His size and big league arm immediately drew attention from schools across the number, but his numbers did not reflect what top quarterbacks typically put up. At Oconee County, he threw for only 1,333 yards and 9 touchdowns as a junior.
The questions were still out there. He had added offers from Boston College and Vanderbilt during the season and some still wondered how. Then, in January of 2008, the University of Georgia extended an offer to Mettenberger and he committed to the Bulldogs on February 3.
Mett will be enrolling at UGA early
"I definitely used people saying things about me as motivation," said the future Georgia Bulldog. "I heard people saying that I was weak, that I was not a good player, that I was too slow, that I did not have good feet, and a number of different things."
Even though the comments Mettenberger has heard about himself over the past year have not always been kind, he never started believing what he was hearing.
"I always felt that I was one of the best in the Nation quarterback wise. I have seen others that are considered the best and I think I am just as good as them. I just kept working, kept getting better, and kept believing in myself."
Family, friends, and even his future position coach in Athens all helped him stay driven for success through the times that could have been tough.
"I have a lot of good friends that were able to keep me focused. My family was there and Coach Mike Bobo talked to me a lot too. He went through a time when he was at Georgia when people were doubting him, so he had a lot of good things to say to me about this. I just had a lot of good people around me, so it really was not that hard to get through it."
During the spring, Mettenberger really started to hush the critics as he blossomed as a player. It all started coming together for him. His mechanics, his body, his mind, his confidence – it all came together for him early in 2008.
He says it all goes back to one thing.
"I think it all has to do with maturity," said Zach Mettenberger. "I have really grown up a lot this past year. The game has really started to slow down for me, my body is catching up to my ability, my footwork is starting to get to elite status, and I am just going to keep working hard."
"The biggest thing though is me just growing up and maturing a lot."
That maturation process started late in 2007 after an early exit in the playoffs. He focused immediately on becoming the best that he could and he did everything in his power to make sure he was an improved player in 2008.
"The Monday after we lost to Carrollton I went into the weight room with our trainer and started working out. I was doing ladder drills, jumping rope, and really trying to get quicker, stronger, and better."
Mett has great arm strength
That consistency really shows now and people are now starting to come around and believe that Mettenberger can be a special quarterback. He had a great spring where he was named the top quarterback at the NIKE Camp at the University of Alabama, he was recognized by StudentsSports.com as one of the best at his position when chosen as Elite 11 member, and he has risen up the rankings on all the recruiting websites.
The hard work, the dedication, the drive for success, and the ability to stay focused on what he can control has really paid off. He is now ready to lead Oconee County deep into the playoffs and continue to improve his game as he prepares to enroll at the University of Georgia next January.
"I think I have proved a lot of people wrong. I am working hard and I am going to do everything I can to keep getting better."
Mettenberger threw for 2,016 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2008. He also ran for another four touchdowns and threw only six interceptions. The future Dawg will be moving to Athens on January 4 to begin his career.