TE Zach Gordon picks Wake Forest over Stanford

Zach

Carrollton TE Zach Gordon placed third in the discus at the state championship track meet in May (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

Zach Gordon, who is considered by some to be Georgia’s No. 1 college football prospect at tight end, committed to Wake Forest on Friday.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder from Carrollton High School picked Wake Forest over Stanford among his 17 offers, which also included Kentucky, Virginia and South Florida.

“When I made my decision, I took football completely out of the equation,” Gordon told the AJC. “I thought to myself, ‘Which school would I like to be at, even if I wasn’t playing football?’ That’s what it came down to. And that’s why I picked Wake Forest. It’s that gut feeling you get when you know it’s right. Once I stepped on the Wake Forest campus, I got the feeling in my heart that it was the right place for me.”

Georgia has three tight ends that are candidates to be ranked No. 1 at the position — Gordon, Colquitt County’s Ty Smith (committed to UGA) and Buford’s Kurt Freitag (undecided).

“Zach is probably the best blocking tight end I’ve ever coached in 26 years,” Carrollton coach Rayvan Teague said. “I mean, he just dominates people along the line of scrimmage.”

Teague recalled last year’s season opener when Gordon was matched up against Allan Carson, the 6-foot, 330-pound defensive tackle from Oxford (Ala.) High School who later signed with Tennessee. “Zach weighed about 220 pounds last year when we played that game, and he pancaked [Carson] about four times.

“They just don’t come any better at tight end than Zach Gordon. He’s a prototypical blocker that you can flex out to catch the football. He doesn’t have wide receiver speed, but he 6-5 running a 4.8 in the 40-yard dash with good hands. He could play football for any college in the country, without a doubt.”

What about UGA and Georgia Tech? Gordon said he never really had any serious contact with either but has no complaints. “I am very blessed with the opportunities I have,” Gordon said. “I couldn’t ask for a better fit for me both athletically and academically than Wake Forest.”

Gordon has a 3.8 GPA and aspires to be a school teacher and football coach. “I feel like my football coaches have had such a big and positive impact in my life that I would like do the same for other kids one day.”

Perhaps most impressive for his young age, Gordon is heavily involved with his church and community. For the last 5-6 years, he has volunteered with a community outreach program under the direction of his mother at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church. “I’m like the ‘carrying man,’” Gordon said with a laugh. “Whatever they need delivered around town or to the food shelter, I carry it around in the back of my truck.”

Zach Gordon has been volunteering to help kids in his community, including the delivering of supplies, for the last 5-6 years (Special)

Zach Gordon has been volunteering to help kids in his community, including the delivering of supplies, for the last 5-6 years (Special)

Gordon delivers “backpacks of snacks” to children of lower-income families so they can be assured of food over the weekend. He also helps tutor elementary kids in an after-school program. “That’s just the way my family raised me, making me passionate about helping others,” Gordon said. “It gives you a good feeling to be able to do things like that.”

Note: Through covering high school sports, I am fortunate to meet hundreds of kids every year, and there are always a small handful that make you say “Wow, they really have it together.” Zach Gordon is certainly one from this year. What about football? I think you can make a strong case for Zach as the state’s No. 1 tight end. He plays for one of the Georgia’s top high school programs under one of the state’s most successful veteran coaches. Zach immediately passes the eyeball test with his towering physique. I’ve seen most of the state’s top offensive linemen (linemen and tight ends), and the only 2012 prospect I can think of with a comparable body frame is Cedar Grove offensive tackle Brandon Greene, who is committed to Alabama. Tall, lean and not much baby fat. Surprisingly for a tight end (they all want the rock thrown to them), Zach loves blocking, which is music to the ears of any college coach. He is a proven commodity as a player with his performances on the football field during last year’s march to the state championship game. Don’t let the church/community outreach thing fool you; Zach is mean and nasty between the lines. He has had a tremendous growth spurt over the last six months. He seems to have an overwhelming amount of intangibles with his leadership, academic excellence, and high character. He reminds me a lot of outstanding student-athletes like UGA’s Chris Burnette (valedictorian candidate at Troup High School in 2009) and James Vaughters (4.0 GPA at Tucker High School and signed with Stanford last February).

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97 comments Add your comment

RambleOn84

July 29th, 2011
1:02 pm

Sounds like he has his priorities straight…and he is going to play for one of the best coaches in the country.
Best of luck from this Tech fan!

Dawg Whisperer

July 29th, 2011
1:04 pm

He sounds like a winner to me!

George Stein

July 29th, 2011
1:08 pm

Agreed, Ramble. It would be difficult to offer criticism if he chose Stanford, UVA, or Wake.

JB

July 29th, 2011
1:08 pm

Looks like a great young man. Best of luck to you. With Rome from Valdosta in Athens, Dawgs will have a dry spell at TE for a year or so.

collegeballfan

July 29th, 2011
1:09 pm

If you are ever in the Winston-Salem area drive through the Wake campus.

rduck

July 29th, 2011
1:10 pm

can’t help but wish him well and hope he has a great career at a great school. wise young man IMO…

U

July 29th, 2011
1:15 pm

Best of luck to this kid. But I don’t necessarily agree that it’s a good idea to take football “completely out of the equation” when you’re a football player being given a scholarship to play football at your chosen school. To each his own…

docdawg

July 29th, 2011
1:23 pm

With his mother and father, he is a can’t miss top notch player, will succeed in whatever he wants. Congrats.

Outside Observer

July 29th, 2011
1:26 pm

This is a kid with his head on straight. Best of luck to him at Wake. He will make a great coach, be a great teacher, and be an outstanding leader for many young people in the future. I wish there were more like him in this country.

bawbie

July 29th, 2011
1:33 pm

fire Rodney Gardner now!

George Stein

July 29th, 2011
1:33 pm

Y’all better be throwing to OC 12 times a game, JB, or Bobo should be fired. That’s the guy on your offense that terrifies me. He’s a constant matchup problem because of size, speed, and hands.

CMR Titanic

July 29th, 2011
1:33 pm

hurry! rearrange those deck chairs!

Corn fed

July 29th, 2011
1:37 pm

Now thats a corn fed player that UGA let get away……. buh bye Mark Richt and Bozo the clown!

JB

July 29th, 2011
1:42 pm

George, you are correct. with the lack of “proven” talent in Athens at WR, and him and and Murray being teammates from Plant City in Florida, look for Murray to make O. Charles a #1 draft pick. I bet he catch’s 60-70 balls this year and 12 TD’s, which would make the best TE in America. He is a freak. and like 4.6 speed.

P_The_Ricker

July 29th, 2011
1:43 pm

Do you guys read the articles? UGA already has a commit at TE from an in-state kid.

The kid has size and obviously a great work ethic based off his GPA and extra curricular activities. Be it at football or a profession outside the lines, he’ll likely be a success story.

slydog

July 29th, 2011
1:49 pm

Good Luck Kid. He looks like a grown man.

slydog

July 29th, 2011
1:55 pm

Now notice all of these positive accolades for the player above. Why couldn’t Joe Harris and his mother receive the same respect? I suspect I already know the answer. I didn’t accuse anyone individually. The point being, when we expect greatness, we may well get it. When we expect a criminal history, you may well get that also. Why can’t players who look nothing like the one above receive the same high expectations and not be called an idiot, stupid , or illiterate.

Dawginit.

July 29th, 2011
1:59 pm

Maybe if Dan Reeves was the coach we’d take another TE, but we’re stacked as it is. I wish you the best of luck at Wake, especially when you play Tech.

Dawginit.

July 29th, 2011
2:04 pm

slydog, what’s your point? The above kid has gone out of his way to help those in need. How would we know if Joe Harris or anyone who doesn’t “look” like the above kid does if it’s not in the article.

Poopdawg

July 29th, 2011
2:16 pm

Slydog being sly. What the heck are you talking about ?Congratulations Zach.

ATL Sports Fan

July 29th, 2011
2:16 pm

What I’m curious to know, why is Paul Johnson letting a kid like this get away? Come on AJC, this kid has the grades to go to Tech and obviously talent (best TE blocker his coach has seen), so why is their not a negative article about Tech missing out on this kid?

docdawg

July 29th, 2011
2:19 pm

Slydog, It has nothing to do with looks. Deeds make the man.

icallbs

July 29th, 2011
2:22 pm

Great story…we desperately need more kids like this. Wake is a great school. I have a daughter that graduated from Wake a year ago. It is beautiful. Go Dawgs and Deacs!

dawggone

July 29th, 2011
2:23 pm

atl sports fan, just a guess, but maybe it’s because ga. tech doesn’t use a tight end in it’s offense.

Mark Richt scouting report

July 29th, 2011
2:28 pm

Mark Richt: Who cares if Cam Newton was the #1 NFL pick at QB and won the Heisman Trophy? Me and my boy wonder talent evaluator Bobo thought he would be a good tight end. Doh!

Douglas

July 29th, 2011
2:39 pm

UGA already has plenty of TE’s. Of course, I would have liked to have had this guy but he sounds like a great young man. Good luck at Wake Forest!

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

July 29th, 2011
2:57 pm

How in the world can you compare gt campus to WF!? {”:}

Eastside Jacket

July 29th, 2011
3:00 pm

Best of luck to this kid. He sounds like a good one.

And Atl Sports Fan, Paul Johnson doesn’t recruit ANY tight ends. He doesn’t have one on his team because his offense doesn’t use one. If Tech signed him they’d have to turn him into a guard or tackle and I doubt this kid would want that.

Why

July 29th, 2011
3:02 pm

Why don’t you just say the school and stop with this conference crap.

Ked

July 29th, 2011
3:04 pm

orson isn;’t half the receiver aj was.

esaun

July 29th, 2011
3:18 pm

Sly dog you not suggesting; not in GA. Does seem as one characteristic will always get you the thug labeled even when you show loyalty and choose to represent the home state. sly dog = no sugarcoating

BigTimeTechFan

July 29th, 2011
3:21 pm

GT has offered Kent Taylor, the number 1 ranked TE out of Florida, who excelled at Florida’s Friday night lights.

UGA is recruiting him also

But he’s only like 220 pounds, so CJP may be looking at him as WR.
UF, Alabama, Penn State, LSU and Georgia are his top 5

BigTimeTechFan

July 29th, 2011
3:23 pm

Would like to seen Tech go after Zach Gordon, would be nice WR for Tech. Loves to block and can catch the ball

cleveland

July 29th, 2011
3:26 pm

@slydog … I understand your point very well. It’s a matter of self confidence. People who tend to put others down don’t fell good about themselves. Joe Harris seems like a good kid with a good head on his sholders and didn’t deserve all of the critics that jumped on him they way the comments showed when he announced his choice.

TampaGator

July 29th, 2011
3:32 pm

Seriously…..this kid is a breath of fresh air….and he certainly has his priorities in the correct order. Wake….great school….great education….and they also have a great head coach and will have another very good football team again soon. Good choice kid…..but the Gators could have used you, too, in Weis’ two-TE sets. But better Wake than some other SEC school. You might find yourself in the NFL soon with your skills….and especially your brains.

RedandBlackDAWG

July 29th, 2011
3:33 pm

Corn fed,

UGA is set at TE for the next couple of years. They even have a kid commited for the class of 2012. Looks like somebody forgot to milk you this morning and it clogged the gray matter below your horns.

vagabondking

July 29th, 2011
3:33 pm

Somoan OL Chester Brown picks UGA, Really? Can you spell at all? I hope you didn’t waste your time in college

TampaGator

July 29th, 2011
3:34 pm

BigTimeTechFan….

Kent Taylor is going to be a good one…..but I doubt he will leave the state of Florida.

Coach E

July 29th, 2011
3:43 pm

Zach Gordon can block with best. UGA should’ve recruited him as a left tackle.

gt4ever

July 29th, 2011
3:44 pm

Sounds like he has his head on RIGHT! If we only had a OFFENSIVE system that would allow us to recruit….. Good Luck to the kid WF has a GREAT school!

GT Girl

July 29th, 2011
3:44 pm

Very disappointed GT did not go after this young man! He has the grades and ability to play at GT. Carrollton is less than an hour from ATL and his parents could come see him play every home game.
It would have been a win-win for both parties. I’m sorry CPJ did not sign him.

Dawgdays

July 29th, 2011
3:47 pm

Congrats to Zach. Hope you have success.

M.C., you need to do a better job researching the TE’s from Georgia. Ricky Parks from Callaway HS in Hogansville is the top TE in the state – one of the tops in the nation. In fact, there are four or five ahead of Zach from Ga.

Anyway, congrats to Zach!!!

Charles

July 29th, 2011
3:48 pm

There are two candidates, and two candidates only, who might be considered the top tight end in Georgia this year. You named one in Smith, so I guess we should consider that a minor miracle. The other is Ricky Parks from Calloway, who is committed to Auburn. No one else is even close.

Michael Carvell

July 29th, 2011
3:49 pm

@Dawgs Days & @Charles, thanks for your comments. I respectfully disagree. Ricky Parks is definitely one of the state’s top overall athletes. But he plays QB in high school, and could play several different positions at Auburn, most likely TE but maybe not. TBD

gt4ever

July 29th, 2011
4:09 pm

GT Girl,

We don’t recruit TE’s…. We are running a 100 year old offense!

Cam Newton

July 29th, 2011
4:11 pm

I bet he ends up at QB.

Ruby Beaubien

July 29th, 2011
4:18 pm

I am so very proud of my great nephew Zach. I always knew that he would make the right decision regarding which ever school he chose. He was recruited by some very big name colleges. I am very proud of my nieice Catherine and her husband Taylor for provinding the great character building that they have given all of their children. Zach, your grandmother Margaret, my sister would have been very pleased. I am her stand in for cheering you on. Love you lots.

Proud-Dawg

July 29th, 2011
4:22 pm

@Cam Newton….I even had to laugh at that one^^^

Dawg 1

July 29th, 2011
4:30 pm

Good for Zach! Wake Forest is a fine school If you have ever been on that campus you know that it is perfect for someone who would prefer not to be at one of the larger schools.

Congrats to Wake Forest; sounds like you got a fine football player, fine student and an even better person…

Beast from the East

July 29th, 2011
4:31 pm

Wise beyond his years.