A host of new names are ready to headline the Cretin-Derham Hall football program and that includes 6-foot-2, 278-pound Zach Mottla. Zach is one of the captains of the Raiders and he'll be a three-year starting center. Mottla has added one offer to this point and has much interest.
Some athletes spend their pre-decision time pressing, over estimating their ability, and sometimes panicking about their future choice. But Zach Mottla just does not fit that mold.
"I am not worried about recruiting," said Mottla. "I have options now and just figure I will end up were I am supposed to be."
At 6-foot-2, 278 pounds with a bench of 315 pounds and a squat of 425 Mottla has the physical numbers. Plus his 3.7 grade point average has opened the doors to the Ivy League and other top schools.
"Over the summer I went to a number of camps," Mottla explained. "Iowa, Iowa State, Northwestern, Harvard, and Penn were places I attended. I visited Brown and Boston College as my family is originally from out East so I enjoy the area. All the camps went really well and have spurred a lot of interest.
"Harvard was not for me so I won't be following in Matt Birk's footsteps. I really liked Penn and Brown and they want to see a few more games of me. There is something appealing about an Ivy League education, and my Dad wants me to support him when he is old," said Mottla with humor.
There are also potential major conference chances for the Raider center with fantastic fundamentals and Zach has an offer from a Mountain West school.
"I have an offer from Air Force," Zach stated. "Boston College has offered me as a preferred walk-on, Iowa the same, but things could develop. Northwestern only had 17 spots and wanted two tackles and are very deep at center, but offered me a chance to be on the team as a preferred (walk-on). Iowa State is on going and the offensive line coach said he wants to see how I play this year.
"I always am looking for the team that might need a center. Some schools only want real big guys like the Badgers so that would never be a fit for me. I'm looking more for zone blocking like a spread offense with athletic offensive linemen."
There is opportunity for Mottla and the Raider has plenty of experience. He is a captain and Zach started at center as a sophomore playing seven games that year. Now a senior he will still play exclusively at center for Cretin-Derham Hall and a big part of his career success so far has been with the help of great Raider teachers.
"My line coach is Ray Hitchcock a former captain and center for the Minnesota Gophers who played for the Washington Redskins," Mottla stated. "Another coach is John Alt who played ten plus years for the Kansas City Chiefs as an offensive tackle. I have learned very good fundamentals which coach (Andy) Bischoff (who played in the CFL) and coach Hitchcock taught me. I feel that gives me an edge. I have great coaches!"
Playing on a team with Michael Floyd, John Nance, Shady Salamon, Joe Schafer, and Seantrel Henderson it was easy for the current seniors like Mottla, Marcus Binns, Matt O'Connell and others to get over shadowed in the past. Plus Mottla feels he had a rough start last year before finishing solid against one of the state's elite.
"I was kind of off the radar last year because of deep talent at CDH," said Mottla. "When you play with Mike Floyd, John Nance, Shady, and Schaffer it's hard to get noticed. I also started off a little rough I think. My best game was the state final against Eden Prairie. I went up against Willie Mobley and did very well; I have great tape on that. He was a first class kid."
Coming into the year some are unsure of what Cretin-Derham Hall will do in terms of the state championship picture. With all the division one names moving on the Raiders are a little bit of a question mark in some people's eyes. But the Raiders return Mottla, running back Marcus Binns, fullback and defensive end Matt O'Connell, kicker Michael Pelikan, running back/linebacker Cario Williams, tight end/linebacker Mark Gums, there is a lot of underclassmen talent that is definitely going to surprise this fall, the team has Seantrel Henderson who is considered by some to be the number one prospect in all of 2010, and most importantly a deep and talented coaching staff runs the ship.
"I think a lot of people feel CDH will struggle this year because we lost some talent," said Mottla. "We always reload and coach (Mike) Scanlan knows how to get the most out of the players he has. I plan on enjoying the season and can't wait until the first game."