CROSBY– We take your Tuesday morning recruiting report up into cabin country, where we chatted with 2021 NFN prospect Connor Zender who is a versatile talent on both sides of the Rangers line. We chatted with Zender about his 2019…
CROSBY– We take your Tuesday morning recruiting report up into cabin country, where we chatted with 2021 NFN prospect Connor Zender who is a versatile talent on both sides of the Rangers line. We chatted with Zender about his 2019 season, what’s on his recruiting trail and much more.
Get to Know Connor Zender
Zender is a large lineman that plays hard nose football on both sides. Zender has the ability to show off his talents in all positions of the offensive and defensive line, as that’s where his versatility comes in. He brings quickness with some power and is agile enough to move around as he has a strong football IQ when it comes to reading plays on both sides of the ball. As for protection, Zender knows he does a solid job projecting his quarterback, blocking for his running backs, and helping lead the way when the Rangers run screenplays. Defensively, Zender’s power, agility, and a strong field sense. What he enjoys most about the positions is the physicality. the pursuit of the ball carrier, and the staredown with the offensive linemen. Offensively, Zender has the mentality to keep hammering away until the whistle blows.
Favorites about Both Lines
Zender’s answer for this question was short, but very to the point as he loves the “physical contact” he gets to have on every play whether he’s pancaking defensive linemen or running down the speedy running backs, the contact does it for Zender.
College Interest/Elevator Pitch
Zender said he’s interested in playing college football and has already started having some conversations with some of the up north programs in Minnesota and North Dakota. One of the ones that has led his contact currently is the Cobbers from Concordia-Moorhead. Others that have sent junior day invites are Valley City State University (ND), Minnesota-Duluth, and University of Jamestown (ND). AS for Zender’s elevator pitch, it went like this to the college coaches out there.
“I am the guy who will show up every day ready to push myself and my teammates in the weight room, on the field, and in the classroom. I bring a positive attitude all the time. I do not give up on anyone and hope that no one gives up on me.”
Improving in 2020
The coaching stay of Crosby-Ironton has pushed Zender to get faster on both sides of the line. “I have been focusing on running, conditioning and strength training in order to accomplish this goal,” Zender told NFN about his offseason training. Zender looks to keep his summer busy with linemen camps with North Dakota State and one of the best programs in the WIAC, in UW-Whitewater. Zender will attend some other linemen camps too, he’s just undecided on where yet.
Zender has had multiple people in his life get him to where he is today as a football player. The three Rangers coaches that have been influential to Zender are Mike Gindorff, Neil Tesdahl, and Bryan Syrstad. Connor also thanks his Grandpa, George, as he too has taught Connor well the mental and physical parts of improving his game on the football field. “They continue to push me and encourage me every day,” Zender said about all his mentors in his life.
Learning His Game from Last Year
The biggest thing Zender took about how he plays the game of football last year was how powerful he is on the football field. Going back to his favorites, Zender’s junior season was when he figured just how much he loved being physical on the field. He learned the disappointment when players don’t keep pushing until the whistle blows, and how many guys quit before the game is over regardless of what the scoreboard says. “Us football players should play at 110% until the clock strikes 0,” Zender said about football players as a whole, which is something he’s right about and coaches at the next level see whether players believe it or not. Obviously, speed and strength are Zender’s go to improvements for the Rangers 2020 season, but he knows in football there’s always something that can be improved whether you’ve done it 1000 times or once.
Some goals, that Zender has is to continue to be a leader even in the offseason and push his teammates to get into the weight room as that’s where you see your spot next season by the time you put in the weight room. As a student, Zender hopes to improve his study habits, which will lead him to better grades today and in his senior year.
You can check out Zender’s Hudl profile here