At 6'7" and 240 lbs., you can probably imagine why offensive tackles and cornerbacks or linebackers aren't real excited to face him. Physical, fast and arms as long as most people's legs, stopping Potter is daunting to say the least. As Potter stated, it's particularly nice on offense. "It's a real big advantage." he said. "You get out in the open or one-on-one coverage, you're already above them, but if you can jump, you get some good opportunities at the ball."
Opportunities Zach took advantage of, averaging almost 17 yards per catch as he caught 19 balls on the year for 315 yards, scoring four touchdowns. On defense, Zach was fairly adept as well, tallying 10 sacks on the season and a total of 13 tackles for loss.
In recent years, Zach's size is certainly different than the majority of tight ends you see, but with the performances of other local standouts like Matt Herian and Josh Meuller, who both stand at least 6'5", Potter isn't in a league all by himself.
Like any solid player though, each has their own unique way of getting it done on the field. "I like to think I am pretty versatile on either side of the ball." Potter stated. "On offense, I have pretty decent speed, can jump and all that, so my size isn't my only advantage. On defense, I have to create contain so I just can't rush the quarterback, but I can use technique or just push the tackle off the line if I need to."
The very fact that Potter wasn't a pin your ears back type of rush end speaks even better of the 10 sacks on the season and you would have to wonder if that's the position he thinks he'll play once he gets into college. "I don't know." he said. "I like them both. It's great getting a sack, but it's great getting the ball and scoring touchdowns to. I guess whatever fits me the best, that's what I will do."
Initial projections for Zach are to the tight end position as his frame seems capable of holding much more than the 240 lbs. he's carrying with not a real significant projected loss of speed. And, even with those incredibly long arms and legs, Potter is still sporting not much under a 300 bench, while managing to squat over 300 lbs. Add to that his 4.7 speed and Zach Potter rounds out to a great package, no matter what side of the ball he'll be on.
As to the recruiting, Zach had the distinction of being one of the youngest players ever to receive a scholarship offer in writing from the University of Nebraska. Zach also found himself watching Nebraska change in front of his very eyes as most of the coaches he knew were given their walking-papers and the new regime came in.
So, is the offer still there?
There have been reports from his coach that Nebraska's offer was indeed still on the table, but Zach himself stated that he had never personally heard anything one way or the other. "After all the changes, nobody ever got ahold of me to say that I still had the offer or didn't." he said. "So, we're going up there this week probably to sit down with the coaches and figure all that stuff out."
Zach is a Nebraska kid, which means he's grown up as a Nebraska fan. And, while that has been enough to keep most of the best talent the Cornhusker state has to offer, Potter said that he's still very desirous of keeping his options open. "Yeah, I am a Nebraska fan." Zach said. "And, they are up at the top of my list, but right now I am just getting letters and when those become offers, I'm sure there will be other options to choose from. Even if Nebraska told me the offer was still there, I wouldn't commit just because it's so early and there's still a lot to think about for the future."
While most in-state kids that were dyed in the wool Husker fans from the point they could say "Go Big Red" eventually end up with NU, Creighton Prep doesn't hold to that reputation, young players from that school often finding themselves at other schools, Notre Dame most specifically. When I asked if there had been any conversations about Notre Dame and Creighton Prep's reputation for pushing kids there, Zach just laughed a bit, stating, "Oh, Notre Dame comes up now and again, but there are thousands of Notre Dame fans in Omaha."
Over the off-season, Zach said that he plans on attending the Nike Camp at Iowa City with possible one-day or weekend camps to Kansas State, Nebraska and others, but hasn't made any real concrete plans.
Zach does plan on enjoying the whole process though as his team holds typical to their pre-season goals of wanting yet another state title. "I'm excited about the recruiting process." Zach said. "I'm dreading it to because I know I will have to tell some coaches ‘no'". But, overall, I am just going to enjoy it, make sure to keep my options open and figure everything out when I feel the time is right."
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619