Not slowing down for Zuerlein

The picture that Greg Zuerlein saw coming out of high school is definitely different than how things played out. It's had a way though of proving to be the right decision until your football program gets dropped and you are left looking around for a place to play. What is Zuerlein doing currently and who are the teams that he is considering?

Greg Zuerlein is seeing his time at one school come to an end and he's sorting through where they will begin, again. Zuerlein is the kicker from University of Nebraska – Omaha who has recently dropped their football program entirely. Zuerlein was headed to take his last finals of the semester.

"It's kind of a weird time right now because I don't know where I am going to end up," Zuerlein said. "I am going to try and graduate from Omaha this summer because I only have a couple of classes left.

"Then based on whether or not the NCAA will let me play division one football I will probably do that otherwise I will find a division two school to play at. It's kind of crazy because I just don't know. I don't know what is going to happen."

Zuerlein is awaiting the ruling from the NCAA that should at least start to focus his search based on what he is qualified to do. At this point in time he is only eligible to go D-II to D-II and not up to D-I.

"For me to play division one I have to get a sixth year granted because my five year clock is up. That has been submitted and it's in front of them. It's in their hands right now."

"I got hurt last season. UNO applied for my sixth year at the D-II level and that was granted to me already. Then obviously the program was dropped which makes me eligible to play D-II ball. The fact that my five year clock is up with the program being dropped makes my clock different from anyone else's."

The sixth year of eligibility is due to Zuerlein's season coming to an abrupt end last season. Toward the end of fall camp he felt some pain in his leg and after rehabbing he kicked the first PAT of the season for UNO. It was the only kick he made last season.

"The week before our first game we have last formal scrimmage. When I was kicking field goals everything was fine. It was my first kickoff I felt pain in my leg. I didn't want to risk anything.

"So I saw the trainer and we starting rehabilitation on my leg to have me ready to go for the first game. It wasn't feeling that great, I didn't really want to kick, but I tried to kick that first PAT.

"So I went ahead and kicked the PAT and it did it again. That kick was the end of my season; one PAT. I ended up tearing my hip labrum. I had surgery on that to repair that in December when the season ended. Since then I have been doing therapy."

The prognosis is very good for Zuerlein to return to 100% strength and kick again. He wouldn't call himself 100% as of right now though, but he is getting back to doing some normal things again.

"I have been running, kicking the soccer ball and I have been feeling great. I wouldn't say that I am 100%, but I do feel like I could start kicking field goals again. I don't know if I could do kickoffs quite yet. I am still trying to take things slow up to 100% cleared."

Until Zuerlein gets 100% healthy he will have finishing up school and the recruiting process to go through again. Zuerlein says that he has been to see two schools already, will take a third this weekend and there is always the "other" in-state school to consider.

"I have visited a couple of schools as of now. I have visited Oklahoma State and Missouri Western. This coming weekend I am going to visit UCLA. I am going to look around a little bit. I am from Lincoln and Nebraska is right there. I kind of know everything about them.

"I am in the process of trying to figure out what other schools have to offer. Basically, anything and any school is really open to me right now up until I hear the ruling from the NCAA about my eligibility."

The interest from Nebraska when it came to Zuerlein and his situation was pretty much immediate. In fact, the Huskers got the ball rolling for Zuerlein so he could really consider going D-I at all.

"They (Nebraska) filed my waiver for me. For me to be eligible a D-I school had to apply for me. I have spoken with the special team coach there early on. We talked about my eligibility and what would happen if I went there and earned a spot. Since that time I haven't really spoken to them."

At this point, Zuerlein says that it might be more of a wait and see approach that Nebraska is taking with him and the questions about his eligibility. There hasn't been consistent dialogue, but if he qualified he's sure that talks would pick up again.

"Honestly I haven't ruled out anyone and every school is in the picture. There are some schools that I would be learning towards more than others, but I haven't ruled anything out."

Of course Zuerlein hails from Lincoln. He's a graduate of Lincoln (Nebr.) Pius and as fate would have it he maybe wasn't in the plans that Nebraska had set at the time that he graduated high school, but coming home might be in the cards now.

"When I was a junior and senior Nebraska would send me letters. I took some unofficial visits, but at that time Bill Callahan was there and Scott Downing was the coach recruiting me. Beyond doing that they already had Jordan Congdon, he was a highly rated kicker at the time, and I don't know if they were even interested.

"I don't know if the interest was there from me or if they didn't think that I was interested. I really don't know what happened with that. That's just how it worked out. Obviously it worked out for Alex Henery who walked on at Nebraska."

Things could be coming full circle for Zuerlein pending a ruling from the NCAA. He's getting by though, making plans and making the best of a bad situation. "It's pretty crazy. It's still going on. There has been so much to happen it's just been ridiculous. I am just staying flexible.

"I have been talking to my coach about things and a lot of schools from around the area are just wrapping up their spring practices. You never know what is going to happen when they go into a meeting and realize that they need a kicker for the next year."

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