All-World preseason football contest: Broken Arrow’s Zach Marcheselli tops linebacker rankings | Footballhs

During the 2016-17 school year, Wagoner’s Malcolm Rodriguez and Oologah’s Brock Martin were All-World finalists in football and wrestling.

Rodriguez won the All-World boys athlete of the year award while Martin was named the defensive player of the year in football before they moved on to Oklahoma State’s football program.

Broken Arrow’s Zach Marcheselli, a Texas Christian football commit, is a strong candidate to achieve similar honors during the upcoming athletic year.

Marcheselli is a three-time wrestling state champion and was an All-World wrestler of the year finalist for the past season. In football, Marcheselli will be a three-year starter for the Tigers and he’s one of the fastest players on the team — as well illustrated by him being used as a kickoff returner and catching a winning TD pass against Owasso as a sophomore.

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After being No. 4 last summer, Marcheselli moves on top of the All-World preseason linebacker rankings going into his senior year. Rankings are based on past performance, projected 2018 production and college potential.

Broken Arrow coach David Alexander loves Marcheselli’s intangibles.

“Zach is obviously very physically tough,” Alexander said. “But I’ve always believed that mental toughness is really a football player’s best asset. Zach is so mentally tough, you can see that with his wrestling background. To be on that mat by yourself and perform, his confidence in himself is very high.”

Marcheselli, who had 111 tackles last season, is a believer that he wouldn’t have achieved as much football and wrestling success if he had only specialized in one sport.

“I think wrestling has made me a better football player in tackling, and that work ethic translates to football also,” Marcheselli said.

Marcheselli often was the best player on the field in Broken Arrow’s games last season.

“He knows he’s as big fast and strong as anybody on the field and he wants every challenge we can give him,” Alexander said. “He’s got that kind of God-given ability where he can dominate half the football field, he can take away the run to that side, he can run so fast he can play in coverage, he can blitz.”

Although Broken Arroiw lost 21-0 to Union in the 6AI semifinals last year, Alexander smiles when he remembers Marcheselli’s effort in that game.

“He had 12 tackles, four behind the line,” Alexander said. “He was everywhere in that game.

“He has a chance to have a dominant year.”

The next two players in the rankings also could be ready for dominant seasons — No. 2 Earenest Grayson III of Jenks and No. 3 Ethan Hall of Bixby.

Jenks coach Keith Riggs said about Grayson, who also will see action at tight end: “He really worked hard in the weight room and we’re really excited for his senior season. A kid that big and long, we want to take advantage of his strengths and get some good matchups (as a tight end).”

Hall, who had a strong sophomore season to help Bixby win the 6AII state title in 2016, was limited to four games last year.

“I’m so excited about Ethan,” Bixby coach Loren Montgomery said. “He probably had as good a spring as anybody we had. He’s just turned the corner. He worked so hard and he gained a bunch of weight.

“He got hurt Week 4 last year and didn’t play the rest of the year. We don’t have anyone who can block him. He’s long and he’s just a naturally good football player.”

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