Morris' Zach Reddinger (right) chases down the quarterback at a recent practice. Reddinger has drawn some Division I interest in the preseason.
Morris' Zach Reddinger (right) chases down the quarterback at a recent practice. Reddinger has drawn some Division I interest in the preseason. — Rob Oesterle

MORRIS — You can name nearly every point on a compass, and Morris senior football player Zach Reddinger has gotten some interest from a college in that direction.

Northern Illinois, Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois, Southeast Missouri State.

And that's before the season has even started.

It's understandable, considering that the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder has been timed at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has performed a 285-pound bench press and 560-pound squat in the weight room.

Last season, Reddinger was the most explosive weapon in the Redskin offense as a wide receiver, when he caught 26 passes for 423 yards and four touchdowns. This year, though, he will make the move from out wide, where he touched the ball an average of three times a game, to quarterback, where he will be in on nearly every play in one way or another.

Reddinger will also be a mainstay of the Redskins' defense, primarily as a defensive end, a position from which he routinely disrupted opposing offenses last season.

"It has been pretty fun to get some interest from colleges already," he said. "A lot of them are looking at me more as a linebacker or safety, but they all want to see some film of me playing quarterback, too."

That film will undoubtedly begin circulation after the Redskins open the season with a much-anticipated home game against Coal City on Aug. 30.

"Zach has everything the college coaches like," Morris head coach Alan Thorson said. "He has the size and the speed. His lifting numbers are through the roof. Once some more film of him gets out there, I believe a lot more offers will come in for him."

While Morris has remained a strong football program through the years, Thorson said it has been a while since a skill position player has seen this much recruiting attention from Division I schools.

"I would say our last skill player that got D-I looks like Zach is getting was Danny Friend, who ended up at Indiana and eventually was turned from a tight end into a lineman," Thorson said. "We've had some pure linemen go D-i, like Nathan Korte a couple of years ago that went to Southeast Missouri. But as far as skill positions go, it was Friend. We had a quarterback [Austin Feeney] who went to St. Xavier and another one, Griffin Sobol, went Siena Heights in Michigan and they moved him to linebacker.

"I have heard some college coaches say they might want have Zach be a linebacker or safety, but they are looking at him right now as an athlete, so they want to see how he does as a quarterback as well."

To that end, Reddinger feels like having the summer under his belt to work at his current position will help.

"We have had a good summer," he said. "Our 7 on 7s went pretty well. I am starting to get a pretty good feel for how our receivers run their routes and where they are supposed to be. And, we all had a good winter and spring in the weight room, getting bigger and stronger and faster.

"It helps out a lot when you have a bunch of your teammates in the weight room. We all want the same thing, so we push each other to get better."

Reddinger said he wants to study education and one day become a teacher and a coach.

"Pretty much every school has an education program," he said. "Finding a place to go that offers that isn't going to be a problem, so that really keeps my options open. I haven't really started to narrow it down yet. I want to see what other schools get interested once my film starts getting out there and then I will see where I want to go from there.

"It's going to be a fun season in a new conference for us. We are going to be playing teams we haven't played before, so that is always fun. We are hoping for a good season."