Give Tommy Ziesmer another year of high school football and Kentucky is going to have even more competition for the future in-state star.
Ranked by 247 Sports as a three-star prospect from the class of 2023, Ziesmer is a budding talent in the Kentucky high school football landscape. He’s already been a two-year starter for Boyle County High School, helping lead the Rebels’ defense to a state runner-up finish as a freshman and a state title this past season as a sophomore. Ziesmer, a defensive end/linebacker, isn’t one of the premier national ranked recruits in the country, but he very well could be once he gets a full set of eyes on him this fall.
He spent the month of June making a name for himself in a camp setting.
Ziesmer made camp trips to both Ohio State and Clemson and took unofficial visits to Kentucky and West Virginia. Despite being raised in Kentucky, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Ziesmer grew up a fan of the Buckeyes, which will surely play at least somewhat of a role in his recruiting process. As of right now, he holds offers from EKU, WKU, UAB, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Purdue, Louisville, and Kentucky.
While in Columbus, Ziesmer showed out. He posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.65 seconds, recorded a broad jump distance of 8-feet, 8-inches, and exploded for a 39-inch vertical. His head coach at Boyle County, Justin Haddix, told KSR that Ziesmer broke the school’s power clean record with 320 pounds and added that he can also bench 300 pounds. Ziesmer’s wingspan is roughly 6-foot-8.
“He’s a freak athlete when you’re talking those numbers,” Coach Haddix recently told KSR. “When he first showed me I was like ‘What? No way.’ But you can see he’s got it in him and it’s our job to continue to get that out of him. This talent is a blessing and a curse. You can do all this but now we got to expect it every time.”
Ziesmer already possesses all the athletic tools necessary to make for a stud defensive end. He performed quite well at the Clemson camp in addition to his time at Ohio State. Expect those two powerhouse programs to continue poking around.
But when it came time for his unofficial visits to Lexington and Morgantown, Ziesmer left highly impressed with both of them.
“UK, Coach (Vince) Marrow, and the defensive coordinator (Brad White) there, they really enjoyed him,” Coach Haddix said. “They liked him and they’re talking with him and they have a good relationship with him. But going to see West Virginia and seeing their facilities, he loved it. He’s a big Ohio State fan, he went there and he enjoyed Ohio State and I think that was his favorite in the beginning but I think as we left, I think West Virginia and Kentucky ended being one of his top ones.”
Kentucky views Ziesmer as someone who could fill into a similar role that Josh Paschal currently plays at Kentucky: a pass-rushing defensive end. He’s spent time playing tight end in the past, but prefers the defensive side of the ball: “I don’t like trying to block for somebody, I just like going for the quarterback.”
Defensive end was the position the Wildcat coaching staff had Ziesmer perform at during camps and it didn’t take long before he was moved into the “special” group of drills that included all of the camp’s top prospects. Ziesmer embraced that challenge.
“Growing up in Danville, the competition is decent,” Ziesmer told KSR. “But I want to prove to myself that I can be the best of the best and every camp I go to I can be the best there.”
So far, UK and WVU have reached out to Ziesmer the most. Both of those offers were announced on the same day, as well, back in March of 2020, along with one from Tennessee. He’s already built solid relationships with both the Kentucky and West Virginia coaching staffs but did add that UK being his hometown school adds to the appeal.
— tommy ziesmer (@tommy_ziesmer) March 25, 2020
“I like the connections,” Ziesmer said. “At West Virginia, we got Neal Brown and at Kentucky, I have a strong relationship with the coaches. And it’s the hometown, it’s close. I went to both their facilities and I liked it a lot.”
Ziesmer is still just 16 years old and two years away from heading to college, but he’s a name for Kentucky fans to keep an eye on early. Even through the nervousness of competing in front of college coaches, he consistently proved himself.
“They’ve all been exciting,” Ziesmer added. “But also when I go to these camps I’ll get nervous, always, because I don’t want to get embarrassed out there. One mess up can make a coach say this about you and then it’s like well you shorted your first impression in front of all those coaches.”
Luckily for Ziesmer, his first impressions were excellent all-around. Now it’s time to get Boyle County to a third-straight state title game.