Canal Winchester High School got off to a blazing start last season. Unfortunately, two consecutive losses ended the campaign as they could not seem to recover from losing the last game of the regular season in time for the playoffs.
"Overall, we went 9-2," Zack Hitchens explains. "We lost the first game of the playoffs to Chillicothe. We were undefeated in our league entering the last game of the regular season and were playing for the league title. We came up a bit short and lost in overtime."
Hitchens is looking forward to his senior year.
"I think we should be pretty good next year. Our team gets a little smaller in size, but we get faster and will have better skill guys. We should be pretty good. Our seniors will guide the team and we need players to step up and make some plays."
Zack is a key cog in the team's defense.
"I play really aggressive. I did everything across the board except for interceptions. I think I had 9.5 sacks this year. I've started every game on varsity since my sophomore year. Next year I'm moving to outside linebacker from my defensive end position. Colleges are looking at me as a linebacker."
The 6'-2", 230 pound athlete is attracting attention from across the Midwest.
"Cincinnati, Louisville, Iowa, Michigan State, Illinois, and Ball State are interested in me. Illinois has been on me pretty good. I've went to several games at Ohio State this past year too."
Zack is spending the spring visiting colleges and getting to know the programs and coaches.
"I've been to Cincinnati's junior day, and I'm thinking about going to a spring practice at Cincinnati and Michigan State. I plan on visiting Illinois sometime this year, but I'm not sure when yet."
Zack is a proud Ohioan and gives the edge to his home state teams.
"I grew up a fan of Cincinnati and Ohio. I would want to play for the teams in my state first if given the chance."
Still, Ron Zook and his staff are actively recruiting Zack in hopes of swaying him toward the Illini.
"I think Ron Zook is a pretty inspirational guy. He gets his team pumped up for the game and I like that. He's not afraid to get after you. He won't baby you. It's all about the coaches for me."
Zack hasn't taken his ACT yet and reports a 2.9 GPA.