INDIANAPOLIS -- Before breaking records set by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at Miami (Ohio) University, former RedHawks signal-caller Zac Dysert heard the questions about whether he could reach the NFL despite playing at Ada High School.
One to fight and prove people wrong, Dysert went from Ada High School in a town of just under 6,000 to the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where he continued his pursuit of an NFL career by talking with scouts and front-office personnel.
“Those guys mean a lot to me just because it’s my hometown,” Dysert said of his former teammates. “Growing up, everybody told me I wasn’t going to be good enough to play in the NFL, that I didn’t go to a big-enough school and I needed to transfer from Ada to be able to get recognized for a Division I scholarship. I was thinking about transferring to Findlay where Ben grew up. (My dad) just said, ‘If you’re good enough, they’ll find you.’ I can’t thank him enough for doing that for me. Everything did work out for the best.
“It’s been awesome. Being able to be in this position, first of all, I’ve got to thank God. It’s always been a dream of mine, and it’s just awesome to see that the hard work, the sacrifice, the dedication that you’ve put in through all these years is finally paying off. It’s going to pay off soon. It’s right on the tips of your fingers, pretty much, and it’s awesome to see that and the dream’s about to come true.”
Because he was one of about 300 college football players from around the country to receive an invitation to participate in the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, Dysert had a message for those who come from his hometown tucked away in the northwestern part of Ohio.
“Don’t let anybody short-cut you,” Dysert said. “No matter what your dream is, dream big. No matter what it is, no matter what people say, don’t ever let it go. Work your butt off to get there and everything will work out for you.”
Working hard is something Dysert did throughout his football career, and finding motivation to participate and play hard was not a problem. His hometown is the home of the Wilson Football Factory, a place that he visited many times on school field trips.
“It’s always awesome,” Dysert said of visiting the factory. “It’s not very big. If you drive by it, you probably wouldn’t even know it was the factory. There’s only about 300 people that work there. All the balls are made by hand. It’s pretty crazy to see all the effort that goes into it.
“I wanted to play quarterback in the NFL since I was about 10. When you’re younger, you don’t get the fact that every, single football is made here, but as you grow up, you get a bigger sense for the fact, and take a little more pride in it. Playing in the NFL became a bigger dream for me, especially growing up in Ada around a good football town.”