visit www.allstarfootball.org.