To say San Pedro (Calif.) offensive lineman Zack Heberer has come a long way in the last year is a major understatement. From a virtual unknown, undersized lineman to maturing in to one of the most dominant lineman in the region and landing a scholarship from the nation's top program, it's good to be Heberer these days.
We first saw Heberer the summer following his sophomore year at the 2004 SoCal Nike Camp. The lineman measured in at 6-2.5, 231 pounds, ran a 5.34 in the 40, 5.19 in the shuttle, jumped 21 inches in the vertical and did 18 reps on the bench. We normally don't allow underclassmen to attend the Nike camps but did a favor for his trainer who swore up and down that Heberer was a freak athlete and would blow us away.
Well, he didn't as we saw a lineman who looked too small and not athletic enough to ever develop into a major Div I prospect. Over the next year, Heberer worked on his body and trained harder than any player we had ever seen. We liked his junior film and invited him back to the Nike camp once again this year.
In just one year, Heberer went from an average looking 230 pounds to a rock solid 6-4, 270 pound lineman who ran a 5.14 electronic time in the 40 (the 5.34 the year before was a hand time), jumped 27 inches in the vertical and did 34 reps on the bench. At USC's rising senior camp, Heberer was so impressive, he was offered a scholarship by the two time national champions and committed just about on the spot.
"Yeah, it's been a great year for me," Heberer said. "I never knew all this would happen but it just goes to show what hard work can do. I always had good feet and balance from surfing all those years but I had problem putting the weight on. Once I started lifting really hard and running a lot, my body just changed. I felt myself growing and getting stronger. This year, has been a lot fun for me because I'm playing both ways and have been able to just physically dominate every one I've gone up against."
Heberer said he couldn't remember how many pancake blocks he has this year but said it was almost one on every running play. He also has several sacks at defensive tackle despite constant double teams. He was rewarded for his outstanding season recently by accepting an offer to play in the CaliFlorida Bowl.
"I went down to USC last weekend and the coaches pulled me aside and said half jokingly, 'now remember, you're still coming here as a offensive lineman right.' That's my position and I love offensive line. I feel most comfortable there and I'm hoping to work hard enough to get in to the playing rotation right away."
If all it takes is hard work, we wouldn't put anything past Heberer.
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