Cats sign hidden gem

With graduation of long snapper Ben DalMolin the Wildcat coaches were forced to scour the country for a replacement. It is rare in this day and age for schools to use a full scholarship on a kid that will only be snapping the ball, no matter how important the position is.

One of two things happens when a school does actually use a scholarship on a long snapper. First, they are forced to out of absolute necessity. Second, the kid must be very good at snapping and deserves a scholarship. Special Teams coordinator Joe Robinson walked into Butler Community College in Kansas during the first week coaches were allowed to travel and he found a diamond in the rough.

The Wildcats topped off their 2005 recruiting class by signing J.C. Zahradnik, a defensive end and long snapper from Butler.

"About the end of April some time coach Robinson came by the school to recruit and he saw me snapping on film I guess," said the 6-foot-3 inch, 215 pound snapper. "The next day he called back and said that he had called and talked to Coach (Mike) Stoops and told him that he liked me and he said Coach Stoops said to go get me so they offered and I have signed with Arizona."

For Zahradnik, the scholarship offer from Arizona came as a surprise since he knew that with his size the Division-1 level was a long shot for him to play d-end.

"I am a 215 pound end and I knew that is not what college coaches at that level are looking for," he said. "I just started long snapping like two years ago. I was the back up during my freshman year and last year I started at the position. I never thought I would get this kind of an opportunity just for being able to snap the ball so I am very happy about what has happened."

If it wasn't for the Arizona offer, JC says that he would most likely be heading to Pennsylvania to pay ball.

"I was looking at going to LaSalle to play defensive end and that was about the only other thing I had so far," he said. "Some 1-AA schools were looking at me but the LaSalle offer was the only one that I had other than just some other interest. Getting a chance to go play for Arizona is just something that I cannot pass up. This whole thing came out of the dark so it is nice to get this kind of opportunity. My folks are really happy for me, they are thrilled."

Zahradnik will move to Tucson at the beginning of June is order to start the strength program and he will be enrolling in summer classes. He will also being the state of Arizona for the first time when he arrives.

"I have never been there," he quipped. "When I get there on the first of June that will be the first time I have seen anything down there. I guess that I am going to live with the punter Danny (Baugher) and the kicker for at first."

Zahradnik went on to say that his first impression of Coach Robinson had a lot to do with him signing as quickly as he did also.

"Coach Robinson is just a real nice guy," he said. "I think he could tell that I was real nervous when I first met him so he kept things real informal and he joked around a bit and I liked that. He is just a real nice guy."

JC will major in Physical Education in Tucson and he said that he wants to be a strength coach after he graduates.

"I will major in Physical Education but more the science side of it," commented Zahradnik. "I want to be a strength coach after football so this opportunity will help me with that also. Maybe afterward college I can join the staff at Arizona as a graduate assistant or something."

JC Zahradnik
6'3, 215, 4.7
Bench Max 370
Squat Max 450

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