|No. 34 – Detroit Lions|
September 13, 1991 |
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||221 lb (100 kg)|
|High school:||Eagan (MN)|
|College:||South Dakota State|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2017|
Zachary Zenner, also known as Big Z, (born September 13, 1991) is an American football running back for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at South Dakota State.
Zenner attended Eagan High School in Eagan, Minnesota. While at Eagan High School, he played for the football team. As a senior in 2009, he was a finalist for the Minnesota Mr. Football Award after posting an average of 8.9 yards per carry, along with 1,181 rushing yards, 122 receiving yards, and 17 total touchdowns. He earned All-Metro Honors, and Academic All-State on several teams. In addition, Zenner was a member of the state tournament qualifying Eagan baseball team in 2009. In 2010, Zenner led the team in batting average, posting a batting average of .537. He led the team in stolen bases as well.
Zenner attended South Dakota State University from 2010 to 2014. South Dakota State was the only Division I program to offer Zenner a scholarship. During this time, he was a member of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits football team, wearing number 31. After his redshirt year, he began to take on his role with the team, including working on returning kicks, with positive growth and success. His 2012 campaign was a breakout year, highlighted in the first game against the Kansas Jayhawks with a 99-yard touchdown run. Zenner rushed for at least 2,000 yards during each of the 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons.
Coming out of college, many analysts had Zenner projected to be drafted in the fifth or sixth round. He was rated as the second best fullback in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP||Wonderlic|
|5 ft 11 in
|9 5⁄8 in
|4.60 s||1.64 s||2.71 s||4.14 s||6.88 s||41 in
|10 ft 1 in
|All values from NFL Combine, short shuttle from Pro Day|
After Zenner went undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Lions. On May 2, 2015, the Detroit Lions signed him to a three-year, $1.58 million contract with a $5,000 signing bonus.
Zenner entered training camp competing for the fourth running back on the Lions' depth chart with George Winn. Zenner ultimately won the position, leading the NFL in rushing yards during the preseason, and went into the regular season as the backup behind Joique Bell, Theo Riddick, and Ameer Abdullah.
Zenner made his professional regular season debut in the Lions' season opener at the San Diego Chargers, finishing with two carries for six rushing yards. On October 5, 2015, he carried the ball twice for nine yards and made his first career reception on a four-yard pass from Matt Stafford during a 10-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The following week, Zenner earned his first career start and had a season-high ten carries for 30 rushing yards against the Arizona Cardinals. On October 18, 2015, Zenner had three rushing attempts for nine rushing yards during a 34-37 overtime victory over the Chicago Bears. He left during the game after he suffered an apparent injury to his chest. It was later revealed he had suffered multiple fractured ribs and a collapsed lung. On October 30, 2015, the Detroit Lions placed him on injured-reserve for the remainder of his rookie season.
During the 2016 training camp, Zenner competed for the third backup running back position with rookie Dwayne Washington. He was named the fourth running back on the depth chart to begin the season, behind Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, and Dwayne Washington. He was inactive for the first two games of the season but was activated for Week 3, after Abudllah suffered a fracture to his foot. During the Lions' Week 4 divisional matchup against the Chicago Bears, Zenner had three carries for 12 rushing yards and one 22-yard reception in the 14-17 loss. On October 16, 2016, he earned his first start of the season and finished with a career-high 14 rushing attempts for 58 rushing yards and caught two passes for 14 receiving yards during a 31-28 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. The following week, he ran for 29 rushing yards on nine carries and scored his first career touchdown on a one-yard run in the third quarter of a 20-16 win against the Washington Redskins. On December 26, 2016, in a Monday Night Football game, Zenner had 12 carries for 67 rushing yards and a career-high two rushing touchdowns in the first half of the Lions' 21-42 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Although he found success in the first half, he did not receive any carries for the rest of the game. He was the only running back to carry the ball for the Lions in the next two games, scoring a touchdown in a home game against the Packers to end the regular season.
Zenner was married in 2016. After scoring 30 on the MCAT, he was admitted the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, but deferred entry to play in the NFL. While on injured reserve, Zenner researched the effects of fructose on hypertension at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
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