Emotional and eye-opening. That’s how Prior Lake’s Zach Whaley described his personal experience of being a Division I recruit. Whaley is one of the top interior defensive linemen in Minnesota, and was slotted No. 53 in Northstar Football News’ most…
Emotional and eye-opening.
That’s how Prior Lake’s Zach Whaley described his personal experience of being a Division I recruit. Whaley is one of the top interior defensive linemen in Minnesota, and was slotted No. 53 in Northstar Football News’ most recent Class of 2018 prospect rankings.
“I’m trying to enjoy the process, but will be happy when it’s over,” said Whaley via email.
Whaley’s been taking visits to Division I schools around throughout the spring and had coaches from various programs watch him workout at Prior Lake. He began the camp circuit in June, competing at both Minnesota and Iowa’s linemen-only camp. He said he has been hearing from more than a dozen D1 schools.
“Just about every school I have visited has not disappointed myself or my parents as far as the schools and athletic program,” said Whaley, who’s undecided about a potential major or career path in college.
Although Whaley played mostly defensive tackle for the Lakers, the 6-foot-4, 285-pounder is being recruited mostly as an offensive lineman by schools at both the FBS and FCS level.
Whaley received his first scholarship offer from FCS program Stephen F. Austin in early June.
“I was smiling ear-to-ear. That was a great night for myself and my family.” Whaley said. “It was a goal I set back in 10th grade.”
Whaley recorded almost 30 tackles last season, including a career-high nine in the Lakers’ opening-round playoff win over Woodbury. He said he’s forgone a lot of his other hobbies and interests to concentrate on football, knowing this is his last season at Prior Lake.
“My complete focus has been on all aspects of football: lifting, technique or academic,” Whaley said. “I train just about every weekend with my brothers at our home gym– a power room in the third stall of our garage.”
He said he’s been working the hardest on improving his physical attributes and credited the Prior Lake coaching staff and its strength and conditioning program for helping him develop athletically.
Along with Whaley, coach Matt Gegenheimer and Lakers return the likes of Jordan Johnson and Preston Jelen from their 6-4 squad last fall.
“We have a great group coming back this year and we have a lot of confidence,” Whaley said. ““I’m going to do everything in my power to be an impact player in every game [next season]. I want our team to win state!”