Matt Zanellato is a player I first saw when evaluating players for the Chesapeake Bowl and while his junior highlights impressed me enough to recommend putting him on the South team, his senior highlights and play at the game have taken my opinion of the Lake Braddock wide receiver to an entirely different level.
The first thing that I want to make very clear about Matt Zanellato is that he may be a gentleman off the field, but when he is on the field he is an absolute animal at his position. The ball is his, it belongs to him and he will catch it. No one will stop him and if a defender gets in his way, Zanellato will find a way to come down with the catch. He's fiery and plays with passion. I love his attitude on the field. He's not a "nice guy", he's out for blood.
The only drawback I have seen in Zanellato's game is that he doesn't have that game breaking speed, however he is sneaky in the department. One of his best assets is that he has quick feet and gets in and out of his breaks very fast. He is also a tremendous route-runner for the high school level and is excellent at using his large 6-foot-3.5, 195-pound frame to put himself between the ball and the defender. Zanellato doesn't have good hands, he has great hands and catches the ball away from his body. He does an excellent job of high-pointing the ball and also keeping it away from defenders in traffic. Frankly, it's hard to find a flaw in his game.
The future Nittany Lion also makes circus catches look almost routine somehow. His body control and concentration are outstanding. As I said in my first paragraph, "the ball is his" and he owns it. His awareness of where he is on the field is yet another thing that stands out to me consistently. Along the sidelines, he's always dragging one toe. In the back of the end zone, he always has a foot down. In the Chesapeake Bowl, he made two outstanding catches that made the press box occupants look at each other in awe.
I've seen plenty of very talented wide receivers and while I haven't seen Zanellato go against competition at the Army All-American Combine or the Under Armour Combine, he was the only receiver that could do a thing against a very talented North secondary this week.
As much as I'm putting myself out there, and I know I am with this statement, Penn State fans who were interested in Tanner McEvoy early in recruiting may have gotten a better receiver in Zanellato which is simply my personal opinion. Obviously many colleges disagreed with me however.
Film Eval - Matt Zanellato
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