Gopher tackle Jonah Pirsig is a gigantic booster of education, football


At 6-foot-9 and 320 pounds, Jonah Pirsig is used to standing out.

Whether he was on the football field or off of it, people have always noticed the Gophers enormous right tackle.

Playing high school football in the small southern Minnesota town of Blue Earth, Pirsig got noticed. It didn't take long for word to spread that some of the biggest names in the college football coaching world were in town to watch him play.

But the allure of Auburn or Ohio State didn't draw Pirsig away from home. He didn't go to either of Minnesota's top rivals Wisconsin or Iowa – even though both schools heavily recruited him.

Instead, he surprised many by becoming one of Jerry Kill's first major commitments and choosing to stay home at Minnesota.

Now imagine taking that mountain of a man from the gridiron, where he already stands out, and placing him in a classroom full of elementary students.

The Star Tribune notes that as Pirsig works towards his degree in elementary education he's been spending two mornings a week in Naddie Baker's kindergarten class at Edina Highlands Elementary School.

Even at 6-foot-9, Baker tells the newspaper that Pirsig is a strong fit in the classroom.

"You would think he'd be intimidating for them," Baker said. "But the kids instantly liked him. He just has a very welcoming presence."

Pirsig's family has strong ties to education. Both of his grandmothers were teachers and his mother taught, as well. Even Pirsig's sister studied education.

He is two semesters away from completing his undergrad degree. But the Star Tribune notes that he could put off some of that if he has the opportunity to pursue his other dream: playing in the NFL.

Next Up


Nov. 30 COVID-19 update: Hospitalizations reach new high mark

There are fewer than 100 staffed ICU beds available in Minnesota.

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers-Northwestern game canceled

Minnesota is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in its football program.

frances mosley vandals

Minneapolis woman's home vandalized for a 7th time since March

The most recent incident happened on Thanksgiving.

Grand Cafe

Jamie Malone's Grand Cafe is closing, building owners say

Head chef Jamie Malone will continue operations at Eastside.


High school softball coach accused of stealing booster funds

The 65-year-old is a coach at Lakeville South High School.

police lights

Suspect leads police on 26-mile pursuit in Meeker County

When the suspect stopped, he tried to get out of his car with a shotgun in hand.

Screen Shot 2020-11-30 at 7.41.02 AM

Human remains found at Albert Lea building where 3 people where shot

Authorities say the human remains are not related to the shooting.


DirecTV subscribers could lose KARE 11 on Tuesday

A new contract needs to be agreed upon by 6 p.m. Tuesday.

prison, Rush City cell block

Inmate from Rush City prison dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

The man is the fifth incarcerated person in Minnesota to die from COVID-19.


Belle Plaine man dies after duck boat capsizes on lake

One man was found sitting on the overturned boat while another man was in the water.