The 2023 Minnesota high school football season has concluded, and SBLive Minnesota has named their first and second team all-state defense. The teams consist of standout players from across the state, regardless of class. Some of these athletes will be considered for classification Player of the Year votes.

Why It Matters

This article highlights the top defensive players in Minnesota high school football, recognizing their exceptional performances during the 2023 season. These athletes have demonstrated their talent and potential, potentially paving their way to college football.

By the Numbers
  • Wyatt Gilmore from Rogers is a top prospect committed to Oklahoma.
  • Antonio Menard of Lakeville North recorded 78 tackles and 13 tackles for loss.
  • Howie Johnson from Forest Lake is already a premier defensive lineman as a sophomore.
  • Jide Abasiri from Prior Lake is a disruptive force at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, committed to Minnesota.
  • Mason Carrier from Detroit Lakes has great closing speed and finished with over 80 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.
  • Francis O'Malley from Montevideo excelled on both sides of the ball, with 65 tackles, three interceptions, and three forced fumbles. He is a Mr. Football candidate.
  • Sam Macy from Chanhassen was a critical player for the Class 5A championship team, committed to Minnesota.
  • Koi Perich from Esko is considered one of the top players in the state and has received offers from top college programs.
  • Owen Kemper from Edina recorded 128 total tackles, six interceptions, and one forced fumble.
  • Zashon Rich from Minneapolis North was a playmaker and committed to Kansas State.
  • Jalen Smith from Mankato West is a smooth athlete committed to Minnesota.
  • Daniel Jackson from Alexandria Area went 11-for-15 on field goals in 2023.
  • Reese Lentch from Norwood Young-America pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 11 times in 2023.
  • Solomon Martin from Providence Academy was a threat as a returner.