When you walk on the field every Friday night for Rossville, Kan., you know you're part of something special.
The small school in Kansas has one of the state's best football traditions and it's something that 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive end Duane Zlatnik takes very seriously. And it's that tradition of greatness and Zlatnik's talent that has the college coaches taking him seriously, too.
"It's pretty awesome to play here at Rossville," Zlatnik said. "You know you have to keep the tradition alive and keep the winning up every year. We had a down year this year, but we made it to the bi-regionals. We have bigger goals for next year."
And Zlatnik will be a big part of achieving those goals.
Zlatnik is one of the top prospects in the class of 2008 in Kansas. He led his team in touchdown receptions at tight end as a junior with nine, but he projects on the defensive side of the ball. He's also a heck of a wrestler. He won 3-1A State in wrestling in the 285 weight class with a record of 41-0, and he also won state as a sophomore with a 38-2 record.
"I played most of the season with a hurt right shoulder," he said. "I separated it in a game against St. Mary's and then I dislocated it in the next game. I had to play through a lot of pain."
That toughness is something that college coaches love. While he doesn't have an offer yet, but that'll change soon enough.
"I'm getting a lot of interest from Kansas State and Kansas," Zlatnik, who will be attending the Rivals.com Junior Day in Columbia, Mo., this weekend, said. "I just talked with Clint Bowen at Kansas. I called him and he said they're close to offering me a scholarship. They said they really liked me at defensive and wanted me to get up there to KU and check it out."
And if KU offers, it might be tough for him to turn down.
"I was and still am a KU fan," Zlatnik said. "It's pretty sweet to hear that they're very interested in you."