It’s no wonder Summit two-way football player Zack Claus and his coach, Brian Coleman, have each other’s respect. One seems to just be a younger version of the other.
And when we were looking for a Summit player to profile, Coleman quickly suggested Claus, his senior captain. When we asked Claus as to what he likes about playing for Coleman, his answer sounded like a self-portrait.
“He’s kind of a go-getter,” Claus said. “He reminds me of myself. He’s just that person to go and get stuff done. And I just really admire that about him.”
Claus starts for Coleman at right tackle on offense and nose guard on defense, and leads an unusually productive life for a high school kid off the field. Here’s more about Summit’s two-way star.
Claus “a throwback” to the two-platoon era
The Spartans, off to a 3-2 start, enter Friday’s game with Page on a high note. Summit trailed Columbia Central 21-0 at half last week, but scored 30 unanswered points in the second half to secure a win.
Claus, a co-captain, took a leadership role when things weren’t going well last Friday.
“In the beginning, nothing was clicking, but after halftime, we just started talking to each other and communicated, and got stuff done,” Claus said.
Summit wants to wear teams down with ace running back George Odimegwu and its wing-T offense, and a defense that Coleman thought would be the strength of the team. Summit has 57 players. Eight are freshmen, while 16 are sophomores. So, that makes Claus, a senior who starts at right tackle on offense, and nose guard on defense, quite a valuable piece.
“I guess I would just stress that Zack is a very hard worker,” Coleman said. “He plays offensive tackle and the nose in our 3-4 defensive scheme. Those are two very physically taxing positions. Zack is a ‘throw-back’ type of kid.”
“I just can’t say enough good things about him and just wanted him to be recognized because sometimes linemen get very little recognition.”
“Physically taxing” might be an understatement.
“I play the entire game of offense, and probably 80 percent [of snaps] on defense,” Claus said.
A self-self-starter off the field
Claus’s motor runs non-stop off the field, too. He and senior teammate Max Meeker run a lawn care service, managing about 30 yards.
“Right after the football games on Fridays, I come home, sleep, wake up about seven, eight o’clock, and just get out there on Saturday and Sunday,” Claus said. “On Saturdays, we [work] about eight to six or seven, and on Sundays, it’s usually 10 to five or six.”
Claus runs another side business. He’s also a self-taught mechanic who also fixes four-wheelers, dirt bikes and Jeeps.
“I just keep working on it until I fix it,” he said, when asked how he learned.
It’s a miracle Claus has any time left. Somehow, he carries a 3.94 GPA and scored a 24 on his ACT.
“I’ve never gotten a ‘C’ in my life,” he said.
Claus rises at 6:15 every day, and in bed by 10 or 11 every night. His experience as a Spartan taught him the energy and discipline to take care of what’s on his plate.
“It’s kind of what football taught me. No matter how hard it gets, keep pushing through it,” he said.
And, he credits his father, who’s a VP of clinical operations for a medical business, for setting an example.
“My dad always… wants ‘this’ done at ‘this’ time, and that’s always kind of rubbed off on me,” he said. “I guess you could say, I just have a time schedule. I want ‘this’ done at ‘this’ time, and ‘that’ done at ‘that’ time, and I’m not going to stop until it’s all finished.”
Claus, who played basketball as a freshman and sophomore at Summit, quit that to concentrate on football. He hopes to play college football next year, and is drawing some recruiting interest.
“Lindsey Wilson is talking about me as a defensive end,” he said. “Birmingham Southern and Mount Saint Joseph’s are talking about me as an outside linebacker.”
Claus expects to major in business management or perhaps finance, and enter that world upon graduation.