Grey shirting can be a good thing. For Zack Line of Oxford Michigan it was a great thing for the standout linebacker.
Line signed a national letter of intent with SMU last February; he didn't report for fall camp like the rest of the signees, the decision had already been made to grey shirt the Michigan native. On his official visit last January, Line weighed in at 197-pounds and was measured at 6-foot-1.
What a difference a year can make, Line, one of the younger signees of the class who didn't turn 18 until this past fall, stayed home to get in better shape and hopefully doing a little growing.
"I'm getting really excited and anxious about enrolling in classes at SMU next month," Line told PonyStampede.com Tuesday night. "I'm ready to make a difference at SMU; I have been solely focused on getting into the best shape of my life and to get bigger."
Has Line got any bigger since his official visit?
"Oh yeah I have," Line said laughing. "I'm now weighing 235, and its all in the right places. I have been working out with a trainer four days a week, getting bigger the right way."
Another thing that Line is excited about is that he has gotten faster instead of slower with his additional 35 pounds he has added to his frame.
"Some thought I might have gotten slower but actually I'm faster," Line said. "I ran a 4.6 forty recently where I was running a high 4.7. My shuttle improved from 4.25 to 4.20, that's important for a linebacker, running side to side."
Line will make the trip from Michigan with his parents sometime before January 10, to prepare for the January 15th freshmen orientation.
"Grey shirting was the best thing that could have ever happen for me," Line said. "The SMU coaches couldn't believe how much I had grown when I came down for the Memphis game. They told me I probably could have started for them this season at running back and getting some playing time this past fall at linebacker."
Line took an unofficial trip to Dallas for the Memphis game and was impressed with the atmosphere.
"I loved it there," Line said. "I can't wait to be playing football every Saturday there. We have a lot of young and talented players, things are going to change at SMU for the better."
Line took two courses, six hours at a community college in Michigan this past fall to get a head start on his academics.
How did SMU find Line and offer him a scholarship?
"One of my best friends dad works for the Detroit Lions and knew Coach Jones really well," Line explained. "He sent Coach Jones a tape to Hawaii, and they liked me. When he made the move to Texas it was a no brainer for me."
While Line is looking forward to playing football in the south, he is extremely excited about the weather and culture change he is about to experience.
"We have a foot of snow on the ground here today," Line said. "I may wear shorts year round down there; it's going to be great."
Line will participate in spring football practices and is excited about the opportunity to earn a starting role.
"They are telling me that I can come in and make an immediate impact," Line said. "They told me to be ready, I'm ready, I'm in the best shape of my life. I'm ready to play ball."