On Wednesday, May 14 at 7:49 p.m., Augusta Christian’s Zach Giella tweeted, “I committed to play football at Clemson University!” and things have been on the fast track since.
As well as continuing to work out, preparing for his final season with the Lions and upcoming stint with the Tigers, Giella has been taking summer classes and plans to graduate before the end of the calender year. That will allow him to get to Clemson in the spring.
“I’m beyond excited,” said the Lions’ 6-foot-6 inch, 290-pound offensive lineman. “It’s been my dream to play college football and seeing it unfold like it is and having the oppportunity to be able to leave early. God’s blessed me with that and I’m very happy with the decision and the opportunity that I have.”
Giella was also considering Louisiana State, Ole Miss, Duke and Kentucky. LSU was the leader for a while, but the distance changed his mind.
“My family is going to be able to come see me play every week and that’s a great feeling,” said Giella.
With a dream of playing in the NFL after college, Giella made the decision to forego other athletic pursuits and concentrate on the sport he began when he was 6-years-old.
“I played baseball when I was little and then I started basketball in middle school,” Giella said. “I played baseball and basketball up to 10th grade. I was just trying to focus on football, stay in the weight room and everything.”
Football has always been special to him for a variety of reasons.
“I love the team aspect of it, no one man is the team, we’ve all got to work together,” Giella said. “I’ve always liked the brutality of being able to hit people and me being a big kid.”
If there is one key to his success that he would pass on, it would be putting in the time and effort.
“Every coach has told me and everybody I’ve talked to, they’ve said I have a good work ethic,” Giella said. “I’m always in the weight room. I’m practically living up there trying to get stronger every day and I’m always out here on the field running and trying to do something productive and I’ve been working hard in the classroom, keeping my grades up. I think work ethic is No. 1.”
Lions’ head football coach Keith Walton rattled off a list of Giella’s positive attributes.
“Great leadership, intensity, power, integrity,” Walton said. “All those intangibles that every coach talks about, that is him. He’s put in his time. He’s been the grunt work guy, the clean up the field guy, the everybody pick on me guy, transitioning to becoming a man, so it’s awesome to see.”
He also liked the way Giella took junior lineman Michael McAlvin somewhat under his wing as others did for him.
“When we went to Auburn, the coaches wanted to sit down with Zach and show him some stuff on the board,” Walton said. “Zach made sure McAlvin was with him. He’s done a very good job of doing that. Tyler (Roberson) did it for him then he wanted to make sure to do it for somebody else. That’s pretty cool.”
Whatever happens his senior year, Giella will look back on his time at Augusta Christian with great fondness.
“I loved every second of it,” Giella said. “We won some, for sure and then we lost some. I had a great time, I met great people. Coach Walton is probably one of my best mentors through life. He’s helped me turn into a really great man and he is a great man and I’ve really enjoyed spending time with him and all my friends and my class.”