By: Jennifer Mageary
A former star running back from St. John’s Prep is now attracting attention from NFL scouts and agents.
Chris Zardas, now a senior fullback at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, had an outstanding season that could be leading to an NFL career for the Wakefield resident.
After being medically redshirted his freshman season because of torn ligaments in his shoulder, as well ass other injuries in his knees throughout his college career, Zardas worked with trainers at UMass Amherst to prepare for future seasons.
“I went through a lot of rehab and a lot of strength training to get back into shape. It was a lot harder than I expected and took pretty much a full year to get back to my full strength and capabilities,” said Zardas.
Being redshirted allowed him to apply for a waiver to play for another season, but Zardas opted out of it.
“I had a decent year and I was lucky to get so much attention from the NFL scouts. I think I have a good shot at making it,” he said.
His father, Gary, was a standout basketball and baseball player in Chelsea. Zardas said his father is a big influence in his trying out for the NFL.
“I’ve always had a ball in my hand, whether it be a baseball, basketball or football, and my dad was a big part of that. He’s still very involved. He’s been to every single game since I was 7.”
Zardas attended the UMass Pro Day on March 25, where at least 20 NFL teams were represented as they watched prospective draft picks run drills.
“I’m very happy with how the Pro Day went. It was great to be back in Amherst with all of the guys who were also trying out,” he said.
Though playing in the NFL is his ultimate goal, Zardas is realistic about his chances of making it. He is a construction methods and materials major, which deals with hands on building and construction, but says he is looking towards a military lifestyle in the Marine Corps if the NFL doesn’t work out.
Zardas has gone from high school superstar and college great to possible NFL draft pick. His hard work and dedication to his dreams have made them a reality, and he encourages anyone with a dream to pursue it.
“Just keep working hard. Even with setbacks, keep a strong faith. Stay dedicated to your dream and it will stay alive.”