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#79 Jim Zdelar (May 24, 1966-Feb. 1, 1993)
by YSU Sports Information
Tuesday, Jan 1, 2013 11:38 am
#79 Jim Zdelar (May 24, 1966-Feb. 1, 1993)

Former Youngstown State University offensive lineman and 1999 YSU Athletics Hall of Fame lnductee Jim Zdelar started a fine tradition of great offensive lineman at YSU when he began his career in 1987 after transferring from the University of Pittsburgh.

In two seasons, Zdelar guided the Penguins to their first NCAA I???AA playoff appearance in 1987, the second season under head coach Jim Tressel.

The Penguins finished the regular season at 8-3 and advanced to face Northern Iowa in the playoffs. The Penguins fell, 31-28, to the Panthers, but the ground work was laid.

In 1987, Zdelar was a driving force on an offense line that helped average 343.7 yards per game in total offense, including 206.4 yards per game passing and 137.3 yards per game rushing.

Zdelar received numerous accolades during two his years as a Penguin. A team captain in 1988, Zdelar had his best season with the Penguins. While the Penguins struggled to a 4-7 record, Zdelar was busy earning post-season accolades.

The 6-foot-5, 281 -pound monster, who was considered one of the strongest players in school history during his time, was a first-team Associated Press and Football Gazette All-American. He was also a first-team selection to the Poor Man's Guide to the NFL Draft.

In the spring ofof1998, Zdelar was given the Mitka Fitness Award, which was awarded to the Penguin football player who exemplifies excellence in leadership both on and off the field, shows concern for his off-season conditioning and exceeds all weight lifting requirements at his respective position.

During the 1988 season, Youngstown State averaged 169.4 yards per game onthe ground and 138.8 yards per game through the air for a total of 308.2 yards per game in total offense.

Because ofhis mammoth size and ability, Zdelar was drafted in the seventh round by Don Shula and the Miami Dolphins. Zdelar reported to camp with the Dolphins in 1989, but left camp.

A graduate of Rayen High School, Zdelar was one of the most decorated players in the Youngstown area. He was an All-City player in 1982 and 1983, and also earned All-State honors in 1983.

Zdelar was tragically killed in a car accident in 1991.

 

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