Dawe is rising up and beyond

Pleasant Grove High School's Zac Dawe has been on fire since the end of his junior season of Viking football. He attended the Mountain West Elite Camp and was recognized as one of the top players there. He's also increased his strength, speed and size, and has been getting more interest on the recruiting front.

Zac Dawe recently attended the Mountain West Elite Camp, which fields some of the top football players across the state of Utah. His performance under the tutelage of camp officials earned him MVP honors.

"It was awesome," Dawe said. "The coaches were unreal. I was named the defensive MVP. I worked with Coach Jeff Kaufusi and he helped me with some hand stuff. I got it down and used what I learned against some kids during one-on-one drills and using some of my moves. It was a lot of fun."

"He did awesome," said camp director Riley Jensen about Dawe. "He was the MVP of the camp for defensive linemen, and could have easily been the MVP of the whole camp, but that went to Kavika Fonua. Zac was all that he's prepped up to be. He's coachable and Coach Jeff Kaufusi and Jan Jorgensen loved him. They said, ‘This guy is the real deal,' and I know Jan was excited about him because he's a BYU guy."

During the camp, Dawe worked out extensively with Jorgensen, who graduated from BYU after the 2009 season.

"It was a good camp because there were unbelievable coaches there, and on top of that we got a lot of one-on-one coaching from them," said Dawe. "It really helped me to get back into the football mentality and [was] very informative. Jan Jorgensen was helping me with some things and he's awesome. I did a lot of one-on-one training with him at the camp and he showed me some of the moves he used when he was up at BYU. He helped me with my stance and with hand fighting. He helped me out a lot."

"The thing that we loved about a defensive lineman like Zac is his athleticism," said Jensen. "A lot of times guys who play defensive lineman have to work on their size and strength, but he's already stronger than most guys, so he has a good start. One thing that we look for is how well the kids who learn from us apply it and how quickly they do so. He took what we taught him and applied it immediately on the field. That was one part that was impressive about him. He learned something from a coach and applied it on the field the very next play."

Dawe has been working on improving his overall size and athleticism. Much of Dawe's physical progress and skill development has come by way of training with EXL Fitness & Performance director Mike Stroshine in Pleasant Grove.

"He's worked miracles with me," said Dawe. "Outside of football it's been really nice going in and he really busts my butt and pushes me. His workouts are unreal how amazing they are. I've put on a good 20 pounds since working out with him every day. He's helped me with my max bench and it's up to about 370 right now. He's helped me with my speed and mostly my get-off, which has increased a ton. He's worked miracles with me."

In the state power-lifting competition, Dawe placed seventh overall as a junior.

"My squat is like 430 and that's what I did in competition, but I could probably do a little more," he said. "I got 265 on the power clean but probably should have gone up a little more to like 280 or 290. For my squat I did 430."

"As long as he continues to improve his size and strength in the weight room, I think he has a very bright future," said Jensen. "He's got a lot of upside to his ability and, like I said, he's coachable. He's a good one."

Dawe has also been working with Stroshine to improve in other areas.

"I've been working on my speed training and quickness and it's really paid off. Right now I run a 4.8 forty at 275 pounds," Dawe said. "I've only been training with Mike Stroshine for two months and I've seen so much improvement. I've put on a lot more muscle mass and dropped my forty time. I'm hoping to get down to a 4.7 by the end of summer."

Since committing to BYU, Dawe has received some interest from various college coaches.

"Yeah, there have been some colleges showing more interest like Stanford, UCLA, Utah State and Utah," said Dawe. "I've gotten letters from USC and UNLV and they want me to come to camps. Utah and Stanford tells me to remember [them] if anything happens and that their doors are open. It's an honor and a good experience."

Dawe actually didn't always prefer BYU over Utah.

"Believe it or not I used to be a Utah fan, but I've changed my ways," said Dawe. "Coach Jay Hill has been talking to me and he said, ‘I know you have a BYU scholarship and that you've committed…' but on the other hand it's like, ‘Oh come on man!' They're not trying to force me out of committing and have been understanding. They know how I feel about BYU."

UCLA coaches have shown interest in so much as to make a trip up to Pleasant Grove High School.

"They know I'm committed to BYU so they didn't say too much," Dawe said. "The coach just told me that if I can to make it up to the UCLA camp, they told me that UCLA is open for me and said, ‘I know you're going to the BYU camp, but if you have time you should come down to UCLA's camp.' I also get a lot of emails too. I also get colleges asking me to switch sports to wrestling too."

Stanford coach Lance Anderson, who is LDS and has coached notable LDS defensive linemen like Sione Fua, has also been talking with Dawe.

"They just tell me to work on my ACT and want me to change my class schedule a little bit just in case," Dawe said. "They kind of tell me the same things as the other coaches have said. If things don't go the way I want things to happen, then their door's open for me. Coach Anderson has let me know that Stanford is an open opportunity for me, which is exciting, but they already know that I'm committed to BYU. He's a bit heartbroken."

College coaches are testing Dawe's level of commitment to BYU. It's a natural thing to do during the recruiting process. However, Dawe – who is an all-American and considered one of the top heavyweight wrestlers in the nation – has expressed the fact that he is firmly committed to the Cougars.

"I just tell them that I'm committed to BYU and there's where I want to be," he said. "I obviously want to finish out my last season hard with my team, but BYU is really the only college that I'm interested in and staying focused on. That's kind of what I tell other colleges."

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