Player Spotlight: Anthony Zettel
Zettel’s impressive height and weight of 6’4 and 284 lbs. made him a threat from the start of his college career. As a redshirt freshman in 2012, Zettel made an appearance in all 12 games. He immediately began making a name for himself when he recorded 15 tackles and 4.0 sacks. One of Zettel’s most notable moments was from the Purdue game on 11/3 when he made a single solo stop and had one pass break up.
Since his freshman season in 2012, Zettel has only improved. His sophomore year highlights include not only playing in all 12 games but starting in two of them. Zettel’s first BigTen start was against Michigan on 10/12 in which he made two solo stops and three overall. Over 35 percent of Zettel’s tackles during the 2013 season were behind the line of scrimmage, deeming him one of the most fast-acting and impressive defensive ends in the Big Ten.
Fall 2014 was a turning point for Zettel. To start off the season, Zettel made the transition from defensive end to defensive tackle, a move that would quickly pay off for the Nittany Lions. Continuing to add to his impressive statistics, Zettel led the team with 17 tackles and 8.0 sacks for the season. Zettel’s most exciting game yet was against Michigan on 10/11 in which he converted an interception into a touchdown pass for fellow teammate DaeSean Hamilton (Fredericksburg, Va.). At the end of the 2014 season, Zettel became Penn State’s first defensive lineman sine 1959 to have at least three interceptions in a season.
Fast forward to fall 2015. Zettel was recently named captain during the 129th captain-selection for Penn State Football. One of Zettel’s current accolades include the fact that he was named to the Lombardi watch list, an award named to the nation’s top lineman or linebacker. Off the field, Zettel takes philanthropic activities seriously, and is presently the sergeant at arms for Penn State’s Uplifting Athletes charity, which helps to raise money and awareness for kidney cancer. Over one million dollars have been raised since its conception in 2003. This season, fans can expect to see a dynamic duo emerge in Zettel and fellow defensive tackle, Austin Johnson (Galloway, N.J.), who are sure to present the most formidable defensive line in the BigTen.
While Zettel appears to be a formidable figure when it comes to his football statistics and accomplishments, he is one of the team’s most beloved players thanks to his humor and love of making others laugh. Zettel rose to comedic fame in the past year when a video of him successful tackling a dead tree circulated on the internet. When asked of his motivation to tackle the tree, Zettel simply said it was the easiest way to get the tree out of the ground. Recently, Zettel has given fans a reason to laugh thanks to his hilarious impersonations of a dying pig and a velociraptor, which he openly shared with Sports Center during an interview a few weeks ago. Clearly, Anthony Zettel knows that when you work hard, you also get to play hard, too. Be on the lookout for this powerful DT’s amazing plays as he gets ready to take to the turf for one final season with the Nittany Lions.