Notre Dame, IN (UHND.com) – Senior safety and defensive captain Tom Zbikowski didn’t play a down as a freshman in 2003 which would allow him to return for a fifth year in 2007, but heading into the Sugar Bowl, the Illinois native is unsure whether he will come back or move on to the NFL this April.
“No, I’m still getting ready for the Bowl game. I haven’t put much thought into it. I’m really getting ready for the Bowl game, just getting ready for the game,” was Zibby’s response the first time the question of coming back next year was posed to him on Wednesday.
Last year tight end Anthony Fasano was in a similar situation to Zbikowski. For Fasano, he decided early that he would leave for the NFL if he was projected to be picked in the fist three rounds of the draft. Zbikowski has no such plan heading into his decision. “I wish I knew. I wish I knew what I was doing. I really don’t know. I haven’t really put much thought into it. It’s probably not a good idea since that’s my future,” Zbikowski told the media earlier today/
Zbikowski instead is focusing entirely on the upcoming Sugar Bowl showdown with LSU before he decides whether or not to come back. “I want to get ready for this game. I want this BCS win more than anything. I’ll decide what I’m going to do later, but I haven’t really thought about what would swing me either way.”
Zibby is not short on advice on the situation either. “Everyone has got their own opinion. You know, you try to listen to both sides to see what your best option is. But in the end I’ll do what I feel is best for me and what I feel comfortable with.”
Where Zbikowski would be drafted is anyone’s guess right now. Mock drafts all over the internet have Zibby all over the place. Some people project him as a potential first round pick while other think he is a marginal first day selection.
The knock on Zbikowski the last two years is his propensity for giving up the big play because of his over aggressive run coverage. Zibby is susceptible to the play action and has been burned deep numerous times the last couple of seasons.
Some have suggested that the added weight for his boxing bout last summer effected his speed and agility on the field this year. This has led to widespread speculation across the Notre Dame message boards about whether or not Zbikowski should be playing linebacker instead of safety.
Oddly enough, there has also been a lot of rumblings across the boards of fans preferring Zibby moves on to the NFL. Normally, fans would rejoice if a three year starter and reigning defensive captain was considering returning for another year, but this has not been the case with Zbikowski this year.
With a lack of experience on defense next year, however, the return of Zbikowksi would be a boost for a defense that is still very much a work in progress. Some would argue that the best way to continue progressing towards a more formidable defense would be to continue infusing new talent across the board, but Zbikowski adds a swagger to the defense that few other starters possess.
Notre Dame is not just lacking in the speed department on defense, they are also lacking in the swagger. Zibby is one of a few defenders who have that swagger you look for in a defense.
Either way, it won’t be known for a few weeks if Zbikowski will return or not, but for now, Zbikowski said, “I’ve kept both my options open. Once again, I’m just not sure which way yet.”