DITR: Zach Sims

Zach Sims is a 6’3 185lbs. Class of 2024 elite Quarterback out of Thompson High School in Alabaster, AL. The MVP Alabama High School Football Award winner and Hollis Wright Birmingham Player of the Week Zach Sims has accomplished many various successes in his young athletic career. During Zach’s sophomore year, he led the Thompson Warriors to a successful victory against Central in the AHSAA Class 7A state title game clenching a 38-22 win and securing their fourth consecutive championship before getting injured. But with Sim’s underlying passion as a team leader and his ability to overcome any adversity, he is on the road to recovery and leaves no doubt to secure that fifth title for Thompson. Sims has been on the college radar since his sophomore year after being officially offered by his first three schools: Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Columbia. Zach Sims portrays not only academic excellence in the classroom with a 4.3 GPA, but a very unique mental aspect to the game. In a 1-on-1 interview, Zach delivered a level of maturity, leadership, and mental toughness to the game that any coach in the next level would want for their program.

Q&A with Quarterback Zach Sims:

When did you start playing football and what sparked that interest in you?

I started playing tackle football when I was in 4th grade. The first sport I started playing was tee ball and then I started playing basketball, but then I began football and just fell in love with it.

What do you bring to the table for the Thompson Football program?

I think playing my position as a QB I bring leadership and accountability to the team.

 What was it like leading your team to state champions as an 8th grade QB and team leader?

It was a great experience as a whole for the team. As a team, we went through a lot of adversity together and I was dealing with shoulder problems this year and getting surgery after the season. All of us going through adversity as a whole you know it was something good to be a part of and really experience that together with the team following our adversity.

What is one of the greatest challenges you’ve faced and how did you overcome that adversity?

I would definitely say trying to play as many games as I could with the way my shoulder was feeling this season. It was the matter of being there for my team regardless how I was feeling was a struggle in trying to play through that injury and bounce back during the recovery process. I am about 2 months out, the first month was the roughest and it has definitely been an eye-opening experience with this serious injury. Recovery went well but it’s definitely been challenging for me mentally, but I know its beneficial in the long run in helping to develop that mental toughness. 

What do you believe to be one of your weaknesses and what are you doing to improve it?

One of my weaknesses I need to improve is being more vocal as a leader. I think for any leader you obviously have to lead by example at first, but I know I can get better at being vocal. I can also improve in every area of my game because you can always get better, you can never get satisfied with yourself. Consistently being vocal and holding everybody accountable is how I intend to improve that.

What is your favorite football memory thus far in your career?

I would say last year as a sophomore when playing the playoffs and having to come up in the state championship game and get us to a 14-point lead is probably my favorite football moment.

How do you remain calm when you find yourself working under pressure?

Our coach always mentioned that pressure is self-inflicted. You know it’s football at the end of day and somebody’s got to win, somebody got to lose. So, the way I think of it is to not worry or even think about pressure because it’s all self-inflicted. You got to go out there, have fun with it, and realize you’re not going to be perfect.

What do you think sets you apart from any other QB in your same position right now looking to play the next level?

What sets me apart is my mental toughness. I know that what I have been able to go through has made me more mentally tough and as an athlete, I think that is the most important thing. You know it doesn’t matter how talented you are because hard work is going to beat talent any day. For you to keep working hard you really got to have a strong mentality and get that notoriety and that comes from being mentally tough in order to keep going. Regardless of my talent and knowing how to read coverages, it’s really my mental toughness that sets me apart.

What are some of your dream schools and what will they get out of you as a player? What do you look for in a school?

I honestly never really had a dream school, I always wanted to play Power 5 but never had a dream school. What I look for in a school is great education, coaching staff, and a program that is known for producing great players and a great work ethic that develop players to be the best players in preparation for the next level. What they will get out of me as a player is commitment, you know a guy who is mentally tough, committed to hard work, and wants to get better each and every day.

How would your teammates and coaches describe you? Why?

They would describe me as a hard worker, somebody who is good on and off the field, and somebody you know you can count on.

Who serves as your biggest role models and why? 

My top 3 biggest role models are Tom Brady, Jalen Hurts, and Patrick Mahomes just because when they were coming up, nobody thought they would get to where they are now, and it is inspiring to know it took adversity to get there.

What are your preferred pre-game routines?

I listen to music, and I meditate by myself and take 10 minutes to sit in silence. I like to listen to gospel music; you know faith is a big part of my life so kind of just having some quiet time with God before a game. I make sure I get in a good pre-game meal and hydrate throughout the day and really get my mind right, stretching all that stuff.

On the top of your head, rank the top 3 priorities in your life right now.

My first priority is God, my faith, and my family. My second priority are my academics and schoolwork. My third priority is football.

What are some short terms and long-term goals you have as your senior year is approaching?

My short-term goals are getting healthy as quick as I can to get back to doing what I love, leading my team to a 5th state championship, and going out my senior year with a bang. My long-term goal is making it to the NFL and having a great career. I want to major in business and psychology so I can get to a point where I make it to the league and own a business to where I can advocate mental health and have a place where any kids, not just athletes, who are struggling or don’t have that support system at home can come and know their voices are heard. I want to have a good platform from playing in the NFL knowing it took a lot to get there and create that as an example for kids to look up to and make right decisions, and know they are never alone. In life we all go through hardships, but I want to make it known it is okay to talk about it.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to a young kid following his dream in your same footsteps?

I would say keep working because all the hard work is going to pay off. Keeping a relationship with God and holding onto your faith along the journey and if you think you can accomplish something then just believe in that. Bet on yourself, keep your head down, and have faith in yourself.