Brand new to varsity football two years ago, the coaching staff at Upper Marlboro (MD) Riverdale Baptist felt Zechariah McPhearson was best suited as a cornerback.
That athleticism was quickly expanded and exploited by his high school coaches, recognizing the 5-11, 180-pounder had too much talent to be sitting on the sidelines.
“They didn’t realize I could play both sides of the ball until this past year,” said McPherson. “I’m just thankful to get on the field and get some playing time.”
A wide receiver and return specialist last season, finishing with approximately 1,000 all-purpose yards, McPhearson has racked up quite the recruiting haul early in the 2016 process, claiming offers from Boston College, Clemson, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wake Forest.
“I’m overjoyed,” said McPhearson. “I’m pretty excited about all these offers coming in right now.”
“Coach Jones liked my game,” said McPhearson. “He liked how I play the game fast. They like my main coverage a lot and how I can make plays on defense.”
McPhearson has been preparing for the transition to cornerback in college by playing the position in 7-on-7 and college camps, as well as trying to get in the minds of the defenders he’s running routes against.
“That’s my key,” said McPhearson. “A lot of wide receivers don’t know that I play wide receiver, too. That’s how I shut all these wide receivers down out here. I know what they’re going to do before they even do it.”
It also helps that McPhearson got a lot of one-on-one opportunities on both sides of the ball this past season, helping add to his comfort level.
“It took me a little while,” he admitted, “but the second game of the season I got really comfortable and it became normal.”
Also a contributor to the school’s baseball team, McPhearson is planning to take some campus visits in the summer. Wisconsin is an option for him, especially since the things in addition to the football program really caught his eye.
“I don’t know a lot, but I know educationally and academically they are tops,” said McPhearson. “They have the major I want to major in, which is commercial real estate.”