November 2, 2010

UM, MSU, PSU, Iowa in hunt for Zettel

One of the top players on the Michigan State recruiting board is Anthony Zettel of Ogemaw Heights High school. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound lineman has just finished up his senior season and is now looking forward toward recruiting.

A few weeks ago it looked as if Anthony Zettel's senior football season was going to be one to forget, but that changed as Zettell got healthy and Ogemaw Heights got hot. The Falcons won their last 3 games of the season, including a thrilling shootout 48-40 shootout over Standish-Sterling. In that contest Zettel had 13 tackles
Ogemaw Heights finished 5-4 and qualified for the playoffs due to strength of schedule. They lost a tough opening round game to Kingsford High School (9-1) by a score of 22-15. Zettel finished the regular season with 107 total tackles (82 solo) and seven sacks. He also rushed for 205 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown on offense.

With football season over, Zettel is now looking forward to focusing on recruiting and eventually making his college choice. However before he could turn his focus to recruiting, he had to make a tough decision. Being a 4-star and top 100 national recruit, Zettel had several opportunities to participate in post-season All-American games and activities. We asked him about that.

"I had to turn the invitations down due to the MHSAA rule, Zettel stated.

MHSAA has a rule that causes any athlete who participates in a post season All-American game to be ineligible for all of the sports the remainder of their high school career. Zettel, who plays basketball and is a champion track athlete, opted not to participate in the All-American contest he was invited to. understands the impetus behind MHSAA originally making that rule; they did not want situations like occurred when Lebron James senior year was a joke as well as protecting student athletes. However, in most cases they are simply denying worthy athlete an opportunity for a great experience. In addition, some kid actually chooses the All-American contest and then the MHSAA rule then hurts the teammates of that player.

Zettel has been very consistent in talking about the teams he is looking at seriously and nothing has changed on that front. Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa and Penn State are all under consideration. asked Zettel what he is looking for in a school that will help him make his college choice.
"I am looking for a good education and a good football program that is on the rise," he stated. "I also want to be around coaches and players that are good people and enjoyable. Having a nice campus and good college atmosphere is something I am looking at too."

Zettel informed Rivals analyst Josh Helmholdt earlier this week that the University of Michigan was still his "slight leader" and that as of right now that is the only official visit he has lined up (Dec 10th). He plans on setting up his other official visits in the coming weeks.

Michigan has long been viewed as the team to beat for Zettel's services, but the uncertainty over whether Coach Rich Rodriguez will be retained is an issue. Many have speculated that Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson is on thin ice considering the Wolverines 3-3-5 defense has been an utter failure so far. The Wolverines struggles on defense are what has led to a horrendous Big Ten record the last 3 years. Take away Indiana and the Wolverines are 0-12 against Big Ten competition the last 14 games.

The Spartans will continue to plug away in Zettels' recruitment. Mark Dantonio has always viewed recruiting as a long term process of building relationships. The Spartans would love to add Zettel to the defense to team with players like William Gholston, Max Bullough and Lawrence Thomas. Zettel projects as a player similar to current defensive lineman Jonathon Strayhorn. Strayhorn plays DE and DT depending on down and distance and leads the team in sacks. Championships are built on the defensive side of the ball and the Spartans already have some impressive pieces of the puzzle, landing a player like Zettel would certainly enhance the picture.

Look for Michigan State to try and get Zettel on campus for an official visit on a weekend when numerous other committed recruits are on campus. Coach Dantonio likes players to interact as much as possible with potential teammates. ill continue to follow-up with Zettel in the coming weeks. His recruitment will be a hotly contested one for sure and whatever team he commits to will be getting a quality student-athlete as well.

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