A month ago, Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley linebacker Dominic Zanca-McDonald was in a state of limbo with a football scholarship offer to the University of Tennessee,
Thursday, all of that was cleared up, and on Friday, Zanca-McDonald accepted an official verbal offer from UT coach Derek Dooley and the linebacker became the fifth commitment to the Vols 2013 recruiting class.
It's a big weight lifted off my shoulders," said Zanca-McDonald via cell phone from the UT campus. Most people know him as Dominic Zanca. The McDonald part was recently added and it's the name he will change to as Dominic McDonald once he turns 18.
He joins fellow Orlando-area linebacker Corey Vereen of Winter Garden West Orange as Vols commitments.
The limbo status on the scholarship offer was created when former Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox left to become the defensive coordinator at Washington. New defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri, however, made it clear to Zanca-McDonald through main recruiter Darin Hinshaw that the Vols were still on board.
"Coach Hinshaw wanted me to come up to the spring game and he said, "If you could come up early, that would be cool.' " said Zanca-McDonald, who arrived on the UT campus Thursday. "I got to meet everybody, tour the campus and talk to Coach Dooley ... not very long but long enough for him to say they wanted to offer me a scholarship.
"Then today [Friday], I sat down with him and gave him the verbal."
Tennessee was Zanca-McDonald's only offer, and it was also the only team for which the 6-foot-2, 232-pounder wanted to play. Once the new defensive coaching staff was in place and he got to know Sunseri, the rest was a mere formality.
"Coach Sunseri, he's a wild man. I love him. He is one of the main reasons why I chose to go to Tennessee. He knows football … I know I will just love to play football for him," said Zanca-McDonald, who had 61 solo tackles, 11 tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles on a team that went undefeated all the way up until the first round of the state playoffs and ended 9-1 last year.
"I'm stoked," he added. "In seven months or so, I'll be at the University of Tennessee playing football. It's pretty wild to think about."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times