Player Primer: Zack Tencza

With one FCS offer in hand, Lincoln-Way East’s 2017 DE Zack Tencza has been getting looks from FCS, D2 and D3 schools. I caught up with him to talk being a leader and persevering through injury for the good of the team, schools he’s been in touch with, and his upcoming visits.

You can find Zack on Twitter @ZackTencza.

Zack Tencza

Defensive End
Lincoln-Way East
Frankfort, IL
Ht: 6’5″
Wt: 210 lbs
Class: 2017

Commitment status: Undecided

LPI: You guys finished the season well at 9-3, but fell to eventual state champion Maine South in the 8A playoffs. Now that your season is over, what are you going to do to take your game to the next level?

ZT: This season was a little different for me because in August two a days I tore my labrum in my shoulder, I decided to play through it but now that the season is over, I have a surgery scheduled with about a 4 month recovery ahead of me. I’m going to attack my rehab and work towards getting my body back to where I want it to be to perform at a high level and be ready for my first college camp wherever that ends up being. This offseason will be the most important one I’ve ever had and so i’m going to work harder than I ever have.

LPI:You currently have a roster offer from FCS Valpo. What are your greatest strengths or what can you bring to the table for a college football program?

ZT: The number one thing is speed and physicality off the edge and Coach Vestal, my position coach, has really taught me how to use my speed, flip my hips, and get to the QB. Also I believe I have high “Football IQ” and am a smart player on the field. I love trying to figure out what the other team is going to do by studying film and tendencies. Our coaching staff does a really good job at teaching us how to prepare for teams mentally through film study and repetition in practice.

LPI: Besides Valpo, which schools have shown serious interest in you?

ZT: I have visited Drake university as well as UW Whitewater. I have received interest from a multitude of schools such as Augustana Sioux Falls, Saginaw Valley State, Bentley, Butler, University of Minnesota Duluth, and Minot St.

LPI: Where have you visited most recently and do you have any planned visits coming up?

ZT: I got the opportunity to visit Drake which was a really personal visit, as well as UW Whitewater. Augustana has asked me to come visit as well as a few other schools but I’m not sure where my family and I will take visits to yet.

LPI: On or off the field, how do you demonstrate leadership?

ZT: I’m not the most vocal leader you’ll meet on the football field, but as a senior this year I really tried to focus on helping younger guys in my position group like Devin O’Rourke, Ben Ravetto, and Sam Broda who are upcoming seniors, in anyway I could. Answering scheme questions, giving them ideas on how to attack an O-Lineman, or pointing out tendencies I had noticed studying film. Also, a mentor for me told me leadership is all about the relationships you form with people. So everyday at practice or lifting I’d try to just go talk to someone different about something, and build relationships 1 by 1 with my new teammates from North, as well as the juniors.

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?


Max Shafer – Was the second head to our two headed monster at quarterback this year. He’s been one of my best friends since grade school and has always been a standout athlete and kid. He definitely has the size and talent to play at a high level in college.

Jake Arthur – Came to East this year with a lot of hype surrounding him, and after the first week of camp, I understood why. Jake has a sixth sense about him knowing when then the pressure from the D-Line is coming and has an uncanny ability to escape it, and find an open receiver. Also, if he were a player in “Madden” his “Clutch level” would be at a 99.

Brett Stegmueller – Was our starting middle linebacker this year and I’ve been around very few guys who can match his work ethic and drive in the weight room, practice field, and film room. Great kid with a big heart who just loves the game of football.

Kenny Anderson – Is one of the most athletic kids I’ve ever been around. Hes 6ft 4 and can jump out of the gym. Any ball that’s thrown up has a chance of being caught if Kenny’s nearby. Watch his film and you’ll know what I mean.