I made it out to Lobo Football Camp on Friday. As I watched the campers stretch, I saw the excitement on their faces. Shortly after stretching out the skill positions were matched up and started 7 on 7 games, while the O line and D line were sent over to do agility drills on the northeast field. The best bet for me was to follow the linemen and I'm glad!
I watched one Offensive linemen in particular as he was running the drills so smooth he could have been playing corner. I eyeballed him at about 6'5" probably close to 300 lbs so to see him performing drills with the grace and speed of a cornerback I was amazed. He looked like he had very little, if any, baby fat, carrying most of his weight in his upper body.
Since the big man was wearing a Taos high school jersey on, I quickly figured out he was Zayn Bin-Bilal the younger brother of current Lobo Hussein Bin-Bilal. I made it a point to come out Saturday morning to get an interview. I spoke with Zayn, and I don't think I have ever met a more humble young man.
TRM: What is height and weight?
Zayn: I am 6'5" and weight 281 lbs.
TRM: How are you liking camp?
Zayn: I am really having a great time out here.
TRM: Have any of the coaches talked to you?
Zayn: Yes, coaches from UNM, Kansas, and NM Highlands pulled me aside to talk with me.
TRM: Are you going to any more camps this year?
Zayn: We (Taos) are going to the NM Highlands camp, other than that, I don't know yet.
TRM: As an offensive lineman do you prefer run blocking or pass blocking?
Zayn: I like run blocking… knocking people down and getting a pancake.
That should be music to the ears of Lobo fans who have developed an affinity for offensive linemen at UNM.
I later got a chance to talk to Coach Mitchell and Coach Lopez of the Taos Tigers and both were adamant that Zayn had just scratched the surface of his potential.
Zayn is an interesting young man. Like his brother they are vegetarians and still get that large. Zayn is really into poetry and really dedicated in the weight room, and is a very respectful young man. He still has some growing to do as he has only been playing football for a few years now, but he is a quick learner and works hard at learning the game. In Taos we don't have YAFL or Pop Warner so the players start off kind of late. Zayn not only plays football, but he is also a wrestler for Taos and runs track, says Coach Mitchell
"We mostly play him on offense and let him specialize there. We will use him some on defense, but with him being so big he becomes a big target," says Lopez. "When Zayne is on offense he locks down everyone. Nobody gets around him."
In my own opinion, UNM would be getting a steal in Zayn. He was the most athletic and physically gifted of any of the linemen at the camp.
**Editor's note** This story was written Saturday night by Daniel Harper and at the time he was unaware of the rumors circulating around camp last night that Bin-Bilal was going to be offered. Today Coach Mitchell confirmed to TheRedMenace.com / NMVarsity.com that the University of New Mexico has made an offer to Zayn Bin-Bilal to play for UNM.