Zach Dies: On the road to success
NFA quarterbacks are accepting big-time college offers at a staggering pace these days, and there are plenty more talented athletes making their way toward signing day.
From Brandon McIlwain on the East Coast, to Tommy Stevens in the Midwest, to Quentin Dormady in the Southwest, to Morgan Mahalak on the West Coast, NFA clearly has been making a positive impact across the country.
And don’t forget about Canada.
It’s no longer hockey or bust, and Zach Dies is a prime example of the high quality of football players coming out of Canada.
Dies, who has been attending NFA camps since January of 2013 and is in the prestigious Blackshirt program, played for IDFFL Team Canada in the Midwest Elite 7v7 Tournament in late May. He led his team to an impressive third-place finish in a quality field of 18 teams.
The Midwest Elite tourney was held in Auburn Hills, Mich., and Team Canada competed against some of the top Division I prospects in the nation, including quarterback Alex Malzone, who will play his college football at Michigan.
Dies, a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder, was voted third team All-Offense. He was coached by Anthony Cannon, who played in the NFL with the Detroit Lions.
“Only a sophomore at QB, this young man has the poise of an NCAA quarterback,” Coach Cannon said of Dies. “For Canadian high school football players, one of the biggest challenges of being recruited by major U.S. universities is getting them to see Canadian athletes play against top talent.”
Dies made the most of the showcase opportunity.
“Playing in the All-Midwest tournament was great, and it let me see how good I have to become to play at the next level,” Dies said. “I faced up against a junior D-1 commit (Malzone) who just played at an unbelievable speed. This is where I need to be by the end of my junior year.”
Dies will play for Admiral Farragut in St. Petersburg, Fla., this year.
“My goal for this next season is to help my new team be successful,” Dies said. “I know that I have to compete for the starter job with a senior (Dalton Collins) who is a great guy and leader on the team. I want to get out there and get some reps and learn from Dalton. Hopefully, I fit into my new school and get things rolling quickly. NFA’s values are specifically designed for my situation, when coming into a new environment you have to be passionate about the program, and everyone will follow you when you lead with passion.”
Playing in the Midwest Elite tourney at such a high level can only help Dies prepare for the new challenge at Admiral Farragut. “I feel like playing against the best high school players in America makes me that much more accountable for being the best I can be every time I step on the field,” he said.
Dies also said his experience with NFA has helped make him a better quarterback in the present and a college level talent in the future.
“I am using football as a means to get a good education; I want to get a college scholarship and if I get to do that by playing football, that will be an added bonus,” he said. “NFA has taught me how to properly throw a ball, but most importantly, how to act as proper gentleman and be a man and leader, on and off the field. My two favorite quotes from the NFA coaches are … 68 degrees and breezy and to be great on a Friday night, you need to be great every night.”