Bridge Tusler, a 5-foot-11 junior running back from Osseo, is one of the state’s top two-sport athletes.
Tusler helped lead the Orioles to a 9-2 mark, losing in the section final to then number-one ranked Wayzata.
He was also a standout on the hardwood as he helped leda Osseo to a 49-47 victory over Lakeville North in the Class 4A championship game as he passed the ball to sophomore center Ian Theisen for the game-winning 15-foot jumper.
Tusler has had a busy spring as he helped lead the Minnesota Fury AAU 17-and-under team to the title of this past weekend’s Minnesota Fury Shootout.
GopherHole.com caught up with Tusler to learn the latest on his football recruitment.
Gopher Hole: Have you decided what football camps you are going to attend this summer?
Bridge Tusler: I am going to Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa State, Wisconsin and North Dakota State. Maybe a couple more, but for sure, those five.
Gopher Hole: What schools are you hearing from right now?
Bridge Tusler: Coach Kill actually just called me on Tuesday. That was actually pretty cool. He was just telling me “that we didn’t forget about you and we still want you to come and we are still highly interested in you.” Wisconsin came Friday. They want me at corner. They are the only school that mainly wants me at corner. Minnesota wants to see what I can do and put me wherever I fit. It will probably be the two, for sure big-time. NDSU just said that we would really love to have you at camp. The feeling that I am getting from them is that if I go there, they’ll probably offer because I am showing interest in them. I really like the Iowas; Iowa and Iowa State because we visited there last week (during his recent AAU trip to Ankeny). I didn’t get to meet the coaches. They were all gone. I also got to go to D.J.’s (Hebert) future school at Northern Iowa. It was nice to see where he’ll be at. Pretty much Big Ten area with a little bit of Iowa State. Arizona is still showing a lot of interest.
Gopher Hole: Did you get a chance to go to any Junior Days?
Bridge Tusler: I went to UND’s Junior Day. I really, really liked it there. I also went to the U of M’s. I really liked it there, too.
Gopher Hole: The last time I talked to you was right after winning the state basketball title. Have you come down from that high yet?
Bridge Tusler: No. It is still an emotional high. It is crazy. All the kids are saying “That’s Bridge Tusler. He is number 50.” We still get it at school a lot. Teachers still call me “Champ.” I haven’t heard my name in the school for awhile. It has always been “Champ.” The biggest thing for our school is that Coach Tim Theisen got Coach of the Year. He didn’t tell anyone, so I made sure that I told everyone. He doesn’t want the recognition, but he deserves it. So has it stopped? No, it hasn’t stopped and I hope it doesn’t. I just hope that we can carry it over to next year as well.
Gopher Hole: What things have you been working football-wise, despite being busy playing AAU basketball?
Bridge Tusler: Getting bigger. I don’t need to get bigger, but I feel that if I can run and get faster, that is a big accomplishment to get bigger and faster. I want to get up to 205 or 210, but still run around a 4.5 (40 yard dash). I am working on that. I hear a lot of people are getting offered because of their forty time. That is what is seems like as a player, so I want to work on that. They also know that I am a hard worker, so they can see that as well. I am working on my bench, but that is fine for now. Basketball is not really on my mind, so I’ll lift and I’ll do everything I can and then I’ll go to the gym. Basketball is always my second part. It is the last thing I worry about. I’ll go to school before I go to basketball. That is just because I have camp coming up. If I didn’t have camp this June, would I work more on my basketball? Probably, but since camp is coming up, I need to do what is best right now. I am not going to overdo my body. I take a couple of days off after I work out. I just want to gain weight, tone up and get as fast as I can.
Gopher Hole: What are you hearing from the Gophers? I know that they are somewhat limited in the number of scholarships that they have available since they have few seniors on the roster. What are they saying to you?
Bridge Tusler: That is it. That is exactly what they are saying. We have 14. My recruiting coordinator, Rob Reeves, is saying that he wants to offer me, but Coach Kill makes the decisions and Coach Kill is really picky. He wants to make sure that he gets the best and I totally respect that. Rob really wants to offer me and he is almost harassing the coaches and saying that we need to offer this kid or else he is not going to be there. Coach Kill is making the last decision. I’ll wait. I want to be a Gopher, so nothing has changed my mind from that perspective. I want to major in business and they have a great business program. An internship and I would be set, it seems like, because I want to live here when I get older. They really like my personality and how I handle the situation to see me as a person. I hope that they also see me as a great football player at the same time.
Gopher Hole: That has to make you feel good that they think that highly of you?
Bridge Tusler: Exactly. My coach is telling them that if Wisconsin comes around or someone else offers me surprisingly, that would kind of hurt that the Gophers didn’t offer first. Right now, the Gophers are top, but if someone else came around and they offered before the Gophers, I’d probably take it a little personally.
Gopher Hole: What are the expectations for football next season? You lose D.J. and Wil Johnson.
Bridge Tusler: I am talking to my coach and we are trying to get a bunch of kids throughout our school to come out. We have a lot of athletes out there, so we can teach them the simple parts of football. We have a kid on our JV team that can dunk with two hands and if we put him at wide receiver, it will help out our running game a lot. Helping me out and our quarterback out. Our expectations are pretty high. Our coaches are not going to stop running the ball, which I love obviously. We might throw a couple of things here or there, so I can’t really say what right now, because of strategy, but our expectations are pretty high.