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Oviedo's All American

Featured Photo from Oviedo's All American

Fresh from an appearance in the All-American Bowl, Hagerty High’s Jacob Zuhr is long-snapping his way to greatness on the gridiron

Jacob Zuhr loves to play football, but he knew at a young age he probably wasn’t going to be big enough to play his original position – offensive lineman – in college. And he would be right. The average big-time college lineman stands about 6-feet, 4-inches tall and weighs 300 pounds.

But, lucky for Jacob, a 6-0, 205-pound senior at Hagerty High School, he found a position that was a perfect fit for him: long snapper.

It’s not a glamorous role, like quarterback or linebacker, but it is an important one. Long snappers typically make five-to-10 appearances in every game, lining up at the center position on the offensive line and hiking the ball about 15 yards to the punter or about seven yards to the holder on extra-point and field-goal attempts.

“Basically, how it started, was my Pop Warner coach needed a long snapper for punts and extra points,” says Jacob, 18, who was about 12 years old at the time. “I started messing around, snapping the ball with one hand, and I was pretty good at it. Then I found out that you could go to college and even the NFL as a long snapper!”

With the unwavering support of his parents, Jasmin and Don, Jacob became fully committed to becoming the best long snapper he could be. Jasmin did some research and discovered a trainer based in Idaho, Chris Rubio, who travels around the country teaching the art of long snapping. Jacob began diligently attending several long-snapping camps every year, and before long, he was rated as one of the top long snappers in the country.

When Jacob was in eighth grade at Lawton Chiles Middle School, he was rated #1 in the nation (for players in the 2020 high-school graduating class) by Football University, an organization that runs camps and events for serious middle-school and high-school players. Jacob remained nationally ranked in the top three among long snappers in his age group throughout his high-school career at Hagerty.

This past fall, all Jacob’s hard work paid off. After making an unofficial visit to Wake Forest University in early November, Jacob was offered a full scholarship to play for the Demon Deacons, and he signed an official letter of intent in December. He was also selected to play in the prestigious All-American Bowl, which was held in San Antonio, Texas, on January 4 and was nationally televised by NBC.

As an eighth grader, in 2016, Jacob also played in the youth version of the All-American game.

“A lot of people go through life looking for what makes them feel fulfilled, what their thing is, and Jacob found that at a young age,” mom Jasmin says. “He has a lot of natural ability, coupled with his work ethic. And we didn’t have to tell him to do it. We just stood beside him and guided him.”

“I’m almost a perfectionist,” says Jacob. “I drive myself. I’m always striving to be better.”

Growing up in Oviedo, Jacob was always an athletic kid. In addition to football, he played soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and hockey.

“I kind of did it all,” he says.

By the time he started high school, though, Jacob decided to concentrate on football, which he began playing at age five for the Hagerty Pop Warner program. Jacob played his first high-school season on Hagerty’s freshman team, and then after the short freshman season was over, he was moved up to the varsity squad. He became the starting long snapper for the Huskies as a sophomore and held the position for the next  three years.

“Long snapping is a specialty,” Jacob says. “I try to be perfect – put the ball in the same spot each time. It’s about consistency. I think it’s fun. It’s a challenge. And for me, it’s opened up a lot of doors and experiences.”

The best experience so far for Jacob was the All-American game, which features 100 of the nation’s top senior football players for an annual game at the 64,000-seat Alamodome (about 20,000 fans attended this year’s game). Jacob spent six days in Texas, enjoying a variety of festivities, and was joined by his parents for the last four days.

Jacob is hoping his football success continues in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when he starts his college career at Wake Forest this fall.

“I just want to become the best overall athlete I can and contribute to the team as much as possible,” Jacob says. “Sometimes it’s hard to contribute as a long snapper, but as long as I do my job, I feel like I am contributing.”

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