East Xtra: Greensburg Central Catholic safety commits to Akron
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One of the most notable aspects of Zach Guiser's high school football career involves his takeaways.
What he took away from a college visit to the University of Akron helped him make a decision he's quite happy with.
A Greensburg Central Catholic safety who resides in the borough of Newell in Fayette County, Guiser last week made a verbal commitment to attend and play football at Akron.
Guiser has 16 interceptions in three seasons since he became a starter as a freshman for Greensburg Central Catholic. He chose the Zips over his other finalists -- Kent, Temple and Delaware.
"Whenever I went there on a visit, everything felt right," Guiser said. "It felt like the right place for me. The facilities are top-notch, the campus is fabulous and it's pretty local -- just two-and-a-half hours away.
"They have a tremendous coaching staff. Me and [safeties coach Mike Woodford], we have a strong relationship. And just the prestige of the rest of the coaches, too "
Akron head coach Terry Bowden is the son of former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden and once led Auburn to an undefeated season.
Associate head coach/defensive coordinator Chuck Amato used to be the head coach at North Carolina State, leading it to a No. 12 final ranking in 2002.
"He went on a lot of visits," Centurions coach Muzzy Colosimo said. "That's the place he felt the most comfortable."
In addition to being one of the WPIAL's top defensive backs (he moved to free safety this past season after playing as a cornerback as a freshman and sophomore), Guiser also averaged 10 yards per carry as a running back (and sometimes a slot receiver) on offense. He had 599 rushing yards and scored nine touchdowns.
Colosimo said Guiser, 6 feet 1, 195 pounds, has been clocked at 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He compared Guiser to former GCC and Penn State player Nick Sukay, except that Sukay was taller.
"[Guiser] is a really good player," Colosimo said. "I think he can succeed wherever he went because his work ethic is unbelievable. He doesn't miss weight room, he doesn't miss a training session ... He's done great at both [cornerback and safety]. I think his speed, 4.46 at the Temple camp, opened a lot of eyes.
"Every ball that goes in the air, he expects to pick it ... He closes gaps quickly. I think he can succeed at Akron."
One place Guiser appears to immediately be able to help is with interceptions. The Zips finished dead last among 120 Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams with two interceptions in 12 games last season.
Guiser showed a proficiency in interceptions as a freshman, when he had eight.
"When that ball goes up in the air, he believes it's his," Colosimo said. "He catches the ball very well, and I think that he's not afraid to cover anybody. So when we have to match him up with somebody's best player, we don't have a problem doing that."
Guiser, a prospective kinesiology major in college, said he relies on instinct to read a quarterback.
"Whenever a quarterback drops back to pass in high school, they telegraph where they're going with the ball, so it's really easy to know where it's going," Guiser said. "It's just a matter of getting there and making the play; that's all you have to deal with."
Colosimo said Guiser sustained a leg injury during spring track season while running a sprint and has been easing back into full-speed workouts.
Committing before his senior season begins should allow Guiser to devote his time to more important things than a college choice.
"It's a big relief to know where I'm going so I know where I'm going for the next four years of my life," Guiser said. "Now I can focus on winning a state championship with my squad.
"I really don't have any personal accolades that I want -- just a team championship. A state championship."
First Published July 6, 2012 12:00 am