The Wolverine

March 2020 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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longer, more athletic linemen in this class, and Zinter fits the bill. "Zak Zinter, he's going to get some work in spring [as an early enrollee]. It's going to be fun to watch him, because his January has really im- pressed a lot of people in the strength room — his measurables, his num- bers," Warinner said. "He looks re- ally good. He'll get a lot of reps." Warinner visited him a number of times during the recruiting process, Zinter noted, and got to know his family well. It was defensive coordi- nator Don Brown, however, who re- ally built the relationship in the early going. Brown is a legend in New Eng- land, and that's helped get a foot in the door with many of the area's best. Zinter was no exception. "Don Brown is just an incredible guy, first of all. Just a down-to-earth, awesome person to be around, hang out with," Zinter said. "Just me be- ing a New England guy, he knows in New England we have a lot of great football players up here. The respect he shows us being from here, he knows we have hardcore football up here too. Him respecting that … I think that was a big part of it as well." Several don't think of the area as a hotbed for football talent, after all, and it's a chip Zinter carries with him. Originally from Florida, having moved when he was about 10 years old, he is a transplant who is still true to his roots (possibly the only Miami Dolphins fan in New England) — but also anxious to prove that Massachusetts boys can play with the best of them. Warinner plans on playing him at guard initially, but Zinter is versatile enough to move around. "He thinks I could play swing tackle, so I could play right tackle as well," Zinter said. "Nothing is in stone. In high school, I was a fresh- man center, then I played tackle my sophomore year, guard my junior and senior years. Wherever they need me most to put me on the field, I'll play it." He's just happy to be a part of Michigan's O-line tradition, and anx- ious to be one of the next greats and add to its legacy. "You can't really beat Michigan," he said. "Great academics, great foot- ball; the brotherhood here is like no other. It's the best combination of academics and football around. "I knew about Michigan for a while, and the first time I stepped on campus, I fell in love with it. It was the place for me. I just knew." He's ready, now, for Michigan fans to get to know him. ❏ Zinter was not only a three-year varsity starter on the offensive line, but he has also won three state titles in the shot put and another in the discus. PHOTO BY EJ HOLLAND MARCH 2020 THE WOLVERINE 57 2020 Projection The Wolverines have a future star in Zinter, a taller offensive guard. He will likely redshirt, but if he de- velops as expected, it won't take long for the 6-6, 300-pounder to get on the field and compete for a starting job in years two and three. There's less depth ahead of him at guard than there is at tackle, and that could mean some opportunity will come his way sooner rather than later. DID YOU KNOW? • Won state titles in shot put as a freshman, sophomore and junior, and the discus state title as a sophomore. Holds the school record in shot put. • Enrolled early at U-M and got to participate in several bowl practices in December. THEY SAID IT • Governor's Academy head coach Jim O'Leary, who coached against Zinter: "Zinter just manhandles peo- ple one-on-one, and is so tough to handle for kids his age. Not only is he big, but he's also a good athlete with great feet and a big-time motor. Throw in his competitiveness, and it makes him the dangerous player that he is. I don't think he has a ceiling. He can be as good as anybody who has played at Michigan before. Once he learns their system and gets his technique down, the sky is the limit for him." • Rivals Mid-Atlantic recruiting an- alyst Adam Friedman: "He's a great bender, and he has the quickness and athleticism you look for out of a guy who can play tackle on either side of the line, and he's strong enough and has really good leg drive to be able to play in the interior of the line as well. He has good pass-blocking in- stincts and he's really patient there. As a run blocker he does a great job get- ting down the field and always seems to make important blocks. He really moves guys off of the line of scrim- mage. I think that's really going to play well with what Michigan is going to be doing." 2020 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE

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