Commit Brett Zanotto hopes to help smooth Maryland's transition to Big Ten

Pennsylvania inside linebacker talks with Testudo Times about committing to the University of Maryland and his desire to help the Terrapins continue to improve.

University of Maryland assistant coach Greg Studrawa made visits to Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pa., to meet with inside linebacker Brett Zanotto, but never watched a game there. He had seen the junior linebacker play on tape, but never in person. Now Studrawa will get that opportunity.

The assistant coach called Zanotto in May to let him know that Maryland hoped to extend him a scholarship offer and nailed down the Terrapins' 15th recruit in the 2015 class when the linebacker committed nearly a week ago.

"I was very excited," Zanotto said of receiving an offer to play for the Terrapins. "I am really looking forward to the opportunity. When I think of Maryland, I think of a great school that's now going to the Big Ten so it was a tremendous honor. Me and my family are very blessed for it and humbled by it."

Zanotto narrowed his decision down to Syracuse and Maryland, ultimately choosing to help smooth the Terps' transition to the Big Ten.

"I was going to [visit] Syracuse but after committing to Maryland I'm not going to Syracuse anymore," Zanotto said.

The three-star recruit is rated as the 42nd best inside linebacker in the country and 27th best player in Pennsylvania for the 2015 class by the 247sports composite. The junior totaled 157 tackles last season, including 27 tackles for loss, according to maxpreps.com.

Zanotto talked about his role with the Terrapins' coaching staff, which has considered moving him outside to fit his body type and stop the run.

"[The coaching staff] wants me on the weak side [to help with] run stopping and cover running backs in space," Zanotto said.

The 6-foot, 215-pound linebacker hopes to bulk up to 225 pounds and improve his pass defending to compete with players in the Big Ten. Zanotto says he is ready to make the leap with the level of competition.

"Hopefully I can get up to [225 pounds] before I get up [to Maryland]," Zanotto said. "[The coaches] will make me stronger, faster and better so I think I'll be able to play with people in the Big Ten."

Zanotto also said Maryland's move to the Big Ten is an exciting one for the new players coming into the program.

"Playing against schools like Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State...is always very exciting," Zanotto said. "To play with schools like these is an opportunity you can't pass up."

Zanotto visited College Park for the first time since attending Maryland's prospect camp to see everything his missed during his initial trip to the university. He plans to take another visit in July and hopes to come back to the school he now calls home to see the Terps' play their first season in the Big Ten.

"Maryland just seemed like the best fit," Zanotto said. "With the teams [Maryland] plays, its close [to my hometown] so my grandparents and my mom can come out and see me play. The coaches and the campus-it was all just very nice. It's a place where I feel comfortable in."

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