The Philadelphia Eagles will welcome its Class of 2013 for the rookie minicamp May 10-12. As we learn about the new Eagles as football players and begin to project how they will help this football team, here's an opportunity to learn about the players off the field as well. Here's some notes on the Eagles' second-round pick, tight end Zach Ertz ...
- Zach Ertz is 22 years old and was born in Orange, Calif., but he has ties to the Philadelphia area. His father, Doug, played football for Lehigh University from 1981-84 and graduated from Wilson-West Lawn High School near Reading, Pa. Doug Ertz moved to California for work shortly after graduating from Lehigh.
- During his career at Monte Vista High School in Danville, Calif., Ertz was tutored by former San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl tight end Brent Jones, who recommended Ertz to then-Stanford head coach and current 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.
"He was big and had a lot of athleticism. He thought he was a basketball player. After the first month, I told him, 'You have what the NFL is looking for. If you put in the time and effort you can play at the pro level,'" Jones said.
- Ertz will admit that he wanted to be a basketball player, but he hopes to now follow the same path of players like Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham, who did play basketball at the collegiate level.
"I thought I could have played basketball in college, but I think once I started lifting, my jump shot kind of went (away). I think once I started playing football, I think everything just started (to become) very natural to me," Ertz said. "I think it was a lot of fun with Coach (Craig) Bergman over there at Monte Vista High School and I think everything went well under Coach Harbaugh."
Bergman actually told Ertz one time that he couldn't even shoot a free throw.
- Ertz did not have much of a say regarding where he would be going to college. Once Stanford offered a scholarship, Ertz's mom, Lisa, told him that's where he was going because of its academic reputation. Ertz took advantage of the Stanford education and was a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention selection. He had a 3.4 grade point average last year while majoring in Management Science and Engineering. Ertz wants to pursue a career in venture capital after his football career.
"If you get into Stanford, you're going to Stanford," Lisa Ertz said. "There will be no more discussion."
- How did Ertz develop his clutch hands, which allowed him to haul in the game-tying touchdown against Chip Kelly's Oregon Ducks last season? He would catch tennis balls with one hand shot out of a ball machine every day. How many? Try 1,000.
- In that game against Oregon, one in which Ertz set a career-high with 11 receptions, Ertz was playing with a heavy heart. His grandmother, Dede Adams, died in her sleep earlier that week at the age of 81. Lisa Ertz moved the funeral service and assured her son that it was OK to play. He wrote his grandmother's name on his wrist and had the amazing performance.
- Ertz is the oldest of four boys. One brother, Shane, was forced to give up football after suffering two concussions. Another brother, Nick, plays three sports at Trinity-Pawling School in New York, but had two back surgeries as a result of football. The youngest Ertz, Jackson, is an athletic 13-year-old.
- In his final year at Stanford, Ertz was a finalist for the John Mackey Award, which is given to the nation's best tight end, and became just the seventh player in Cardinal history to be unanimously named to the Associated Press All-America Team. Not even former teammate Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, earned that honor. Ertz was tied with Washington's Austin Seferin-Jenkin for the most receptions by a FBS tight end with 69, but Ertz's 898 receiving yards were the most by any FBS tight end last season.
- Ertz declared early for the 2013 NFL Draft, even though he had one year left of eligibility.
"It has been a dream of mine to play in the NFL for as long as I can remember, and I would not be in this position without my coaches, professors and everyone associated with the University," Ertz said when he left Stanford. "I will certainly be cheering loudest when we win the National Championship next year."
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