Fortunately for Zembiec, the chip is very much figurative. He believes his lack of action as a junior at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y., caused his stock to slip in the eyes of some.
So at the Nike Opening event here last weekend, Zembiec felt he had something to prove.
Not playing my junior year, my name kind of disappeared a little bit in the recruiting world, if you want to say, Zembiec said. So I want to get my name back out there and show that I didn't lose anything. If anything, I got better, got stronger and worked on my game a little bit. It wasn't my throwing wrist that was broken so I could still throw.
Zembiec went into the regional event hoping to win a spot in the national Opening in Oregon this summer. While that did not come to fruition, he was named one of 30 semifinalists for Nike's Elite 11, a competition that will take place Friday through Sunday in Los Angeles.
After throwing well in Columbus, Zembiec had a feeling the Elite 11 invite was coming.
It went really well, he said. I did well (in competition drills). The Pressure Chamber at the end, I was excited to get selected for that. I went four for five I think, and made a few nice passes. I'm looking to get a call tonight to make it to the regional there in LA. Overall, I thought I did really well, competed with a lot of the guys here.
The The Pressure Chamber was at the end of Sunday's camp, and featured the best skills players on offense going head to head with the best LBs and DBs on defense.
Earlier in the day, Zembiec posted great numbers in the vertical (38.6 inches) and power ball throw (37.5 feet). But he said he would have liked to have done better in the 40-yard dash (4.93 seconds) and shuttle (4.55 seconds).
He'll have a chance to improve all of those numbers and more effectively showcase his QB skills in LA. In Columbus, it was a very crowded QB field, as a whopping 67 passers were listed on the roster (and many of them not very good). So not even the best passers on hand were able to get a ton of reps.
Zembiec is currently listed as a three-star prospect by two of the major recruiting networks (including Scout) and a four-star by two others. He said improving his overall ranking is more about pride than trying to impress college coaches.
I want to earn a four- (or) a five-star (rating), but I'm committed to Penn State already, happy with the process, he said. The (rankings) are great. But they obviously don't mean too much because the college coaches see in you what they want to see in you. Penn State had faith in me and they see a lot of potential in me and that's what matters most to me.
Zembiec was rocking loose-fitting, multi-patterned Nittany Lions shorts over his workout gear Sunday (You know I had to rep a little Penn State'). He said while he still receives mail from other schools and has the occasional Twitter conversation with a coach, he is not wavering a bit from James' Franklin's program.
The key phrase there is James Franklin's program.
The coaching staff at Penn State is the main reason I committed there, he said. So unless that changes, really, I'm Penn State all the way.
With that in mind, Zembiec said his summer will feature a lot of trips to Penn State.
He will likely participate in at least one of the school's camps, to get in early work with QB coach Ricky Rahne. But he intends to be around for as many of the camps as possible so he can go out and help recruit, too.
You can check out our entire interview with Zembiec, where he talks about the recent commitment of four-star offensive tackle Michal Menet, fellow longtime commit Miles Sanders and much more, above.
You can see him in action below.