Coming out of high school, some football players are labeled as athletes because they do not fit well into any one position.
Jay Ziglor carries the athlete label because he fits well into many positions.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Harrison senior starts at running back and cornerback, but he also lines up at slot receiver, wide receiver, safety, kick returner and punt rusher.
Ziglor could probably play any number of other positions, but Hoyas coach Matt Dickmann would rather give his multi-tool talent the occasional rest.
“A lot of people, they’ll play kids both ways, but they’re really better on one side or the other. He’s good on both sides,” Dickmann said of Ziglor, a member of the 2020 Marietta Daily Journal Dynamite Dozen. “He could play at a high level at any college on both sides. That’s just how talented he is.”
Ziglor has started as a tailback-slotback hybrid in the Dickmann’s Wing-T spread offense since his sophomore season.
“Coach Dickmann has me doing pretty much everything because I learned mostly everything freshman and sophomore year,” Ziglor said. “Ever since then, he’s been throwing me around where he needs me.”
As a junior, Ziglor rushed for 673 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns.
He became a starter at defensive back last season when Harrison was forced to overcome injuries in the team’s Class AAAAAA state championship run.
“When I was younger, I always played both sides,” Ziglor said. “This time, they needed help at corner, so I went to corner and I proved myself out there in the game.”
Dickmann, who estimated that Ziglor played 110 plays in each of Harrison’s final four games of the season, said he will make sure Ziglor gets some rest during games this year.
Ziglor, though, said he can handle a high snap count because of Dickmann’s conditioning program. He said he is excited to start on both sides of the ball, and he is once again prepared to play wherever Dickmann puts him.
“With playing multiple positions, the main thing is to be coachable and to be moldable,” Ziglor said. “On the defensive side, I was thrown in the third round of the playoffs at corner. I went out and executed because I was very moldable and I was ready. Stay ready.”
Dickmann said a lot of Ziglor’s versatility lies in his great hands and his physicality.
“He’s one of the best overall athletes that I’ve seen because he can play either side of the ball at a high level,” Dickmann said.
Dickmann also said that playing defensive back likely makes Ziglor better at setting up against defensive backs, and playing receiver has made Ziglor better at covering receivers man-to-man.
Ziglor’s skills as an athlete allowed him to attract 30 Division I scholarship offers, but he ultimately decided on Vanderbilt, making the decision Wednesday. Ziglor said programs have looked at him at multiple positions, but it does not matter where coaches want to put him.
“I don’t have a favorite position. I kind of view both sides, offense and defense, as alike,” Ziglor said.
However, before heading to the Southeastern Conference, he has a state championship to defend.
“We still have a target on our backs, and people underestimate us,” Ziglor said. “I think my main thing is I want to go out and execute and prove everybody wrong again.”