Zak Tait: 2009 Prospect

Notre Dame just landed safety Harrison Smith from Knoxville Catholic High School (Tenn.) last year, but Smith wasn't the only talented player on the squad. Junior Zak Tait is a talented offensive line prospect and the Irish have already identified him as a player they would like to recruit.

If you go back and watch Harrison Smith's highlight film from high school, you'll probably see Zak Tait (6-foot-4, 300 pounds) opening the holes that allowed Smith to run free. Since the Notre Dame coaches spent time recruiting Smith, you can be sure that they are already aware of Tait.

"I've been getting plenty of stuff from Notre Dam through the mail," Tait responded when asked about his recruitment. "I've been getting a lot of mail from a lot of schools around the country. I don't have any offers yet, but there have been lots, and lots of mail from Tennessee, Alabama, LSU, Florida, Penn State, USC, and Oklahoma, and there are more."

Tait didn't expect all the recruiting mail to come to him, but he certainly is exited to have the attention.

"I came to Catholic my freshmen year," Tait explained. "I worked hard enough to earn a starting job. People said that I was big enough and that some day I'd be in this position. I really didn't think about it much... I still don't think about recruiting much. It's on my mind, but most of my attention is on school and my high school team."

With Smith already at Notre Dame, Tait receives plenty of feedback on what is happening at Notre Dame.

"I talk to Harrison a lot and we text fairly often," Tait said. "He likes it a lot. Notre Dame has a great campus. It's one of the most prestigious programs across the country and it also has a great education.

"Tennessee had a 5-6 year a couple years ago, but they're right back where they need to be. They had a great recruiting class last year and they already have one this year. Some people may say that it's a rebuilding year for Notre Dame, but it's more of a developmental year for them.

"I wasn't a huge Tennessee fan growing up, but I always went to their games," Tait said. "I don't think location would be a big deal to me. Going somewhere else wouldn't be a huge deal to me. I'm just going to go to the school that's best for me."

Tait is already getting a jump on looking at schools. This fall he intends to visit several top programs.

"I went to Alabama on an unofficial last year and I went there over the summer for a one-day camp. I like it there. I had a great time," Tait said. "I'm going to the Tennessee-Alabama game, Florida-Auburn game, and the Oklahoma-Colorado game. I going to try and get a couple more scheduled if I can. There's nothing better than watching college football. I definitely want to play college football, but I have to finish high school before I can do that."

Tait still has nearly two full seasons to finish in high school, but it isn't a mistake that he's the top college programs are already recruiting him. Tait has a solid overall game, but even he knows that he still needs to work hard to improve.

"I play offensive guard," Tait said. "We run the wing-‘T' and the veer. Our guards do a lot of pulling. At my size I think I have good feet. I think my strength is drive blocking. At Catholic, my pulling has gotten much better, which is great for the next level. We don't pass the ball very much, but hopefully when I do get to the next level I'll be able to do a little more pass blocking, because I've always thought that was one of the things I've been able to do.

"I always want to work on my speed and strength and my quickness off the ball. I always want to get faster and stronger. I always want to get smarter on the field as well. I want to become more of a leader next year as a senior. I'm trying to be a leader as a junior. I try to lead by example. If there is a guy I need to talk to, I won't call him out in front of the team unless I need to. I'll talk to some guys one-on-one. There are 20 seniors on the team and most of them are stepping into the leadership roles.

"I'm just trying to get Catholic the state championship and some honors for the school," Tait explained. "We're 3-0 right now. We have over 20 seniors back this year. We have one of the best defenses in the state. We have a great offense. W e have our biggest rivalry game coming up [tonight]."

Tait reported a 2.5 g.p.a.


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