In Somerset, Texas, an eighth grader - who has never played a snap of varsity football - is committed to play college football.
Dinkelmann committed to LSU immediately after Cam Cameron extended a scholarship offer
What makes that more impressive is that the middle schooler with a big arm, polished mechanics and a 6-foot-4 and 200 pound frame is committed to play for LSU, one of the top schools in the nation’s top conference.
Meet Zadock Dinkelmann.
“You dream of stuff like that,” said Johan Dinkelmann, Zadock’s father, who serves as athletic director at Somerset High. "That was a great moment for all of us. You are surprised when your kid is a junior and a team like LSU calls. Zadock was able to get the good news much earlier than we expected.”
For the Dinkelmann’s, football is a lifestyle, and perfecting the quarterback position is second-nature.
"You have to know our family a little bit,” Johan said. “We are all coaches and in football. Zadock has been doing passing camps since he could walk. His first word was ball. My older sons are quarterbacks, too, and he followed in their footsteps."
Johan played football at Cincinatti, while Zadock’s grandfather, coaching legend Sonny Detmer, is the father of both Ty Detmer and Koy Detmer, who also serves as an assistant on the team.
Thanks to a family tree filled with quarterbacks, Zadock - despite his age - was no stranger to LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who started recruiting the eighth grade standout as soon as he joined the staff in Baton Rouge.
“Sonny knows Cam really well,” Johan said. “He recruited Ty and has been around the family. They have a close relationship and all that stuff.
“Zadock and my dad got invited to go watch the Texas A&M vs. LSU game this year in Tiger Stadium, and they really liked it. He got to meet a bunch of guys from up there, and he felt really comfortable with it.
“We sent over some film and he had heard about him in camps, and I think that’s what pushed Cam into the early offer. Last week, Sonny got word that Cam wanted to speak to him. When we called Cam back, he offered the scholarship right then.”
LSU had been in this situation at least once before.
Local star Dylan Moses, who has already appeared on the cover of ESPN the Magazine, picked up an offer from the Tigers when he was in seventh grade, but waited until his freshman season to give the LSU coaches his commitment.
For Dinkelmann, there wasn’t any hesitation with his response to the offer.
“He committed to LSU right there on the spot,” Johan said. "It’s a very unique situation in the fact that he’s been a huge LSU fan for a while. It’s from my dad. His grandpa is a big LSU fan. My dad really likes coach Miles and Cam, so Zadock gravitated that way at a young age.
"Had it been someone else offering, I don’t know if he would have accepted. His No. 1 team that he cheers for on Saturday offered him, and deciding to commit to LSU was his decision completely. I told him he didn’t have to commit now, but he said, "Why wouldn’t I?’.
“It was definitely his dream offer.”
For LSU, Dinkelmann’s pledge adds to an already impressive list of potential future signees.
The Tigers are the only school in the country to now hold at least one verbal commitment from prospects in the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 classes. The recruiting game is changing, and judging by additions like Dinkelmann, LSU is trying to be ahead of the curve.
“I think media has changed that,” Johan said. "With everyone on HUDL and the internet, it’s not like back in my day where you had VHS copies and were sending out film. With the click of a button, you send the film for everyone to evaluate. That’s what has done it.”
What kind of prospect is LSU getting with their latest commitment?
“He’s just big and strong and can really throw the ball,” Johan said. “I know Cam liked that he grew up around football and it’s in his blood. His goal has always been to play big-time college football, and now he’s going to have the opportunity to do that at his favorite school.
"He’s got plenty of time to develop, but he feels like he was born to play quarterback, and he’s always going to keep working to improve on that."
For Tiger fans eager to see Dinkelmann on the varsity football field, there’s still a wait.
Heading into next fall, Somerset’s quarterback is Koy Detmer Jr., a returning starter and one of the top passers in the Lone Star State.
That means that Dinkelmann, who will start for the freshman team, will be back in the role he’s always had at Somerset - just this time as a commitment to a major SEC program.
“He’s the ball boy for us,” Johan said with a chuckle. “He’s the ball boy who is committed to LSU. He’s been doing it since fourth grade, and he’ll do it again next year.”
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