Ra'Shede Hageman has a realistic view of himself. And that's good news for the 2013 Minnesota football team.
The junior defensive tackle told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he's not ready to play in the NFL and that he would come back for his senior season with the Gophers.
"I feel like I need to get one more year under my belt," he told the paper. " I did OK, in my opinion, but I've definitely got a lot of things to improve on. Getting another year means I've got another spring ball to work hard, get a little bit stronger, so I can be a dominant player in the Big Ten."
Hageman already has an NFL body at 6-foot-5 and over 300 pounds. But this was the first year he became a major contributor, after spending time earlier in his career at tight end and defensive end. He had five sacks and 6.5 TFLs on a much-improved Minnesota defensive front.
But Hageman said he can still improve in stopping the running game and playing with a higher motor. Plus, he'd like to get his degree.
"Five years ago, I was a knucklehead," he told the paper. "I really didn't care [about academics]. But in my five years here, I've definitely matured."
Hageman said he'll put his name in with the NFL draft advisory board, but unless that group comes back with an unexpectedly high draft grade, he'll be back next year.
That will be a big boost to the Gophers' defensive front, which will lose sack leader D.L. Wilhite but returns everyone else on the two-deep.