Zak Tait, 6-4, 300 pound offensive guard from Knoxville-Catholic (Tenn.) hopes a full recovery in 2008 will help him be one of the best offensive linemen in the nation in 2009. Tait, who was originally a prospect in the class of 2009, is taking a hardship after major knee surgery. He explained, "Actually about a year ago we had a mid season game and early in the first quarter I was playing defense and a pile landed on my knee awkwardly and tore three ligaments in my knee and dislocated my knee. I had to have surgery that night to repair one of the three ligaments."
The process to get back to walking was filled with challenges along the way. Tait commented, "I was in a wheelchair for a while, after that a walker, and after that crutches. Knowing that I was going to have a second surgery I went for a hardship, which is basically like a medical red shirt, so I sat out the rest of last school year because I couldn't walk and I had a second surgery early in February." He added, "After the second surgery I started walking then jogging."
This season will be one that Tait will have watch from the sidelines in order to keep eligibility for the 2009 season. He said, "I have to sit out throughout the entire season. I will be back and able to practice in the spring." As far as his rehabilitation he reported, "I really push myself as hard as I can. At the same time I know my limits in rehab. I listen to my coaches, my trainers, and my doctors and I just do it as hard as I can."
Tait has come to grips with his progress and ability to get back to full strength. He said of being able to play right now physically, "I would like to think so, but the answer is no. I am not able to but I know I will be ready by spring." At the moment his positive attitude has been very uplifting and helped his determination to thrive. He explained, "I know Alabama is waiting for me to get back on the field and I expect that. I don't expect many coaches to think that I'm going to be as good as I used to be but I have 100% faith in myself to prove everyone wrong."
The Crimson Tide really seems to have a big time genuine interest. Tait said, "Alabama has always shown a great amount of interest in me and I've always shown a great amount of interest in them. I really like what Coach Saban is doing down there. I really like their offensive line coach."
He reported of other schools interested, "Georgia recently has sent some mail and media guides. Florida State has been sending a lot of mail. Past that it is a variety of schools. Oregon has been sending a lot of mail, Arizona State, and LSU is also consistent with mail."
As a prospect from Knoxville-Catholic (Tenn.), home to current Notre Dame starter Harrison Smith, fans would expect the Irish to take a look at Tait. He said of the Irish, "Notre Dame has sent some mail here and there. They do send mail once a week. I do have an interest in them, but I am still waiting to see how the new recruits play and how everything winds up down there."
The rehabilitation process should give Tait an idea if he will be able to make it to any combines this winter. He has expressed interests, "I am hoping to hit a couple of combines." His hopes are to show he still maintains a 5.1 second time in the 40 yard dash at his commanding size of 6-4, 300 pounds. Tait listed schools he has an interest in as, "I'm interested in Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Notre Dame, Florida, and Michigan because I really enjoy the way Coach Rodriguez coaches."
For right now Tait is a big time prospect for fans to begin watching for in 2009 as one of the top prospects in Tennessee and possibly the Southeast. The combine circuit will really help shed a light on Tait and his abilities.