PLEASANT GROVE -- This month we've been introducing you to some of the best high school football players in the state. Tonight we feature a player with a very familiar last name--Pleasant Grove defensive end Joe Kruger.
He hopes to follow his older brothers and play college football, and possibly, like Paul, play in the NFL.
Paul Kruger's dream has come true. After a standout career with the Utes, the Utah native is playing in the NFL, which comes as no surprise to his mother.
"Not surprising at all. I remember having a conversation with him when he was 12 years old, and I said, ‘Son, if you want it, you can be in the NFL.'" And apparently he wanted it," she said.
Paul has some younger brothers who hope to follow in his footsteps. David is a redshirt freshman at the U, fighting for playing time on the defensive line. The next in line is Joe, a 6 foot 8 inch, 240 pound defensive end who just transferred from Timpanogos to Pleasant Grove High School.
"Joe, at this stage in his life, is actually better than Paul and David are. He's actually faster right now than Paul and David," his dad said.
Being the younger brother of Paul Kruger isn't easy. The expectations and comparisons can be challenging.
"It has been, yeah. People expect me to live up to my brothers' potential," Joe said.
The advantage has been the knowledge that Joe has gained by watching his older brothers reach a higher level of play.
"Not just by what they've taught me, but by watching them and watching how hard they work. Makes me want to be a better player and be just as good as them, or better," Joe said.
And seeing Paul in an NFL uniform has Joe thinking big as well. "That's been my dream since I was a little boy, to get to the NFL. Since I've watched my brother do it is even more exciting," he said.
Joe has a soft verbal commitment to follow his brothers to the University of Utah but is still entertaining offers from other schools, including BYU and 9 Pac-10 schools.
Joe will make his debut with the Vikings when they try to end Timpview's 36 game winning streak on Friday.