Q&A with Northmont senior Zebrie Sanders; T-Bolt OT one of nation’s top OL recruits, headed to Michigan this weekend


Northmont’s Zebrie Sanders
The first thing you notice about Northmont senior left tackle, Zebrie
Sanders, is that he is a big man. The second thing you
notice is his obvious intelligence, subtle wit and self-assurance.
With an offer in hand from NCAA champion Florida, he is
taking his time and weighing his college options. MVP interviewed
Sanders and his head coach, Lance Schneider Thursday afternoon in the
film room at Good Samaritan Stadium.

The first thing you notice about Northmont senior left tackle, Zebrie Sanders, is that he is a big man. A very big man. The second thing you notice is his obvious intelligence, subtle wit, and self-assurance. With a full-ride in hand from the NCAA champion Florida Gators, he is taking his time and weighing his college options. MVP interviewed Sanders and his head coach, Lance Schneider Thursday afternoon in the film room at Good Samaritan Stadium.

MVP: “Ohio State fans would kill me if I didn’t ask you a few seemingly obvious questions. I’m sure you’ve heard them before, so humor me if you would. The word is that the Buckeyes haven’t offered but are interested in you. Left-tackles are a premium position.”

“There aren’t very many around, not that play like he does.”

MVP: “Where do you stand vis a vis the Buckeyes?”

Sanders: “They give me tickets to all of their home games and they still send me mail, but I think one of the reasons they haven’t offered me yet is that they have Mike Adams at left tackle, J.B. Shugarts at left tackle, and they have Michael Brewster. So they already have three big time offensive linemen committed. I think they are going to hold off for a while and get some other players, like cornerbacks and halfbacks and then come back when they know what they have. They told me that I am next in line.”

MVP: “Does that include Jenkins?”

“Oh, yes sir. I think Jenkins is going to be a center anyway, so they’re not really..”

MVP: “So, it is not either or..”

Sanders: “No.”

MVP: “I’ve been an admirer of your junior season highlight film for quite awhile. You do so many things right. In pass protection you have a very quick first step. You get out of your stance and into position in a hurry. Someone would have to be pretty quick to beat you. Where did you learn to play like that?”

Sanders: “I went to the Rising Senior camp at Southern Cal this year and the coaches helped me out on my pass step and how to get up quicker. I learned a lot at the University of Georgia camp, and my coaches here at Northmont help me, too. I’ve not seen the film.”

“That’s all well and good, but this film is from last year. Here you go, [ see this free link: http://scoutingoh.com/zebrie_sanders_clayton_northmont.htm ], check it out. Someone has taught you well.”

Sanders: “I didn’t even like football until I came to Northmont, and I didn’t play until I got in the seventh grade. I didn’t move to the offensive line until the ninth grade. I learned a lot from my coaches. I learned a lot from watching television, too. I watch a lot of football. I root for Georgia and I also root for the Eagles.”

MVP: “I used to like the Eagles, but I thought they were better with Joe Walsh.”

Schneider: “Yeah.”

MVP: “Didn’t your family want you to play football? You wouldn’t have to be Knute Rockne to take a look at you and say: football player.”

Sanders: “I couldn’t stand sports. My Dad was surprised one day when I came home from school and I told him I wanted to play football. He was just shocked. He knew I was big and I did karate and stuff, so they would send me to basketball camp. I hated basketball, too. My Mom is still upset that I chose football over basketball.”

(General laughter).

MVP: “Another thing I admire about how the coaches use you is that you pull a lot. You are really something moving in space.”

Schneider: “We do schemes like that maybe a third of the time. The guard next to him, Matt Prichard, is a really good trap blocker. We can wrap Zebrie around him and attack a linebacker. They are both very good at it.”

MVP: “Everyone has a guy that can crush people, you are that guy on your team there’s no doubt about that. But you are different. You direct your victims out of the way and then you cream them. There is very little debris lying around for your ball carriers to deal with.”

Sanders: “Ha, ha! (smiles and points at Coach Schneider).”

MVP: “I see that you have a 3.4. That’s pretty good. How are you doing with the NCAA clearinghouse?”

“I cleared before I took my official visit to the University of Florida. I’m all set with my ACT and SAT, too. I’m going to take the ACT again in order to get a 27 and maybe an honors appointment. Florida was great. Everything that I thought a university should be, someplace I wanted to go, they had it. It was a big campus, and everybody loved football. Everybody seemed to know me. Fans would yell, ‘Zebrie! Zebrie! We want you to come here! We want you to play football in Florida!’ I got to talk to Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin and all of their players and coaches. Talking to coach (Urban) Meyer was awesome.”

“You grew up a Georgia fan..”

“I really didn’t grow up a Georgia fan. I was born in South Carolina; my mom went to Georgia. So, early on, the only thing I knew about football was the Georgia Bulldogs, and ‘Georgia-bait’ and ‘Dawg-food’. I didn’t know anything about Ohio State or Michigan because, you know, they were ‘Dawg-food.’

“Who do you favor at this time?”

“Florida. Georgia. I like UCLA. I know that I am still going to take an official to LSU. I still like Ohio State and Michigan, in fact I am going up to Michigan’s campus on Saturday for an unofficial when they play Eastern. I’ve been to Los Angeles already, for the Southern Cal summer camp. It’s nice.”

“What are you going to study in school.”


“What are your measurables?”

Schneider: “He runs a 5.3 (40-yard), and has a 27” vertical.”

“But those are from early February.”

“Coach, what is the process like when someone like this comes into your program?”

“In Zebrie’s case it started for us in his sophomore year. They got tape of him early and they got feelers out late in that year, in May. They would come through to look at Kurt Coleman (starting strong safety for Ohio State and Northmont graduate) and I’d point him out and say, ‘That’s my next big guy.’ Seventy-seven schools have been through since last May, and it gets tiring after a while. At some point a coach has to become a buffer because a kid simply can’t go everywhere. It’s his decision. It’s his life. He has to live it. All I can do is get his name out there and help him make the best decision for him and his family.”

“But you play so many roles as a coach. For instance, if I were on your team you’d have to shop me pretty darn hard in order to get me a scholarship..”

“We have four or five other kids that have a legitimate chance. Some have to take care of some schoolwork. Other kids are having great senior years and you hope some MAC school or someone will get on them down the road. Right now, they are asking if some of our kids are still available, and that, too, is part of the process.”

“What are your goals for Zebrie?”

“You want to see the kid get better every time he steps out on the field, so that when he does go play at the next level he is ready to go. We have Kurt Coleman starting at safety for Ohio State. He came through this program and was coached well. They both were. When Zebrie decides where he will go they will give him an off season program and then it will be up to him to follow it and to do those things that are necessary for him to be ready when he gets on campus.”

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