Coach Speak: Churchill Head Coach Joe Rydzewski on WR Zeke Avit

Maryland landed another in-state pledge after Churchill wide receiver Zeke Avit became the 21st pledge in the Terps’ 2023 class.

Avit, a transfer from Urbana, joined Churchill last fall and was known as a standout basketball prospect but it was after he put the pads on when head coach Joe Rydzewski knew he had himself a difference maker. “I didn’t know he was a football prospect. We knew his brother David definitely played football but I did some investigating, I got to see his film and obviously, he flashes,” Rydzewski told Inside the Black and Gold. “He’s 6-foot-3 and runs like a deer, on the basketball court he’s jumping out of the gym. You start digging a little bit and see what he does on the football field and it’s just, having a player like that enter your program is outstanding.”

Alongside New Jersey wideout Josh Richards, Avit gives the receiver room another big-framed prospect with a high ceiling. It’s evident that the athleticism that Avit flashed on the hardwood has helped him show flashes as an outside receiver who can come down with the one-on-one balls. Though not known nationally, Avit flashed those traits through a pair of camps back in June and gradually became a rising target for wide receiver coach Gunter Brewer and outside linebacker coach James Thomas Jr. Rydzewski has seen Avit take the next step with aspirations of becoming the MoCo Player of the Year.

“Any ball is catchable because of that skillset of that range, his wingspan, ability to go up and get it and there’s no doubt that comes from playing multiple sports. He has that unique combination of size, toughness, speed agility and he’s already made some exciting, outstanding plays in our training camp so far.”

Maryland was the lone Power Five program to offer but another Big Ten school was showing strong interest through the summer and hoped to see him in-person after the summer dead period, but Avit had other plans. “Penn State really wanted him to come to their last camp before the dead period but he wanted to go on the unofficial to Maryland. He really enjoys the time he’s gotten to spend with those coaches and some of the guys there. I think Maryland is doing an excellent job with him.”

Avit hauled in two touchdowns in Churchill’s last scrimmage and could see a rise in production through the fall, but off the field, Rydzewski is starting to see Avit become more outspoken through the grind. “He’s starting to come out of his shell. He was such a quiet kid but you see he’s a fun kid to be around. Because he does it so quietly…you see it over time, he outworks everybody.”

Avit is not yet rated by On3.

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