Senior Linebacker Zane Zandier Looking To Help Virginia Football Get Back On Track

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Pro Football Focus keeps a “STOP” stat, which they define as “tackles that constitute a ‘failure’ for the offense.”

It is fitting that a player with the nickname of “ZZ Stop” has excelled in this category for the University of Virginia football defense.

Inside linebacker Zane Zandier led the Hoos in STOPs in 2019, racking up 47, which was 10 more than the next Cavalier defender (Charles Snowden). Zandier is one of two Virginia players with double-digit STOPs so far in 2020. He has 11 while fellow inside linebacker Nick Jackson leads the way with 17.

The 6’3”, 230-pound senior has established himself as a force on the Virginia defense the past few seasons. As a junior last season, he led the Hoos in defensive snaps played (855 according to PFF) and 108 total tackles, adding 12.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, and an interception return for a touchdown. Zandier started all 14 of Virginia’s games after starting eight of 13 games played as a sophomore in 2018.

The 2019 All-ACC honorable mention pick has been reliable production-wise, but the intangibles he brings are equally as important.

Zane Zandier made plays all game long in Virginia football’s 2020 season opener against Duke, earning ACC Linebacker of the Week honors. ~ Photo courtesy Matt Riley/Virginia Athletics Media Relations

“Zane’s not always doing the right thing, but he’s always going really hard,” Virginia defensive coordinator Nick Howell said with a laugh in