Elite route running helps Goodhue's Poncelet land Division I football scholarship

Goodhue senior Adam Poncelet, a 6-foot-3 wide receiver, has committed to play college football at the University of North Dakota.

Goodhue's Adam Poncelet (23) carries the ball during a game against Pine Island during the 2021 season. Poncelet, a 6-foot-3 senior wide receiver, has announced his commitment to play Division I football at the University of North Dakota.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo
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GOODHUE — Being an elite route runner is a major skill for a wide receiver to possess.

It is that ability that has helped land Goodhue senior Adam Poncelet a Division I college football scholarship.

The 18-year-old Poncelet announced his commitment to the University of North Dakota this week. He was also being recruited by Division II schools Winona State and Minnesota Duluth of the NSIC.

“Getting the offer was a bit of a surprise, but I’m excited for it,” Poncelet said.

Poncelet attended a lot of skills camps this past summer and went against some good competition. One of those was at North Dakota, where he caught the eyes of the team’s coaches.


“The coaches said I did very well and really stood out,” Poncelet said. “So I think that camp really helped out a lot.”

Poncelet has been around football his whole life. His father, Tony, is the head coach at Goodhue. Tony says he tries to keep football at school when it comes to coaching Adam. But the pair have spent plenty of time watching film, discussing the game and sneaking away to the field for extra workouts.

“He likes to watch a lot of film and I definitely can tell the difference in his route running,” Tony Poncelet said.

Paying attention to the small details of the game, like how to make moves against a defensive back, has paid off in Adam Poncelet’s growth in the game.

“I think he’s been able to take a step forward from last year with his route running and his overall concept of the offense,” Tony Poncelet said.

“That was a big focus in the offseason, just perfecting my routes more,” Adam Poncelet said.

Poncelet is also a starting cornerback for the Wildcats. And while football may be his primary passion, he is hardly a one-sport wonder. He also is a starter on the Goodhue basketball and baseball teams.

He also does plenty of training when not playing in games. Since his junior year, he added about a dozen pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-3 frame and now weighs 190 pounds. He also increased his speed, and his 40-yard dash time is 4.60 seconds.


He credits speed and agility training in the summer for his improved sprinting ability. In an effort to be able to run crisper routes, Poncelet worked a lot on his footwork. He also put in plenty of extra route-running repetitions with his dad or with Goodhue quarterback Will Opsahl.

Through four games this season, Poncelet has caught three touchdown passes and has approximately 400 receiving yards while helping the Wildcats to a 3-1 start. As a junior, he caught 50 passes for 762 yards (15.2 yards per catch) and 14 touchdowns.

With Poncelet's size, skill set, and his ability to successfully run a number of routes, he could fit in well with North Dakota’s offensive scheme. He says some of his favorite routes to run are a 10-yard hitch, a fade and slants.

“I’ve watched games and their receivers run kind of similar routes as we do here so I think it will be a great fit,” Poncelet said.

His next objective will try to add more muscle while also becoming faster as he attempts to make the jump from a small high school to a Division I program.

“That’s something that’s going to have to continue to improve if you’re going to be a Division I wideout,” Tony Poncelet said. “The coaches have talked about him fitting into their offensive scheme. Hopefully they can get him bigger, faster, stronger. That’s the goal, right?”

Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or
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