Offensive tackle Blake Zubovic (Belle Vernon, Pa.) is one of the rising 2018 stars in Western Pennsylvania, and Jan. 30 he pulled his first two offers from an ACC and Big Ten school. The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder landed Pitt about 45 minutes before Maryland came in.
“It was pretty awesome. Up until this last week or two I hadn’t had much contact with colleges. I’ve just been working out, keeping busy, and it was pretty awesome to get not one, but two offers, in one night,” Zubovic said. “Coach [Dave] Borbely from Maryland actually contacted me first, but Pitt offered me about an hour before Maryland the same night. It was pretty close.”
With the Terps, Zubovic said he and Borbely had been exchanging texts and direct messages a couple days before the offer materialized. The Belle Vernon prospect said he’s already taken a liking to UMD’s offensive line coach.
“I’ve been texting with him, and he seems like a pretty good guy. I enjoyed talking to him on the phone too,” Zubovic said. “He’s a personable guy, easy to talk to. I liked how he was talking to me about what they’re doing down there and the way things are moving at Maryland.”
In particular the Under Armour funds and the coming facility upgrades.
“Coach Borbely told me about the money they’re putting into the program, the facilities they’re building and how things are changing more towards football down there,” Zubovic said. “It sounds pretty exciting. It sounds like a great school and program.”
Zubovic also took note of Maryland’s 2017 class, which signed Feb. 1. The Pennsylvania native dubbed the Terps a “team on the rise.”
“I followed recruiting even before I became one (laughs). I saw what Maryland did this year; they got some pretty big names in there,” Zubovic said. “They look like they’re moving in the right direction.”
Zubovic had equal praise for Pitt. Of course, he knew much more about the Panthers since they’re the hometown school.
“I grew up watching Pitt,” Zubovic said. “The coaches are very personable and positive, and I know a lot about the program since it is so close. There’s been recruits from Belle Vernon who have gone there too. I know a lot of people there.”
So, does that mean Pitt has an early leg up in Zubovic’s recruitment?
“I wouldn’t say a leg up per se, because I really have to get up to the school and meet the coaches, see the facilities; and see it in depth. And that goes for all the schools recruiting me,” Zubovic said. “So I wouldn’t say Pitt has an [early] leg up yet; I can’t make that call yet.”
Besides the Panthers and Terps, Zubovic has heard from coaches from NC State, Syracuse, Penn State, Harvard and Wake Forest.
The only campus he’s seen so far is Pitt’s, but he plans to see Penn State later in February; Maryland in early March; and possibly NC State in March as well. Zubovic will also return to Pitt Feb. 8 for a campus tour.
“When I go see these schools, academics are a big thing,” said Zubovic, who holds a 3.75 GPA. “And I also want to have a good relationship with my coaches and find that school where it has that home feel to it.”
At this stage, Zubovic said he projects as an offensive tackle and both his early looks are for that position. But he also starts along the defensive line at Belle Vernon.
“I don’t really have a preference on what side I play on. I just love football,” Zubovic said. “But right now it’s tackle that colleges are looking at me for.”