CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Marian Catholic senior defensive lineman Jack Ziltz is reminded of his family history every time he walks past the Marian gym and sees his uncle Bob's name on the school's wall of fame.
Bob played for Marian and Purdue. Jack's dad, Ed, played for the Spartans and Western Michigan.
Both played for Dave Mattio, who is also Jack's coach.
"Coach Mattio coached my dad and uncle and now I get to play for him," Ziltz said. "He is a good coach and my dad tells me that all the time."
Ed played defensive tackle and Bob was an offensive lineman. Until last year, Jack was an offensive lineman. He battled injuries, then decided to give defense a try.
"I just wanted to do anything that could help the team," Ziltz said. "I figured I would try defense and I was able to work into a spot on the defensive line."
Over the summer, he went to some one-day camps, hit the weights and worked on his agility.
"He has a motor that never stops," Mattio said. "Great energy, and for a big kid, he really moves well off the ball. If he can have a full year with no injuries, he can really have a great year."
Ziltz said he knows he must continue to get better.
"I have worked on and have to continue to work on my technique," Ziltz said. "We have a lot of good players on offense and defense and we want to have another good season. Sophomore year we made it to the (Class 7A) second round and lost to St. Rita. Last year, we lost to Wheaton North in the first round. We want to go deeper this year (in the playoffs)."
Mattio said Ziltz knows what his role is.
"He understands what he has to do to stop the run," Mattio said. "He knows the game, and that helps."
Ziltz has drawn interest from several Mid-American Conference schools and a few Big Ten schools.
"I would love to play college football like my dad and uncle," Ziltz said. "I know I have something to prove and I just have to go out and get the job done."