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Zanotto 'excited' about commitment to Maryland

| Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Brett Zanotto tackles Montour running back David Haseleu during their WPIAL Class AAA first-round playoff game Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, at Franklin Regional.

Brett Zanotto saw a lot he liked when he visited the University of Maryland this spring — enough to make him commit to play there beginning in 2015.

Zanotto, a rising senior at Franklin Regional, made a verbal commitment last week to play football at Maryland, choosing the Terrapins' scholarship offer over others from Syracuse, Boston College, Temple, Toledo, Massachusetts and Eastern Michigan.

“It feels pretty good to pick a school,” Zanotto said. “I'm thankful for all the opportunities I had with all the schools. Me and my family are very happy with the decision I made.”

Zanotto plays running back and linebacker at Franklin Regional but will play linebacker in college.

In 2013, Zanotto set a school record by making 157 tackles, including 27 for loss. He also had seven sacks, anchoring a defense that allowed just over 10 points a game and recorded four shutouts.

“I think one of the things that makes him a great linebacker is his instincts on the field,” Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta said. “He sees things before they develop. He plays (middle linebacker), and he makes plays from sideline to sideline. What makes him good is his vision, his instincts, and then his speed and his strength. He's just a naturally strong kid that has tremendous speed. Maryland saw that right from the get-go and recruited him from right after they saw his film.”

Toledo became the first school to offer Zanotto a scholarship last month, and several others soon followed. Zanotto said he wanted to make a decision this summer in order to focus on his last season of high school football.

Although he can't make his commitment official until National Signing Day in February 2015, Zanotto said he and his family are “100 percent set” on Maryland.

A visit to the university with his grandparents solidified his decision.

“The way the coaching staff treated my grandparents was very important to me,” Zanotto said. “All the coaches down there were very nice, and I loved the way they coached. The campus is beautiful down there, and for my major (marketing), they have a very good school for that. It was a good fit.”

Zanotto also visited Toledo and the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt did not offer him a scholarship before he made his decision.

Maryland is entering the Big Ten Conference this season after previously competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Terrapins finished 7-6 in 2013 and played in the Military Bowl against Marshall.

“I'm very excited to join a team like Maryland,” Zanotto said. “Obviously, they're going to the Big Ten (and) playing teams like Penn State and Ohio State, so that's going to be very fun to compete with them. I'm just excited to join them next season and try to make an impact as early as I can.”

For now, he's focusing on his senior season at Franklin Regional.

“I'm very excited,” he said. “All (my) teammates at Franklin Regional are putting in a lot of hard work for this upcoming season. We have a very tough schedule with Thomas Jefferson and Gateway back-to-back for the last two games. We're all very excited and looking forward to getting back into the season.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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