There are many intriguing storylines to follow as another high school football season in the San Antonio area kicks off, but none will be more compelling than the highly anticipated debut of Somerset sophomore quarterback Zadock Dinkelmann on Friday night.
At 6-foot-5½ and 230 pounds, Dinkelmann is already bigger than most college quarterbacks. He also has the pedigree to match his imposing size and passing skills.
Football is to Dinkelmann's family what politics are to the Kennedys and the Bushes.
"We do a lot of things together and football is one of them," Dinkelmann said after a recent workout. "It just runs in our family."
The grandson of Somerset head coach Sonny Detmer and nephew of former NFL quarterbacks Ty and Koy Detmer, Dinkelmann made national headlines in February 2014 when he orally committed to LSU as a 14-year-old eighth-grader.
Dinkelmann, now 16, got moved up to the varsity as a freshman late in the season last year and watched his cousin, Koy Detmer, Jr., run the Bulldogs' offense. Dinkelmann took a few snaps in mop-up duty and also saw action as a tight end.
Dinkelmann will make his first varsity start when Somerset hosts Port Lavaca Calhoun in its season opener Friday. Kickoff is at 7:30.
With Koy Jr. now at BYU, Dinkelmann is next in the lineage of a family synonymous with high school and college football – and, of course, the quarterback position.
"I've been working for this my whole life, just to play on Friday nights," Dinkelmann said. "And now I'm finally getting my shot to do it. There's a lot of excitement right now."
Dinkelmann got good athletic genes from both sides of his family. His father, Johan Dinkelmann, who is married to Betty and Sonny Detmer's oldest daughter Dee and is Somerset's defensive coordinator, is 6-4 and played tight end at Cincinnati for one season before a knee injury ended his football career. Johan's brother, Frans, who is 6-7, played defensive end at New Mexico.
"That's where Zadock gets his size," Sonny Detmer said, smiling.
Johan Dinkelmann expressed pride in the way Zadock has handled the spotlight since he committed to LSU.
"People tend to forget that he's just 16 years old," said Dinkelmann, who is starting his 16th year on the Somerset coaching staff. "When he's around the cousins, they play video games and they mess around. He's just a big kid. We've been real blessed with how he's handled everything.
"We've never hyped him up. That's not what we do. Football is not who we are, it's what we do. We go home and we go to church. We go to the movies, the kids go to college to do something with their lives other than football. It's just something that we do well and the kids do well. But at the end of the day, it's not who we are."
Sonny Detmer coached Ty and Koy Sr. at Southwest and Mission high schools, respectively, before they went on to stellar college careers. Ty won the Heisman Trophy as a junior at BYU in 1990 and Koy, who is Somerset's offensive coordinator, starred at Colorado in the mid-1990s.
A former Somerset ballboy who started going to his grandfather's games when he was in the fourth grade, Dinkelmann is mature beyond his years physically and emotionally.
"Zadock is very talented, he's strong and he's big," Sonny Detmer, 70, said. "He's kind of what the pros look for in a drop-back passer. He's perfect for a pro-style offense. He's got the size and the strength that everybody looks for.
"He has a tremendously strong arm. He'll put one out there 50 yards. He has real good accuracy and he has a real good knowledge of the game. Another thing that's impressive about him is how well he's handled things. He's a pretty mature kid."
With three years of high school still ahead of him, Dinkelmann won't be eligible to sign a letter of intent until February 2018. Dinkelmann chuckled when he was asked how he handles the media attention he has received since he committed to LSU.
"You've got to humble yourself, and my family humbles me," Dinkelmann said. "They don't let me get a big head. They always tell me, ‘You're not anything until you win the Heisman.' That's what Ty always tells me. So there's not anything to brag about, really, because I haven't won a Heisman."
Both Detmer brothers went on to the NFL, Ty playing for five teams in eight seasons and Koy spending his entire nine-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The youngest son of Dee and Johan Dinkelmann, Zadock is the fourth grandson in his family to be coached by Sonny Detmer at Somerset. Besides Koy Jr., Zadock's stepbrother Stevie Dorman (Class of 2011) and brother Hunter Dinkelmann (2013) played for their grandfather.
Dorman is now a quarterback at Texas A&M-Kingsville after initially signing with Colorado as a high school senior. Hunter, a cornerback, played college football at Sul Ross.
Zadock said that backing up Koy Jr. for a season helped him learn the intricacies of the pass-oriented offense his grandfather has run for decades.
"There were a lot of plays they called that I didn't know yet, varsity plays they ran," Dinkelmann said. "Just learning that made it easier for me to get the reads and the progressions down. The way we work with the coaches is what really helps us. There are a lot of reads. There's a lot of learning to do, a lot of studying. But it's an offense that works."
Dinkelmann has a close relationship with Koy Sr., who works with the team's quarterbacks.
"It's good because it's nonstop working with him," Dinkelmann said. "You're coming off the field and you go home and the next thing you know, he's walking through the door and after a while you start talking about what plays would be good to run. It's never ending."
After Zadock's parents, Koy Sr. probably knows Zadock better than anybody else.
"Above anything, he's a good kid and he's got a really good frame of mind," Koy Sr. said. "He really is something special. It's rare that you see somebody come along like Zadock that has the physical tools and the frame of mind to play the quarterback position. You can tell him something and he processes it quickly.
"Zadock is a very tough competitor. When it starts to heat up, you can see his emotions start to come up and he's going to fight to the end. Obviously, everybody can see his measurables when he walks into a room or you see him on the field. But what you can't see are his heart and frame of mind. He's probably better there than what you see in him physically."
Although Dinkelmann has committed to LSU, Texas offered him a scholarship after he attended a camp at UT this summer. Oral commitments are nonbinding.
"I'm blessed that Texas offered," Dinkelmann said. "Not a lot of seniors can say they got two offers from LSU and Texas, let alone a sophomore in high school. It's great to receive that offer from Texas and know I've got other options."
Dinkelmann attended a camp at LSU after UT made its offer.
So how solid is Dinkelmann's commitment to the Tigers?
"A lot of things can happen between now and by the time I'm a senior," Dinkelmann said. "There could be a coaching change, and a lot of decisions could change. It all depends what's best for me at that point in time."
At least for now, Dinkelmann likes what he's seen at LSU.
"Just the atmosphere up there and feeling wanted," Dinkelmann said. "They offered me the earliest, so they must want me the most if they wanted me that early. I'm not really worried about any of that right now. I just want to focus on doing well in school and doing my part to improve as a quarterback, and helping my team win. That's what is important to me now."
Somerset shared the District 29-5A title with Uvalde last year and lost to Corpus Christi Calallen in the first round of the Division II playoffs, finishing 7-3.
"We've got a team with a lot of speed, a lot of skill. We've just got to execute our plays. It all comes down to running our plays right. If we can stay focused, stay humble, then we can do real well this year. We have a lot of potential to be great."
And so does Zadock Dinkelmann.