Recruitment road: Northwest Whitfield defensive lineman hopes to earn scholarship through hard work

Matt Hamilton/Daily Citizen-News

Northwest Whitfield High School's Zach Costlow serves as the anchor on Northwest's tug-of-war team during a recent competition at Southeast Whitfield. Costlow earned Daily Citizen-News All-Area first team honors last season as a junior.

Editor's note: Follow the Daily Citizen-News sports department for recruiting features on local high school football players each Friday this summer. Rising seniors with the potential to play at the next level will answer questions leading up to football season this fall.

Although he holds no college scholarship offers heading into his senior year, Northwest Whitfield High School's Zach Costlow hasn't given up on playing college football.

After finishing last season with 64 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and eight quarterback hurries, the 6-foot, 270-pound rising senior earned first-team all-region honors in Region 6-4A along with being named to the Daily Citizen-News All-Area first team.

Costlow plays defensive tackle  in the middle of the Bruins' 3-4 defense. He said he knows what it will take to earn a chance to play in college heading into his final year of high school football.

Daily Citizen-News: Have you been in communication with any schools? Do you have any formal offers yet?

Costlow: I’ve talked with Presbyterian College, Shorter University, Berry College, and I just received a letter from Yale University. I don't have any offers yet.

DCN: What do teams say when they first come to talk with you?

Costlow: They ask about my GPA, ask me what I’m looking for in a college. They ask me about my ACT and SAT scores. That type of stuff. My GPA is a 3.5, and I just took the ACT and haven’t received the results back yet.

DCN: What’s it like when you’re sitting in class and you get pulled out by a college recruiter?

Costlow: It’s pretty cool when you’re just sitting in class and you have a college coach come by just wanting to talk with you. It was definitely a surprise that first time when Shorter came to talk with me in person. They were the first school to talk with me.

DCN: How did it feel getting a letter from Yale?

Costlow: I mean, I didn’t expect it. My friends were joking around with me about it, but yeah, It’s pretty cool.

DCN: Have you been to any camps this summer or are you planning on going to any?

Costlow: I went to the (University of) Tennessee one recently, and I went to the one at Mercer. I went to a showcase down in Atlanta, too. I go to a lot of those during the summer.

DCN: Can any players attend those type of events? How do those work for you as a defensive lineman? What kind of things are they asking you to do?

Costlow: Some of them are invite only and some you can just show up. For defensive linemen, they want to see your hand speed and your speed off the ball (at the snap). They want to see how you move your hips (when trying to elude a block).

DCN: Has it always been your dream to play college football? When did you realize it could be a real possibility for you?

Costlow: It’s been a goal of mine ever since I was little. Last year, I think it really hit me that if I try hard enough, and put myself out there, I could go somewhere and play in college.

DCN: What do you think is going to make the difference for you? What do you think your strengths as a player are, and what do you think you need to work on?

Costlow: I think my work ethic, and how hard I’m willing to work is going to make the difference. I think my hands are pretty good when I come off the ball, but I need to get better with my hips. On the pass rush, coaches want me to flip my hips through to beat the defender. I need to get better at that, so I’ve been focusing on that at practice.

DCN: What are your goals for the upcoming season?

Costlow: For the team, I want us to make a run at a state championship. I think that’s every team’s goal. Personally, I want to be the all-region and all-area player like I was last year. I want to double my stats from last year, and be up there in tackles. Basically, to have a really good season.

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