Zach Zenner diary: It’s a family affair at South Dakota State

Sam Zenner (Zach's brother), Sam's girlfriend Jen, Alyssa (Zach's fiance) and Zach (from left to right).

Zach Zenner

Zach Zenner played running back at South Dakota State, where he became the first FCS back to ever rush for 2,000 yards in three different seasons and finished 12 yards shy of setting the FCS’ all-time rushing record. Projected to be a late-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Zenner will take you through the process of training for the NFL Combine, his pro day, the anticipation for draft day and more. Check out his first, second  and third entries, and follow Zenner on Twitter @Zenner31.

There’s not much to report this week from Brookings, S.D., as I continue to prepare for Pro Day on March 25 and the draft next month. But after nearly five years of working hard in the classroom, in the gym and on the field to reach this point, I’ve got no problem taking advantage of a little break in my schedule while I have it — because I know soon enough I’ll be busier than ever.

This past weekend, I took a couple days and actually made the trip back home to Eagan to see my fiance Alyssa for the first time in a couple weeks and watch my brother, Sam, compete in the Minnesota state swimming championships, where his team won a state title despite not having a single individual state champion, an impressive feat if you ask me. (Go Wildcats!)

Sam will actually be coming to South Dakota State next year, where he’ll follow in my footsteps as a Jackrabbits running back, but he might be just as good in the pool as he is on the gridiron. He finished third in the state in the 50 freestyle this weekend and actually set school records in the 50 free and 100 free, two of four events he swam at the meet.

Of course, my sister, Abby, already swims at South Dakota State, so really, it’s a talent that seems to run in my family –€” for everyone but me. I never swam in school and for good reason: I sank like a rock. I took lessons as a kid and can keep myself above water, but competitive swimming was just never in the cards, so it’s good that I focused my efforts on football.

On that front, it’s been interesting getting ready for Pro Day, in part because I’m still not sure who will be there to see me or how many teams feel like they need another look — and it’ll hard to tell what, exactly, to make of it even when I find out.

There are different reasons that a team might or might not come to Pro Day or invite me out to their facility for a 1-on-1 workout. If I don’t get invited or a team doesn’t show up, it may be because they just don’t need any more information on me, or it could be because they just don’t have a need at my position. And if they do come to Brookings or I do get asked to meet with them, does that mean they like me and want to see more or they do need to check on something that they might rule me out altogether?

The way I see it, though, the uncertainty takes the pressure off. If I just don’t read into what’s happening, there’s nothing for me to analyze and there’s no psyching myself out. Whoever wants to see me will see me, I’ll be working just as hard to be ready for Pro Day and ready for offseason training regardless of whether there’s one team or 32 teams in attendance in a couple weeks.

In the meantime, I’ll be continuing my training regimen, following the NFL hot stove just like everyone else, catching up on my Netflix queue and enjoying what I hope will be the last few weeks of down time I’ll have for a long, long time.

Chapter 1: Getting a Combine invite and getting engaged


Chapter 2: Trying to score points at the Combine


Chapter 3: Home sweet home back at South Dakota State