Is NU offer enough?

When you gauge your priorities while you are in high school, much of it depends on the opportunities in front of you. If you've got great grades, academic opportunities are abundant, you having your pick of some great institutions of higher learning. You might have that same luxury if you are an accomplished athlete. If you are both though, you could find a dilemma in front of you, academics the priority or athletics. It could be the difference between reaching a goal and achieving a dream.

Zach Copple was just offered by Nebraska, his first written offer of this still-young recruiting season. Ok, that's not a big deal. After all, he's one of the best linemen from within the borders of the Husker state, so why not. What is a big deal however is that Copple didn't immediately commit to NU, because he might be a Husker fan, but dreams of being a Husker haven't danced in his head since he was just a wee lad. Maybe, that's why he's got a different perspective on the whole thing.

"The thing is, in junior high, I never really watched that much sports." Zach said. "I was into playing it, but not much into watching. So, not being a huge spectator, I didn't grow up the biggest Nebraska fan. That's my team, but the thought of going away to school isn't something I would hesitate on if I felt better someplace else."

That early on kind of detachment has put Zach in a position that like he said, gives him a little more of an objective view as to this almost assumed-allegiance to the Huskers. Don't get Zach wrong in thinking that he is completely against the thought of being with the Big Red though. "Nebraska is still as major contender for me and I would say they are definitely one of my leaders, but I am just keeping my options really open right now."

One of Zach's biggest considerations right now is the choices he has in front of him of where to go to school. Yes, Nebraska has offered him, but he has also had discourse about a possible full-ride with none other than Harvard University. Just the name holds some serious weight and the thought of being part of such an illustrious school isn't lost on Copple whatsoever. He's just waiting to see if their offer bears fruit. "The coach there told me that they have a spot on their roster for me and they are trying to get me a full-ride, but can't do it athletically, so I am going to have to the academic route." Zach said.

When it comes to Harvard, you might think that's a tall task, but Copple's 4.6 GPA would say otherwise. In fact, Zach said that he is "in" as they say, he's just waiting to see if that full-ride does indeed happen. That means Harvard is a legit candidate, but even with the full-ride, they aren't the prohibitive favorite. After all, there is still Nebraska.

And yes, there are other schools that are vying for Zach's services as well, such as Colorado State, Wyoming, Oregon and Copple stated that he will be taking an unofficial to Virginia this coming Monday. Of those schools, Zach said that he has been told by both CSU and Wyoming and he's got the full-ride waiting if he wants to attend their institutions.

There is a theme to Copple's goals and it's fairly obvious and you wouldn't be surprised to find out what his answer was to what he thought one of his biggest strengths on the field was as well. "I think what helps me is that I know what every position is doing." Zach said. "That helps out, plus I have good pad-level, I don't give up and obviously being 6'5" and 290 lbs. doesn't hurt"

No, that wouldn't hurt at all, well, unless you are the other guy.

And don't try and stereotype the really smart guys thinking that they are simply technicians, because this is one "brainiac" that when he dawns the pads, "it's on". "I was at camp today and we don't get to go full pads, but I knocked some kid down on his back and that's just the greatest feeling in the world." Zach said. "You just get this tingly feeling and there's really nothing like it."

There will be nothing like this final season at Lincoln Southeast as well, which is what takes up Zach's time, that is when he has any time left from everything else he's doing. Lincoln Southeast is a perennial contender and the defending state champion in Nebraska's largest classification. That is motivation enough to make any football player for that team to think only of that season coming up.

For Copple, recruiting is something he wants to look at, but not to any degree that it takes away from his final year with the Knights. "I just want to concentrate on Southeast football." Zach said. "I got play around with the recruiting process this Summer, but I would like to put that on hold until after this season is done."

"My senior year is the most important thing to me right now."

Zach's list is basically comprised of the teams listed above. That's not to say he isn't open to any others, but he like many others are open to those that are most open with them in their desire to have them on their team. That's the situation and whether it comes down to academics, athletics or the best combination of both, chances are, everyone will have to wait until after LSE is done, before anyone gets to find out.

Steve Ryan can be reached at or 402-730-5619

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