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Shadyside’s Visnic to play football at Marietta College

SHADYSIDE — In all walks of life, Jacob Visnic had to grow up fast.

The Shadyside senior did and he’s going to take those life lessons with him into the next chapter, which will occur at Marietta College where he will be a candidate for the Pioneers football team in the fall.

Visnic’s rapid maturation really kicked into high gear at 14 years old when his father, Rob, died. Since then, with his dad firmly in his mind, Visnic has delivered both in the classroom and in athletics.

“(Losing my dad) made it rough at times to find my way,” Visnic admitted. “Not having that guidance that he provided made it tough. He was such a huge part of my life, obviously. Eventually, I got to the point where (his death) made me a better, stronger person. Everything I did was for him.”

It certainly would seem that Visnic’s father is proud and smiling about everything his son has accomplished thus far. However, don’t think that Visnic — an All-Ohioan this past season for Coach Mark Holenka’s team — is anywhere near satisfied.

“One of the things that really sold me on Marietta’s football program was their philosophy about always working to the max and trying to get their players to reach their max potential,” Visnic confirmed. “I just loved everything about it.”

Visnic put together an impressive season on both sides of the ball for the Tigers. It’ll be on the defensive side of the ball where Visnic attempts to make an impact at the collegiate level.

As a senior, he finished with 96.5 tackles, including 47 solo stops. He posted eight tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He also scored a defensive touchdown.

“I have to continue to work hard and get in the gym, get stronger and keep getting faster,” Visnic admitted.

“I need to continue to make myself a better player all the way around. In college, everyone is the same size, or bigger, and just as good of an athlete or better, so I have to be prepared.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Visnic saw time in the backfield and in the trenches during his career. As a fullback, this past season, he carried the ball 84 times for 433 yards and scored eight touchdowns.

Because of injuries, he shifted to a guard position during the 2019 campaign.

“I guess my versatility was a God-given thing,” Visnic said. “Whatever I could do to help the team is what I was willing to do. If that meant playing on the line, I was willing to do what it took. We won games and that was the main objective.”

Overall, Visnic, who earned a myriad of honors including All-Eastern District, All-OVAC, All-Valley and All-Times Leader, looks back on his prep career fondly.

“It was really fun,” Visnic said. “We were successful, made the playoffs all four years and had a winning season every year. This past season was crazy with everything that was going on (with the pandemic), but we found our way after a slow start and finished strong.”

Along with football, Visnic is a starter on the Tigers’ basketball team and plans to run track. Academically, Visnic is a standout, too. He’s a member of the National Honor Society where he serves as president, Chemistry Club and TSA Team.

Jacob, who plans to major in petroleum engineering, is the son of Melissa and the late Rob Visnic.

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