Roseburg High senior linebacker Zack Mandera has given his verbal commitment to attend Portland State University in the fall of 2019 and play football for the Vikings.
“It’s a really exciting deal,” Mandera said. “I really like it up there. The coaching staff is great, I feel like I can fit in there really well.
“They’re kind of nice people and I don’t have to think about where to go, so the decision is kind of over.”
Mandera’s commitment is nonbinding until he signs a letter-of-intent, which can’t happen until the early signing period in December.
Nonetheless, Mandera is the first football player from Roseburg High to commit to a four-year school since Dave Heuberger took over as coach in 2016. Mandera was a sophomore on Heuberger’s first RHS team.
Mandera has been a starter since the final game of his freshman year, the final season of Thurman Bell’s 45-year tenure as Roseburg coach.
Portland State was winless in 2017, head coach Bruce Barnum’s third season in charge of the Vikings. They open the 2018 season with road games at Nevada and Oregon.
Mandera was primarily recruited by assistant coach AC Patterson, the Vikings’ recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach.
“I’ve talked to the defensive coordinator up there and I went on an unofficial visit up there and met with them and they’re really good guys,” Mandera said, adding that he expects to take an official visit to the campus in either November or December.
In the meantime, Mandera has a senior year to play for Roseburg.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “I can’t wait for Friday nights. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited to get going on the workouts and for the first Friday night.”
A two-sport star for Roseburg, Mandera plans to play one more season of baseball in the orange and black. He does not expect to return to the Dr. Stewart’s for a fourth year of American Legion baseball next summer.
“It’s a little up in the air, but as of right now I’m going to play spring baseball, but nothing in the summer,” Mandera said.
Mandera is the son of Mike and Alicia Mandera. He is the middle of five children, and the first to commit to play athletically at a four-year school.
“If I end up going there, which more than likely I will, I will be the first to go to college out of them,” Mandera said. “My dad and me are really excited about this moment. He’s really pushed me to get to this moment and my mom is really excited for me to have school paid for.”