Zach Ertz pretty much accomplished it all during his time at Stanford. Three BCS Bowl games, Stanford's first Rose Bowl victory since 1972, and numerous school records for the tight end position. Now he has a chance to do something no other Stanford TE has ever done: Be taken in the 1st round of the NFL Draft.
Depending on which scout you talk to, either Zach Ertz or Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert sit atop the draft boards for the 2013 TE prospects. Both stand 6'6, roughly 250 pounds and posted similar numbers at the NFL Combine. However, if there was a statistic which measured preparation for the next level, there may not be a better prospect in this entire 2013 draft class.
For Ertz, it all began his sophomore year at Monte Vista high school in Danville when a certain three-time Super Bowl champion tight end became his new football coach. 49er great Brent Jones first met Ertz as an assistant coach for the Monte Vista Mustangs, and immediately saw potential in the young athlete. Had it not been for Brent's influence, Zach might have shelved football in favor of pursuing a career playing college basketball. It was Brent in fact who first called Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh and recommended he take a look at Ertz during his junior season. Zach and Brent continue to be close to this day.
As if a Bay Area legend wasn't enough of a resource for this NFL hopeful, Ertz also has a surplus of former Stanford teammates to seek advice from. Ertz and former Stanford tight end and the 34th overall pick in last years NFL Draft Coby Fleener talk nearly every day. Zach also keeps in touch with Andrew Luck, David DeCastro, and many other of his former teammates from down on the farm.
Whether Zach is the first tight end taken in April's draft, and whether he indeed is taken in that first round, one thing is very clear. His decision to listen to his Super Bowl champion mentor and pass on basketball has truly payed off.
Christopher Jones is a production assistant with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area