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East Ridge HS Coach Discusses Gophers Recruitment of J.C. Hassenauer and George Behr

02/01/2013, 8:15pm CST
By Chris Monter
The signing date is next Wednesday, but the Minnesota Gopher football staff is also mindful of a strong local Class of 2014. The Gophers are hosting their first Junior Day Saturday and two of the attendees are from East Ridge.
Gopher Hole caught up with East Ridge head football coach Mike Pendino to ask him about standout junior center J.C. Hassenauer and tight end George Behr.
Gopher Hole: What schools is J.C. starting to hear from right now?
Mike Pendino: He has been to a lot of the camps. He has done very, very well. He has heard from Michigan State. Nebraska. Northwestern. He has heard from half a dozen schools. Pittsburgh is sending him letters and talking to him.
Gopher Hole: What do you see as his strengths as a player?
Mike Pendino: He is very tenacious. He’s got great feet and he wants it.
Gopher Hole: What about things, like any player, that he needs to continue to work on to improve?
Mike Pendino: He has got the whole package. He just has to get better with age. He just has to keep getting better each year, but he has everything it takes. He’s got the tenacity. He’s got the want-to. He’s got great feet. He’s got great strength. He uses his hands well. He is as good a center, I coached at the U for nine years. He is as good a center that I have seen at this age. I think that he is very good.  
Gopher Hole: Does he come from an athletic family?
Mike Pendino: I know their family well. They are very much into athletics. He moved here from California, but he was very young when he moved here, so all he knows is Minnesota.
Gopher Hole: How about George Behr?
Mike Pendino: George is our tight end. George is a very good high school player right now. He can catch the ball. He can do all those things, but to be a tight end, he needs to work on being a little bit more of a lineman. He likes the other side of it. He likes catching the ball. He likes splitting out. He has got great hands. He’s got great body control for those things, but to be a big-time tight end, you have got to be a lineman, too and that is the part that he is working on.
Gopher Hole: What do you see as his strengths as a player?
Mike Pendino: His strengths right now, is his awareness to understand whether they are in man coverage or zone coverage, to find the open spot and all you have to do is put the ball close to him and he can catch the football. 
Gopher Hole: He comes from an athletic family, right?
Mike Pendino: His dad (George Behrs) was one of the few full scholarship baseball guys at the “U” and he had scholarship offers as a football player out of high school. His dad played baseball at the “U” and went on, I think, to Double A or Triple A. He was one of those guys from what I understand that if he would have hung in there after ten or twelve years in the minors, probably would have got a shot at it in September to see if he could make it, but from what I understand after four or five years of Double A or Triple A ball, he decided that was it. 
Gopher Hole: What are the two hearing from the Gophers?
Mike Pendino: I know that they have stopped by the school three times in the last month or so. What they are hearing, we’ll find out after this recruiting class is signed next Wednesday. They are both going to their Junior Day and all that stuff. We’ll see how it all shakes out. I would be very, very disheartened if they didn’t offer J.C. before the summer started. I think that George is the type of guy that may have to go to camp and show them a little bit more.
Gopher Hole: Do you see those two players after the Class of 2013 recruiting is done, picking up some offers, especially J.C.? 
Mike Pendino: Absolutely.
Gopher Hole: Do you know if they have been invited to any other Junior Days?
Mike Pendino: Oh, yes. I know that they have both been invited to Pitt’s Junior Day. J.C. has been invited to a few other Junior Days, but I don’t know which ones off the top of my head. They were both invited to see a lot of games this season. J.C., I even had a call from a coach from Alabama and he went down to see an Alabama game during the season.
Gopher Hole: Were they able to attend many college games this past fall?
Mike Pendino: J.C. made a few. He went to see a Pitt game. A Notre Dame game. A Michigan State game. An Alabama game. Of course, the Gophers. I think George went to the Gophers and Northwestern and I think he went to a North Dakota and a North Dakota State game.
Gopher Hole: East Ridge is a fairly new high school. It has to be fun as a former Division I football coach knowing that the program is starting to develop those type of players that can play Division I football. 
Mike Pendino: Yes. The future looks very, very bright there. Absolutely.
Gopher Hole: You also have a good young quarterback who started as a freshman, Seth Green. He put some big numbers for you this season.
Mike Pendino: He is 6-1 and 185 pounds as a fourteen year old. He wouldn’t be 15 until February 15th or 18th. 
Gopher Hole: Do you think that he is a player that is definitely capable of playing Division I? 
Mike Pendino: Here is what I will tell you. I coached at Holy Angels where I had Larry Fitzgerald and Jon Stocco, who went on to Wisconsin. You know what Jon Stocco did at Wisconsin and you know what Larry Fitzgerald did at Pitt and you know what he is doing now and Seth Green is in that category.
Gopher Hole: You had a good year this past season in a tough conference. You played Cretin Derham Hall, Mounds View and Stillwater and were 5-4 this past year. What are the expectations for the upcoming season?  
Mike Pendino: They are all back except for two. We only played two seniors, so the expectations are if we are not 7-1 or 8-0, we’ll be pretty disappointed.
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Tag(s): Gopher Football  FB Recruiting Classes