Zach Duprey admits he made it onto the field for the football team at Elon University sooner than even he was expecting.
"UNC game, first play of my college career, I don't think I can put it into words," said Duprey, a rising sophomore tight end for the Phoenix. "It was definitely, I was blessed for the opportunity."
Duprey -- an All-Bull Run District and All-Region B selection as a senior at William Monroe High School in 2011 -- ended up playing in eight games as a true freshman at Elon last season.
A year later, Duprey will enter preseason camp listed as one of two starters in Elon's two-tight end sets. And he says mentally, he's much more prepared to get on the field this season.
"Knowing the offense. That was the biggest thing for me coming in freshman year," he said. "Just learning the complexity of the offense was, I struggled with it at first. But now, with a full fall and spring ball in, going into camp I'm confident."
Duprey has spent most of the summer working out with teammates at Elon. He's currently back home in central Virginia for a week, and spent Friday running routes with Joe Sanford from The Athelite Factory.
Duprey reports back to Elon next Friday. And he says he's ready to get to work.
"We brought on some new freshman tight ends that are really good, really talented. So personally, I like the competition," he said. "I have a lot of high expectations, so I'm ready for it. I got a lot of good playing time freshman year. So I'm looking to raise the standards this year."
The Phoenix went just 3-8 in Duprey's freshman season, ending the year on a four-game losing streak. On Wednesday, Elon was picked to finish eighth, in its final season in the nine-team Southern Conference.
But Duprey is confident that Elon will be a better team in 2013.
"We got a new strength coach, and he was awesome. Got a lot of good work in," he explained. "So the team is looking a lot bigger, faster, and stronger. We're kind of underdogs in the SoCon. And we're loving that, so we can prove you guys (the media) wrong."