Huntley’s 2017 OG Austin Zeis has been in the mix with D2 and powerhouse D3 programs. We talked him leading on and off the field, schools showing serious interest in him and his underrated teammates.
You can find Austin on Twitter @ZeisAj.
Wt: 315 lbs
Commitment status: Undecided
LPI: You guys finished the season very well at 8-4, but fell to powerhouse Loyola in the 8A playoffs. Now that your season is over, what are you going to do to take your game to the next level?
AZ: Well here in Huntley there is a powerlifting coach, Gary Swanson. He and I go to his gym all the time now that the season is over. He helps all of us Huntley athletes out because his son, Dom Swanson, graduated last year and now plays football at UW- Whitewater. We do all the olympic lifts and auxiliaries based on what muscle.
LPI:You’re sitting on roster offers from D3 Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Wisconsin-La Crosse, Coe, Benedictine, Loras, and Wabash to name a few. What are your greatest strengths or what can you bring to the table for a college football program?
AZ: Well obviously it all starts with my size, 6’5 315 lbs, and that is just something you cannot teach an athlete. So I have always been setup for success due to my size, I have built strength over the years and the skill to bully kids on the field but also I am that kind of teammate where when things get dark I don’t turn my head and point fingers. Yes, I try to address the mistakes but five seconds later I am making a plan to fix that mistake so it does not happen again in the game, practice, or school.
LPI: Besides the schools that have offered you, which schools have you kept in contact with the most? Or which schools have shown interest in you?
AZ: I have been in close contact with UW-Eau Claire, Augustana, and North Central. Schools that have shown interest are mostly Divison 2 like Upper Iowa, Winona State, Saint Anselm and Findlay.
LPI: Where have you visited most recently and do you have any planned visits coming up?
AZ: My most recent visits were Benedictine, Carthage and Augustana with my teammate Carter Beaudette. Also, sometime in January, I will at UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-Eau Claire, Monmouth, and North Central. So I’m trying to stay busy on those weekends since I am looking for a home for four years.
LPI: On or off the field, how do you demonstrate leadership?
AZ: Well, this past winter our old head coach had left, John Hart, and returned back to Indiana. So myself and two other teammates (Andrew Pertzborn and Tony Bucaro) and our Defensive Line Coach, Brad Aney, got together and made an entire offseason plan. In those first two weeks we maybe had 10 or 11 kids there lifting with us. So we campaigned to more kids out and by the end of the month we got 40 to 50 guys in the weight room. Also, in the early mornings of March and April our football program has “Raider Olympics” and I was selected captain by fellow teammates and I lead to a first place finish out of 10 teams, no joking.
LPI: Who are some of your teammates that you believe have a chance to play at the next level, but may be getting overlooked by college coaches?
AZ: Well nearly any kid who starts for Huntley football can play at some level of college football. We play in the third hardest conference in Illinois, so if you get to march on the field wearing Huntley red and black, you can play ball. But some mentionable recruits here would be LB/DL Senior Tony Bucaro, this kid played four different positions on defense in our 12 games this season. You want to talk about versatility, that kid has it all. Freshman year he played o-line, center. Sophomore year and Junior Year he play fullback and linebacker then Senior year he was at Mike then Will then Sam the DE and DT. There is also Justin Domingo. He is only 5’10 275 lbs but this kid can play some offensive line. This kid may have the most pancakes in one season starting at Huntley. He is just very under recruited just because of his size.