Zachary Hoerter had an uncommon opinion about the COVID-19 pandemic on his recruiting process.
"COVID was definitely a blessing in disguise," Hoerter said. "It opened up a part of me I didn’t know I had. I worked harder than a lot of the other kids out there. I utilized my social media to post videos and contact coaches and expand my brand and my name."
Hoerter, a senior at Floyd High School, committed to play football at Stony Brook University as a part of the 2020 Early National Signing Day on Wednesday. The 6-3, 315-pound offensive guard said he received offers from schools such as Fordham, LIU, Central Connecticut, Sacred Heart and Bryant and was speaking with others, but ultimately, Stony Brook felt like the right fit for him.
"Stony Brook was the offer I was waiting for the whole time," Hoerter said. "And I did not want to pass up on that."
But the pandemic still altered Hoerter’s recruiting. He saw Stony Brook before the shutdowns, but wasn’t able to see all the schools he was considering. And without a high school football season this fall, he needed to get creative with getting his name out to schools. For this, he turned to social media.
He’d post highlight tapes, blocking technique videos and weight-lifting workouts. If you scroll down his Twitter and Instagram workout page, you’ll find him pushing trucks, bench pressing nearly 300 pounds, squatting more than 300 pounds and deadlifting more than 600 pounds.
"You just tag whatever coach you want and there’s a chance they’ll see it," Hoerter said. "If they don’t see it, oh well, but there’s a chance they will and no matter what, it’s going to be a positive."
Hoerter, who started at Floyd since his sophomore year, admitted some frustrations with the pandemic’s role in his recruitment, but he didn’t allow that to slow him down. He said although part of him wanted to go away to school, he still thinks even if more places showed interest, Stony Brook would have been his best fit. Also, he’s excited that now his family gets to see him play in person often.
"Part of me wanted to go away to school but as my recruiting process went on, I just thought Stony Brook would be a better fit than the other schools that offered me," he said. "And I didn’t want to lose the opportunity of a lifetime with them."
Hoerter was one of eight signees for Stony Brook Wednesday. LIU also had 10 players sign Wednesday, but none were from Long Island.