Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

May 13, 2010

Trio of Glads have eye of D1 schools

8 D1 schools in to see Kerridge, Zakrzewski, Lints

TRAVERSE CITY — Last fall, Traverse City St. Francis benefitted from having two players committed to play Division I football in Max Bullough and Matt Zakrzewski.

Bullough enrolled at Michigan State in January to participate in spring football, while Matt Zakrzewski will be a freshman at Indiana this fall.

This year, that number at St. Francis could be three.

John Zakrzewski, Joe Kerridge and Kyle Lints have all gained interest from Division I schools. Eight coaches have already visited St. Francis and head coach Greg Vaughan expects the number to reach 15-17 before it's over.

"Schools are realizing that there's talent up here," Vaughan said. "Maybe it's not like Detroit where you're going to have 20 kids coming out of the area. But if you look at last year, I think it kind of sparks some interest from the college coaches. They definitely look at everyone's roster and see where they're getting kids from. For the in-state schools, they don't want to lose out on a kid from their state just because they didn't know there were kids up here."

All three players started receiving letters of interest during last season.

"Mine was Michigan midway through my junior season," Kerridge said of his first letter. "It definitely boosts your work ethic up. You want to work even harder when you see that. The hard work you're putting in is paying off and you want to keep going from there."

The three have worked during the offseason and went to the Michigan Showcase combine in Ann Arbor in February.

"There were a lot of different coaches there," Zakrzewski said. "There were some players from the NFL there, so we learned a lot and it was good exposure at the same time."

Now the three will prepare for a number of summer camps in the hopes of receiving a Division I offer.

"It's more exciting I think," Lints said. "You're kind of anxious to get an offer, but it's fun working at it and trying to get it."

All three plan on attending summer camps at Central Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and Western Michigan. Zakrzewski also plans on going to Toledo, Bowling Green and Ball State among others while Lints plans on going to Michigan, Northwestern and Notre Dame.

The list for Kerridge — a 6-foot-1, 230-pound fullback — also includes Purdue, Notre Dame, Northwestern and Stanford.

"A lot of schools don't have that position and coaches are saying it's hard to find a fullback," Vaughan said. "It's amazing when a kid gets an offer as a fullback how many other schools jump on because they just can't find them. That's why he's got Stanford coming in. They're not saying he's Toby Gerhart, but he runs very similar and they see him fitting into their system."

Kerridge is also being looked at as a punter and a linebacker. Zakrzewski and Lints also have versatility in the positions they're being recruited for.

At 6-3, 270, Lints could either play on the offensive or defensive lines.

"I'll play wherever the coaches want me," Lints said. "I don't have a preference."

"For Kyle, he's 6-3 and half and to us that's a big kid, but for a lineman, they're looking 6-5, 6-6," Vaughan said. "The thing all the coaches say about Kyle is he's absolutely nasty between the whistles, which is what you want out of a lineman. He's got to get into camp and in their eyes prove that's exactly what he is and what he does. They'll take a 6-7 kid and hope the potential will work through, but a 6-3 kid they've got to hit it on the head with that one."

Because Matt Zakrzewski played safety last year, John Zakrzewski (6-0, 190) started at cornerback. In college, he could either play safety or outside linebacker.

"For me, I like either way," he said. "Outside backer would be fun, strong safety would be fun. For me it doesn't matter."

"Coaches have to project whether he's going to be a safety or an outside linebacker," Vaughan said. "They love how he hits and those sorts of things, but there are different skills you need for those positions. That's why camps are important for him."

All three will also take academics into account when making a final decision.

One thing that is starting to go away, though, is the loyalty to schools from childhood.

"I think my opinion's opened up totally to the schools," Kerridge said. "I don't have any favorites. I grew up a Michigan fan because my family went there, but it opens up when you start seeing the schools and see all that they have."

While all three are keeping options open, Zakrzewski couldn't deny it would be fun to be reunited with his older brother Matt on the Indiana defense.

"It would be great to go down to Indiana and play with Matt," Zakrzewski said. "It was fun last year because he was a safety and I was a cornerback. We got to joke around on the field. We had a great time."

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