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June 29, 2011

Yost's idol moment

Zander Yost made the most of his two-day camp visit at Northwestern.

The 6-foot, 190-pound safety from Norcross, Ga., the son of former Iowa football player Jim Yost, spent two days in Chicago working out for the Northwestern coaching staff. While there, he had the chance to meet his childhood idol, former Notre Dame safety Tommy Zbikowski.

"I met up with Jeff Vlk, one of Tommy's coaches at Buffalo Grove High School in Illinois and I got Tommy's email address from him. I got in touch with Tommy and when I got up to Northwestern I let him know I was there," Yost said. "He met up with me at Northwestern."

During their discussions prior to meeting up at Northwestern, Yost explained to Zbikowski just how much the current Baltimore Ravens safety has inspired Yost to work hard and chase down his dreams.

Zbikowski was home in Chicago training athletes at his speed clinic, so he took the opportunity to swing by Northwestern to meet Yost in person.

"He met up with me at Northwestern. I didn't talk to him face to face very long, but it was cool that he came and watched," Yost said. "He was just motivating me to get out and compete in the one-on-ones."

After camp, Yost and his father stopped in at Zbikowski's Pure Speed Sports Clinic to check out the facility.

Then they drove down to Notre Dame.

"They had a 7-on-7 tournament going on," Yost said. "We did go and check out campus. It was unbelievable. I had to go into the campus store and buy a hat. Now I have my Notre Dame hat."

Yost didn't have the chance to talk to any of the Irish coaches, but he plans to contact assistant coach Chuck Martin in the near future.

While at Northwestern, Yost met one of the Toledo coaches. On the way home, he stopped in at Toledo to see what the Rockets had to offer.

"At Northwestern there were coaches from a lot of (Mid-American Conference) schools and some of the academies. The Toledo coach told me to come check out campus so we went around and checked it out," he said.

Just when it looked like Yost and his father finally would head south on I-75 toward Atlanta they saw a sign that said Ann Arbor was just about a half hour away.

"We decided to check out Michigan and went around the Big House," Yost said. "Michigan hadn't been recruiting me at all at this point, but I just wanted to see it."

As luck would have it, the Michigan coaching staff was just finishing up a youth camp, which gave Yost and his father the opportunity to introduce themselves.

"Even though it was 6:00 p.m. on a Saturday the entire coaching staff was there," Yost said. "I met the defensive coordinator and gave him my film. He said he'd get in touch."

That defensive coordinator was former Irish assistant Greg Mattison, who recruited Zbikowski to Notre Dame and coached him in Baltimore.

"I told him I just met Tommy," Yost said. "It was really cool."

On the way home, the Yosts briefly visited both Kentucky and Tennessee.

With the road trip in his rearview mirror, Yost plans to focus on his senior season. He will send out highlights of his first three games in hopes of landing that first scholarship offer.

"I think there's a possibility I might have one or two offers going into my senor year," he said. "But, I'm just going to go out and play and have a good senior year and take it from there."





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