March 18, 2008

Phoenix lineman ready for big off-season

One of the top offensive line prospects in Arizona this year is Phoenix (Ariz.) Shadow Mountain standout Doug Zismann. A three year varsity player, Zismann was named first team all-state by the Arizona Republic and second team all-region. Zismann is also a star wrestler who finished second in the state in the 4A heavyweight division in each of the last two years.

Arizona State fans are familiar with the talented wrestlers like Dexter Davis taking the skills they acquired from wrestling to the gridiron. Zismann also says that the time he has devoted to wrestling has helped him out.

"I try to not drop weight but it happens with how hard we work," Zismann said. "I lose bad weight but not muscle. In fact I keep getting stronger. I actually hit my max on bench (280 lbs) during the wrestling season."

The 6-foot-2 270-pounder has attracted attention from schools all over the country.

"I have gotten two hand written letters from Colorado and one from Idaho," Zismann said. "Stanford has sent me a bunch of stuff. I just got a letter from ASU a day or two ago about their Sports Medicine program."

Zismann has also received attention from Air Force, Arizona, Army, Boise State, Colorado State, Duke, LSU, Penn State, Purdue, Navy, UConn, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Centers are usually the captains of the offensive line and responsible for the adjustments at the line of scrimmage in terms of pick up blitzing defenders. So it should come as no shock that Zismann is regarded by many as one of the top center prospects in the West when he says that his best attributes are keeping teammates in the game and picking up blitzing linebackers.

A native of Pittsburgh who grew up a Penn State fan, Zismann said three schools stand out to him right now.

"The campus and academics are a real plus at Northwestern," he said. "Colorado looks beautiful and it is close enough to home that I won't get homesick. I would be able to comeback for a weekend or two. ASU because it is right in town. Those would be my top three."

Zismann is spending his time in the weight room in preparation for the 2009 season, in which he expects big things for Shadow Mountain.

"We are looking real good," he said. "On offense our o-line is strong. Two of our starters from last year graduated so we have to bring up some guys from JV. Most of our receivers are back. On defense we have one linebacker who graduated Tyler Hughes who is going to Army. We are looking good. We have a lot of experience coming back and we are working harder than we have the last three years in the weight room."

Zismann, who participated in the Army All-American combine in January, just got back from Chicago where he attended Northwestern's Junior Day. He is expecting a busy off season schedule.

"I am planning on going to at least four camps over the summer but I have not decided on exactly which ones yet," Zismann said. "I know I will be going to the NIKE Camp at USC in April. Our linemen group is going to go to ASU's linemen competition, NAU's linemen competition and the Surprise High School linemen competition."

Zismann said he currently carries a 3.2 GPA and expects to major either in Business or Sports Medicine. While academics are an important factor to him they are not the deciding factor.

"It would not be just one thing that would make up my mind about a college, it would be a combination of things," he said. "Academically I want a college with a good record of graduating athletes. Athletically it needs to be competitive, it can't be the scrub of its division and I would like to hopefully get on the field early by my freshmen or sophomore year."

Zismann, who is planning on visiting ASU's campus this week, is in no hurry to make a decision but has high praise for the Sun Devils.

"I think I will go throw the whole thing and try to enjoy it while it lasts," he said. "Rushing into a commitment would not be the right thing to do. ASU is close to home and Coach Erickson turned their program around last year by going by going undefeated in their first eight games, that was awesome. It's just a great thing because everyone in Phoenix is in to the program so I could be a hometown celebrity."

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