East Xtra: Penn-Trafford graduate has key role at Seton Hill

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Tyler Zimmer has received plenty of accolades since he arrived on the Seton Hill University campus after transferring from Duquesne University.

A Penn-Trafford High School graduate, he earned All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-West first team honors in 2013 and was named to the All-West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference first team in 2012 in the school's final year in the West Virginia-based conference.

He has also earned some academic accolades from various organizations. Those honors are nice, but this soft-spoken senior is focused on putting some W's in the win column after two seasons that have yielded just one victory.

"We want to improve in all aspects of the game, offense, defense and special teams," he said. "It's never been about personal accomplishments for me. I'm ready to win, and the coaching staff and my teammates are, too. We want to improve and get some wins this year."

Zimmer had a sound season a year ago at linebacker with a team leading 93 tackles -- 57 were solo and 36 were assisted stops. He believes that he will receive plenty of assistance from his defensive teammates this season.

"Coach [Isaac Collins] did an awesome job bringing in some [junior college transfers] and a great freshman class on both sides of the ball," he said. "Spring ball was good, and we have a lot more to do to prepare [for the season opener next Thursday against Shippensburg]. But it's a huge difference [from last year], and we're ready."

Zimmer said the effort he gave last year is something he hopes will benefit the team.

"Every game I go into -- wherever coach wants me to play -- whether it's special teams or defense, I play with all my heart," he said.

Zimmer said the 55-21 loss to Slippery Rock was his best game individually as he recorded 10 solo tackles and assisted on five others. He also had two tackles for loss and sacked the Slippery Rock quarterback twice. He also intercepted a pass and brought it back 25 yards.

"I had a couple of buddies [who play for Slippery Rock], and in the PSAC there always are a couple of WPIAL players. You know some of them, so it was just a fun game where I was just flying around and having fun. Slippery Rock is a great team, so I know how to step up. I gave it my best and had a decent game."

Zimmer believes the program already has turned the corner heading into the opener with Shippensburg.

"With spring ball and with the new guys who came in, it's a different atmosphere," he said. "It's hard to explain. You just have to be there every day and going through offseason workouts, spring ball and summer workouts.

"We're working hard, and the key is to glorify God, follow the coach's game plan, stay humble and get the job done. We're right there."

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