Armstrong Star Running Back is Considering Many Collegiate Options

Senior Armstrong River Hawks running-back/ defensive back has been getting a lot of attention from Division one and Ivy League schools leading up to his senior season.

by Jake DeLuca

Deciding what to do after graduating High School is something that many students will be doing this year, or have already done before entering their senior year. For Zane Dudek, that decision becomes a little more difficult with so many colleges clamoring for his talents.

Zane Dudek is a Senior at Armstrong High School, and plays running-back and defensive back for the Armstrong River Hawks Varsity football team.

Last year for the River Hawks, Zane posted some out of this world rushing statistics in his ten games played. Zane rushed for 2,059 yards on 220 carries for 205.9 yards per game, 9.4 yards per attempt, and scored 23 rushing touchdowns. Zane is also a dynamic kick-off returner; he scored two kick-off return touchdowns last season.

On the defensive side of the ball, Zane posted 34 tackles, six interceptions, and two forced fumbles/ fumble recoveries.

Most of Zane’s offers have come on the offensive side of the ball, but he would love to get an offer to play both offense and defense.

“That would be awesome, I would love it (to play offense and defense in college). If a team came up to me and told me I could play both (offense and defense), I would do it in a heartbeat. I would love to never come off the field, but it’s tough in college and taxing on your body, but I would do it,” Dudek said.

So far, Zane has received offers from ten schools to play running-back. Those teams are: Columbia, Brown, Robert Morris University (RMU), Air Force, Army, Penn, Princeton, Bucknell, and Dartmouth.

Zane said his first offer came last year around November.

“Princeton was the first team that came into school. They came in right before Thanksgiving vacation. It was pretty cool, because I was e-mailing coaches trying to get my tape out there. He (Princeton) e-mailed back telling me that he would be in school the next day. So they (Princeton) were the first ones, Penn was a short second, they came in January and the rest kind of filed in. It’s just nice to know that all the hard work has paid off. That’s the best part about being recruited; knowing all the hard work has paid off and that I am going to get to go to college for little money or no money. It’s nice to know it all paid off. “

If there is one thing that jumps out about the list of scholarship offers it is the fact that the majority of Zane’s offers are from Ivy League schools. Although Zane hasn’t made a decision, he is leaning towards an Ivy League school.

“I think that’s what it will end up being (attending an Ivy League school) because I want that education. I don’t think I can pass that up with the little money that it will cost me to go to one of those (Ivy League)
schools, I don’t think I can pass it up.”

One thing that Zane has noticed about recruiters is that they are very good salesmen.

“They (the recruiters) try to sell everything they can with their school, with their team, their past history. With the Ivy League, they have all the history in the world with education, and they try to sell themselves with their Ivy League championships. It’s a lot of salesmen stuff. It’s pretty much the same thing from every team.”

One thing that Zane said appealed to him was the fact that there was no redshirt process in the Ivy League. A “redshirt” is generally given to freshmen players in college football, and it basically waives the freshman year of eligibility, allowing for new players to prepare for college football by developing without sacrificing a year of eligibility.

“I’m going to try my best to start my freshman year if I can, or at least just get playing time,” Zane said.

One of the biggest factors for Zane’s decision is the current roster and the history of the organization.

“(The current roster) is one thing that I am looking at, mostly what they do this year. My main goal in college is to win a championship. I want to get a nice big ring to wear all the time. That’s the main goal for when I go to college, because all the schools are top class. I just want to win a championship.”

Zane went on to tell which teams have impressed him the most during this process.

“Penn has been in constant contact. They’re telling me stuff every day, they’re telling me how much they love me every day and how much they want me (to be part of the team). I talked to pretty much all of their coaches on the phone. They’re making a big pitch all the time and I love that.”

Though Penn is one of the closest schools to offer Zane a scholarship, he says distance doesn’t matter much.

“(Being close to home) is not that big of a deal. To go to one of those Schools, the distance doesn’t matter. Penn and Princeton are about four and a half or five hours away, but that doesn’t matter to me. My dad will make the trip to every game, and he’s looking forward to it, his buddies are looking forward to it, so the distance doesn’t really matter.”

Zane expects more teams to offer him throughout the season, so he wants to reserve making his decision until after the season around November or December.

Stay tuned to the Kittanning Paper for more information on Zane’s decision.