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Growing up, Monte Vista incoming senior linebacker Josh Zeising was built a little different.
When he started playing football in third grade, he was already in the upper echelon on the gridiron. He was recording interception after interception and sack after sack – an unstoppable force in every possible sense.
And when he moved on to high school, he was placed in higher groups. As a freshman, he was on JV. As a sophomore, he was on varsity and contributing for one of the top programs in Northern California.
“I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back I do,” Zeising said. “And my freshman year when I was on JV I was really scared to play with older guys, but then I realized I hang with them and I’m just with them at that skill level. So that’s when I first started realizing that this could be something for me.”
During his first two varsity campaigns, Zeising shined in Monte Vista’s runs to more successful seasons in the East Bay.
His sophomore year was a 16-tackle showing in the Mustangs’ run to a 7-4 record and a North Coast Section Division I quarterfinals appearance, and one year later provided more evidence of how far Zeising has grown from his days of already being ahead of the curve.
The 2019 season featured 102 tackles for Zeising, which was the third-most on the roster behind two now FBS players – Connor Shay (Wyoming) and Nate Rutchena (Cal) – and is the most among returning players in addition to one tackle for loss, two caused fumbles and one fumble recovery as Monte Vista compiled an 8-4 record and advanced to the NCS Division I semifinals.
With his efforts on the field and growth in the offseason, recently topped off with an impressive showing at the Xclusive Speed Bay Area Top 100 Showcase in Ran Ramon, Zeising – who also has a 3.57 GPA in the classroom – boasts two college offers from George Fox and Whittier – both of which came on the same day (June 15).
“It’s day and night,” Zeising said. “When I played through Pop Warner, it was kind of as a defense it was just go see the ball and get the ball. But learning from freshman year to now, learning what a defense is trying to do, how many different aspects of a single play, having to know exactly what all of your teammates do so you can tell them what to do to be a leader on the field. I didn’t realize how much went into football before high school, so when I got to high school it was a big surprise, but I’ve definitely caught up.”
In his household, Zeising was around top-notch athletes and got to make the trek to Monte Vista for many nights before he ever became a varsity player to understand all that it requires to become a football player beyond the high school game.
Zeising’s father, Dave Zeising, strapped on the helmet for San Jose State and has plenty of memories from being at the collegiate level.
“He’s always told me stories about how fun it is to play in college football and be a part of a team at that level,” Josh Zeising said. “That would be great. And also I want to push myself in football just to see how far I can go because I know how much work it takes just to be able to play at the next level, so I want to push myself to see how good I can play when I get to the next level.”
What Josh Zeising also got to watch was his oldest brother, Zach Zeising, play for Monte Vista until 2016 and was right tackle on the NCS championship team in 2016 before his older brother, Owen Zeising, who just graduated, compete in the Mustangs uniform as key pieces and perform next to some high-level linebacker recruits.
One of those was Nate Landman, the former Monte Vista star who is now at the University of Colorado and been both an All-American and All-Pac-12 selection for the Buffaloes each of the last two years. And then there have been a slew of other Division I prospects, including Shay.
“He was such a good teammate, just such a good leader,” Josh Zeising said. “He was a great guy to learn from, because I played right alongside him last year, and he taught me so much. He’s kind of like the same thing as Nate Landman. He’s just like a physical player. He’s just strong. He’s just everything that I would want to be in a player.”
For his senior season, which is now slated to begin in January amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Josh Zeising is hoping for even more. Another winning season. A championship. More than 120 tackles. An interception.
And he has opportunities to extend his career on the field for at least four more years behind those two offers.
“Ever since my freshman year, I’ve said I’ve wanted to play college football, but I’ve seen my brother and how hard he worked and I’ve seen watching Nate Landman and how hard he worked,” Josh Zeising said. “Getting told stories, watching Shay, how much he’s worked. I know how hard it can be to get up to that next level, so me myself being able to get to that next level is a big relief knowing that my hard work will pay off.”
Josh is an excellent student.
Great grades, fantastic genes and a work ethic
That goes beyond the normal make Josh a spectacular prospect
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