Emphasizing ‘A Natural Style of Kicking and Punting’®, Coach Zauner’s teaching philosophy facilitates an environment where kicking specialists develop the skills, technique, and confidence to achieve their maximum physical and mental potential. At an amateur and professional level, Coach Zauner, LLC programs and events provide a kicker, punter or snapper ‘A Specialist’s Path to PRO Football'®...Coach Zauner, LLC Mission Statement

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Army Committment vs NFL Career

Jeremy Jonas (U.S. Army) After One on One Snapping Evaluation

For some of my athletes, Sunday was a day dedicated to rest, and as much as part of me would've loved to join in the relaxation. I had work to do. I was meeting with a young man by the name of Jeremy Jonas. I knew a thing or two about him prior to our first evaluation session together. I knew he was an incredibly efficient long snapper. I knew he was 25 years young and he probably took a lot of heat for having the same last name as a trio of Disney singers.
What I didn't know is that I would learn as much from as he would from me.

Jeremy is a Midwest boy, born and raised in a small suburb of Ohio. His long snapping career (no pun intended) began in middle school, and after his years of playing at an elite level, he was offered a handful of Division 1 scholarships. Upon high school graduation, Jeremy made a choice that would not only impact the next four years, but change his entire life.

Jeremy opted to attend the United States Military Academy.

There are few people that willingly put themselves in a situation that inevitably brings upon the biggest challenge they will ever face, but Jeremy did just that.

He could have chosen a school that required only passing grades to remain on the team. He could’ve chosen a school without strict rules and a notoriously challenging curriculum—a school that didn't require a multiple-year commitment to serve in a war overseas. Sure, it would have been easier. But, that’s not how Jeremy Jonas is built.

If you ever ask him what the catalyst was behind his decision he admits, “I know it sounds really cliché, believe me. But, I felt honored and proud to have the opportunity to serve for my country.” I could hear it a thousand times but never believe it as much as when he said it.

Jeremy’s opportunity to serve came in the summer of 2011 when he was deployed to Iraq. His two years of active duty came after two seasons of football as the long snapper for the Army’s football team. Two very impressive seasons.

During his tenure with the Army, Jeremy made it a point to do the exact opposite of what most 20-year old sports stars kill for—to stay out of the spotlight. Perhaps wisely so.
Jeremy's view and perspective as a snapper is a little upside down
Kickers, punters and snappers aren’t typically considered very “glamorous” positions. In all honesty, often the only attention afforded to specialists is in the form of vindication. Jeremy figured that as a snapper keeping a low-profile meant you were doing your job and doing it well. Jeremy kept a low-profile 74 out of 74 times in his 2008 season with Army. 

After putting together such an impressive season, Jeremy garnered a different kind of attention, the good kind. Not only were college coaches and teams noticing him, but NFL personnel began raising their eyebrows.
Wouldn’t be the first time…
When he was younger, Jeremy was afforded the opportunity to work with Brad St. Louis, who at the time was the long snapper for Cincinnati.
“I remember snapping a couple times for him and he complimented me on my form. He told me to go after it”.  
At the time, Brad was a veteran in the league. He played week in and week out against the strongest, fastest athletes in the country...and he saw something in Jeremy.
Wouldn’t be the last time…
In 2005, while Jeremy was attending a kicking camp in Kentucky, Ray Guy, Oakland Raiders (arguably the greatest punter of all-time) called him up on stage. Out of all the prospective athletes in attendance, Ray chose him to demonstrate proper technique.
Jeremy’s gift was always evident—even to the best of the best. 
Jeremy works Long Snapping Technique with Drew Butler (U. of Georgia)
In 2009, Jeremy was forced to make yet another difficult decision about his future. He decided to forgo his senior football season in order to graduate with his peers as a Field Artillery Officer.  Following graduation, he attended Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and shortly thereafter was stationed at Fort Bliss, TX.

Jeremy Jonas in Iraq - Gave Up a Football for a Gun
In the summer of 2011, he was deployed to Mosul, Iraq.

'I cannot articulate what the experience in Iraq has done for me as a person and how it changed every aspect of my life for the better."

Almost two years have passed since Jeremy made the choice to honor his commitment to the military and relinquish one more season of football. His passion and dedication to being a member of the United States Military is glaringly apparent and he is undoubtedly prepared to spend a lifetime serving his country. But, he may have some unfinished business.

We've experienced it; that little voice in your head that just never seems to go away. that voice (perhaps Ray's or Brad's) in Jeremy's head urging him to give football one last shot. One last REAL shot. 

"I'd like to be afforded this opportunity. I want to give it 100%. I want to do everything I can to become the best I can be and see where it can take me…I'd regret it if I didn't."
Jeremy Jonas Works Perfect Laces Drill With Drew Butler
Over the years, athletes have come to me at pivotal points in their lives for a myriad of reasons. In speaking with Jeremy, I came to realize he has never actually had specialized, personalized training to help develop his technique and polish his skills. He sought me out because he believed I could help put him in the best position to silence that relentless knocking on the door and discover whether or not he has what it takes to play at the next level. 

Regardless of what lies ahead for Jeremy on the football field, I feel lucky to have had the chance to meet a young man with such a high caliber of character and class. My goal as a kicking coach and mentor is always to inspire the athletes I work with, and I truly believe the story of Jeremy Jonas is worthy of sharing. I look forward to continuing to work with him and wish him nothing but the very best in all of his future endeavors. 

Jeremy is working hard to get in football shape to attend my Free Agent Specialist's Combine, March 20, 2012. 

Jeremy Jones and Coach Zauner After a Long Snapping Evaluation in Phoenix, Arizona

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