With Ziggy Ansah putting up eye popping numbers in the NFL combine right now, it's fitting that 2014 DE BYU commit Zac Dawe tell Cougar fans about his own personal results. He's no Ziggy Ansah, but on the bench press, he's only one rep below him. Zac Dawe, as a junior in high school, matched one of the defensive linemen in the NFL combine on the bench press, and out-benched three other defensive linemen. His 4.9 40 time doesn't put him too far behind Manti Te'o or some of the other defensive ends in the combine, but if he can reach his goal of a 4.7, then he will be well on his way to being a star for the BYU Cougars.
Dawe is accustomed to star-dom, as an All-American heavyweight wrestler and the top heavyweight wrestler in the western United States, he is no stranger to victory and dominance. One problem he has faced ever since Brandon Fanaika graduated from Pleasant Grove, has been finding somebody that can challenge him on a daily basis.
"In practice Brandon Fanaika was my biggest competitor and helped me get better. He played guard for Pleasant Grove two years ago and he signed with Stanford. We went at it every day, I was a sophomore when he was a senior, he helped me get better and I helped him get better and we became really good friends throughout the process and we pushed each other. He helped me out a ton, and I never gave up because he's a stud."
He works out with his older brother Parker who recently walked on with the Cougars and will likely be trying out at center. Last week Zac decided to join Parker at BYU, where competition will abound.
"I got the offer a couple of weeks before, probably around the first of February. I committed 3 or 4 weeks after they offered. I did a lot of praying and researching of the different colleges that I'm interested in and I did a lot of thinking and preparing for the future and the decision that I wanted to make."
"BYU is just a great overall school, the football program, the schooling and just the spiritual aspect of it. I'm LDS so it was just a great fit for me, and I just loved the spiritual side of it. Everybody is so happy all over campus, so that's why I chose BYU. Coach Mendenhall is such an outstanding guy, he's so awesome and so cool, he's so caring of you as an individual. He just wants you to reach your full potential, so I really want to play for him. All of the other coaches at BYU are amazing, every single one of them are all super nice. My brother plays for BYU, he just walked on, so I had a chance to go down and watch him play and there are a ton of hard workers on the team, and a lot of the kids on the team are cheerful and happy and are super hard working kids so I feel like I need to be at BYU."
BYU's scheme is also a great fit for Zac who plays defensive end in his high school's 3-4 defense. Zac is an excellent run stopping 3-4 defensive end and will have the opportunity to play in what will likely still be one of the nation's top 25 defenses. If Zac continues to add to his 6-foot-4, 265-pound frame, and gets into the 300-pound range, then he could use his strength to be an excellent defensive tackle, or even transition to the offensive line where he also plays at Pleasant Grove.
"I prefer defense, but if they need me to play offensive line I'll be willing to, whatever gets me on the field."
"They said that they like that I use a lot of leverage, and that I don't give up on plays, and that I always hustle to the ball. That's what Coach Mendenhall said."
Leverage and hustle, that might sound familiar to any wrestlers out there...
"Wrestling has been a huge part of my hand fighting and aggressiveness that I use on the defensive line, and the offensive line."
The Cougar coaching staff weren't the only ones that were interested in bringing Dawe's technique, skill, strength, speed and size to their football program.
"I started off a BYU fan growing up, but then I went back and forth between BYU and Utah, and Utah State a little bit. I just didn't really know, I was a pretty firm BYU fan until I was about 10 years old, then I started going to all of the different football camps, and I didn't have a favorite team."
"BYU was my first offer, but I was talking to Utah and Utah State. I just decided that BYU was the best place for me to be and the best place where I could grow physically and spiritually. I feel like Utah was pretty close to offering, I was going to go to a couple of their camps, but I'll probably just go to the BYU camps and maybe a couple of the other camps. I was talking to Utah's recruiting coach, and they were saying that they were really interested in me, along with Utah State, so it was really hard to choose, but when I looked at my priorities and what I really wanted in life, it was an easy decision for me."
"A huge thing was my education, I wanted to go to a place where I could get a good degree so I could get a good job when I'm older. The second priority was the campus and the style of living. I'm LDS so I wouldn't want to do a whole lot of partying, because that's not what I'm about. So I wanted to choose a school that had some morals and standards, so that's why BYU was the right school for me, because of all of the standards and honor code that they have in place."
Before enrolling Zac is going to serve a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and teach those same standards that BYU upholds.
"I think my mission will make me a ton better as a football player and a man, so I need to go out and serve."
It will be a few years before Zac gets a chance to take the field at Lavell Edwards Stadium, but if he gets a ton better than he already is now, then he'll see the field plenty.
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