State's Top 10 prospects: (No. 9) Catholic's Tait says injury behind him

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Patience isn’t a measurement in recruiting.

There’s no listing of the virtue next to height, weight and 40-yard dash time.

If there were such a stat, Zak Tait might well lead the country in the patience quotient.

The News Sentinel’s ninth best prospect in the state sat out all of last season after suffering a devastating knee injury in 2007. He learned patience while being a patient, overcoming two knee surgeries and countless days laying in front of the television as his knee healed.

So when it comes to recruiting — and waiting for scholarship offers — Tait doesn’t get too antsy.

“You can’t rush something like this,” the 6-foot-4, 295-pound offensive lineman from Catholic High School said. “You can’t push a coach to offer you.

“You’ve got to be patient. Having an injury like that gave me a lot of patience, so I can wait as long as they want.”

Tait already has offers from Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa State. Several others are evaluating, including Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Auburn and Alabama.

“Honestly, I don’t care where I get offers from, who offers and who doesn’t,” Tait said. “I’ve got two more already than I need. I just need one scholarship to play at one school. I could have 100 offers but at the end of day I’m only going to go to one place and play for one team.

“Right now I’m just concentrating on Knoxville Catholic because that’s who I play for now.”

Tait has been to camps at Georgia Tech, Auburn and UT to showcase his medically mended wares. The reviews have been positive.

“It’s been really good actually,” Tait said of his performance during UT’s camp. “I had a really good time. I thought I showed up and did really well in the one-on-ones. I feel really good about what I’ve done this summer and what I’ll be able to do the rest of the summer.”

Tait’s knee is 100 percent. He said he’s bigger, faster and stronger than he was before his injury. Still, the questions will linger, likely until Tait shows college coaches just how healthy he is this fall. Spring practice went well but recruiters always want more.

Until his senior season begins, Tait tries to dispel any myth that he’s not full go.

“I read some article after the UT camp that said I tweaked my knee,” Tait said. “To put all rumors to end, I did not tweak my knee. It is completely fine.”

Tait said he was misquoted in the unspecified report.

“I didn’t say that at all,” Tait said. “I was a little upset and a little confused with that misquote but worse things have happened to better people.”

Tait isn’t just a better prospect physically; he also has a better approach to the game than he did before his injury.

“As a player, it has changed me,” he said. “Obviously I care more about football now than most high school players do. It has changed the way I look at the game, how people play it and how I play it really.

“I try to coach myself now while I’m playing. Being on the sidelines for a year and watching everyone, I’ve become very hard on myself. I like to push myself when I’m on the field.”

Perspective of football and life has pushed Tait to be more of a leader than he was before. That could come in handy as Catholic ushers in new football coach Scott Meadows.

“I’ve been trying to get the message across to the team that we’ve got to trust each other on the field,” Tait said. “Sitting out all last year, I really felt like I needed to take more of a leadership role vocally and that’s what I did.

“It’s never fun to be yelled at by a coach. But being yelled at by another player, that’s better that way. You can relate to them.”

Tait isn’t the type to have a chip on his shoulder. He’s not solely out to prove the doubters wrong who question the health of his knee. He’s just happy to be a football player again.

If that means some naysayers are silenced, so be it.

“I’m just trying to do all the work I can to show that I’m as good as a lot of people think,” Tait said, “and hopefully better than a lot of people think.”

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 21

chargervol writes:

The injury might be what has slowed the Tennessee coaches offer of a scholarship. The knees are a very scary issue in sports, especially if they are supporting 300+lbs.. He may not receive an offer by the Vol staff. Good luck to him whatever happens. GO VOLS!!!

crimsonviper writes:

in response to chargervol:

The injury might be what has slowed the Tennessee coaches offer of a scholarship. The knees are a very scary issue in sports, especially if they are supporting 300+lbs.. He may not receive an offer by the Vol staff. Good luck to him whatever happens. GO VOLS!!!

Good story. Wish him well.

gohawks1 writes:

Had serious knee problems myself. I feel his pain. I hope he is able to play at 100% as indicated. Good luck, young man, wherever you wind up.

GreenDevilVol writes:

If they don't offer they should send Jeffery back to Fl. A defensive tackle is MORE dependant on a knee than on O-linemen !!!

AllVol1 writes:

Scroggins? Hello...Scroggins? Does anyone, anywhere have an ear to the ground on Scroggins? Tait may be patient, but I would like to know something. The doldrums are more difficult than I thought they would be. Where are the guys who always had the inside scoop--those guys like UTfan4life who told us way in advance that Bryce AND Oku would both be Vols? I don't here anyone doing that these days. I am eager for Scroggins to say he's on board and to watch the Praters out there jump in with him. Also, I keep reading that Jeff Luc was impressed with our camp, but I have not seen that we are even listed in his schools of interest. Does anyone know if he is truly considering UT? Thank you for any reliable information. SWARM!!

hotrodvol writes:

Luc is set to come on an official the Auburn week, UT is his only visit set so far.

IBleedOrange444 writes:

in response to AllVol1:

Scroggins? Hello...Scroggins? Does anyone, anywhere have an ear to the ground on Scroggins? Tait may be patient, but I would like to know something. The doldrums are more difficult than I thought they would be. Where are the guys who always had the inside scoop--those guys like UTfan4life who told us way in advance that Bryce AND Oku would both be Vols? I don't here anyone doing that these days. I am eager for Scroggins to say he's on board and to watch the Praters out there jump in with him. Also, I keep reading that Jeff Luc was impressed with our camp, but I have not seen that we are even listed in his schools of interest. Does anyone know if he is truly considering UT? Thank you for any reliable information. SWARM!!

I don't think there will be any news on Scroggins until the 25th when he is supposed to announce a decision unless he commits earlier than the 25th.

AllVol1 writes:

in response to IBleedOrange444:

I don't think there will be any news on Scroggins until the 25th when he is supposed to announce a decision unless he commits earlier than the 25th.

Thank you IBO444. I had not heard about the 25th. At least I can start carving notches in the wall. One down, nineteen to go. As for Luc, here's to hoping Monte's linebackers are set loose against Auburn and we shut them down. If he sees Reveiz and Rico holding powwows in the Auburn backfield, imagine what he would see himself doing. I don't know if Auburn has a good O-line, but with our D-line and our D-backs, I would think our linebackers should be able to SWARM. Man, I love summer, but I really am looking forward to this fall.

the10sevol writes:

or you could hold youself

BasketVols writes:

You know, it's good to hear a young guy say, "I thought I showed up and did really well in the one-on-ones.", instead of, "I thought I showed up and did real good in the one-on-ones."

This is one of the best interviews I've read that a young football player gave. His answers were subtly unconventional, and wise beyond his years.

I bet he ends up getting an offer from UT. Lane wants smart football players.

dw0731 writes:

Don't have any real inside info. Just that he has narrowed it down to USC,UF and UT. Heard his dad wanted him to play at USC because he lives there, but his mother has family in Memphis. The Trojans already have a solid verbal from Matt Barkley so it would definitely be a competitive situation. My guess is USC because that is where he is from and dad wants him to play there.

GreenDevilVol writes:

Jesse and his bud will be in town this coming week. This can only be good news for UT and us...

footballfan34 writes:

Tait will get an offer after a few games or when his season ends. He is very similar to former Vol Jeff smith who played 6 or 7 years in the Pros.

VolFanNC writes:

in response to GreenDevilVol:

Jesse and his bud will be in town this coming week. This can only be good news for UT and us...

Where did you hear this? Would be nice to see him come in town, but I am pretty skeptical as he was pretty high on USC coming out of there camp.

VolFanNC writes:

in response to footballfan34:

Tait will get an offer after a few games or when his season ends. He is very similar to former Vol Jeff smith who played 6 or 7 years in the Pros.

Hope your right, I am guessing they are really going to see how the knee hold out this year.

kiffownsfla writes:

in response to BIPOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lmfao! WAZZ UP BIG! LOVED SEEING KYLE BUSCH IN THE WALL SAT NITE! DAM WE NEED TO GET A QB! GO VOLS!

TrueVolFan writes:

in response to Vol_RobE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey Rob, if your going to insult a local prospect and imply that he will only hold the practice "dumbies", I have a suggestion for you. Why don't you contact the kid (who from reading his interview is obviously smarter than you) and have him explain to you why you drop the "B" in the correct spelling of "dummies".

hueypilot writes:

Speaking of QB's has anyone heard anything about Rozier? I know he is a very long shot but since we are so short in the passing department I wondered if he would figure as an option if Crompton and/or Stephens get hurt or don't pan out. I realize he's got a big learning curve, but he has played professional baseball for several years so he does know how to prepare, altho big difference between the individual nature of baseball and the team coordination required in football. Just asking.

kiffownsfla writes:

in response to BIPOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yea somebody will take ole cow busch behind the wood shed someday ! I say we get scrnggins.

footballfan34 writes:

in response to VolFanNC:

Hope your right, I am guessing they are really going to see how the knee hold out this year.

You are exactly right. If they think his knee will hold up they will pull the trigger. I think they will wait as long as possible to try not and scare off any other lineman that may be interested.

UT4ME writes:

in response to AllVol1:

Scroggins? Hello...Scroggins? Does anyone, anywhere have an ear to the ground on Scroggins? Tait may be patient, but I would like to know something. The doldrums are more difficult than I thought they would be. Where are the guys who always had the inside scoop--those guys like UTfan4life who told us way in advance that Bryce AND Oku would both be Vols? I don't here anyone doing that these days. I am eager for Scroggins to say he's on board and to watch the Praters out there jump in with him. Also, I keep reading that Jeff Luc was impressed with our camp, but I have not seen that we are even listed in his schools of interest. Does anyone know if he is truly considering UT? Thank you for any reliable information. SWARM!!

Scroggins will give his verbal to UT, and it might happen before July 25.

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