HELENA — Tucker Zanto became the third Helena-area high school football player to announce his commitment to Carroll College when he did so via Twitter on Monday afternoon. Zanto, a linebacker from Capital High School, joins Helena High’s Forrest Suero and Kade Schlepp as local athletes currently committed to Carroll’s football program.
“It’s just super exciting,” Zanto said. “I’ve grown up watching Carroll College. Carroll is such a good school for me, athletically and academically. I knew it was the right choice for me…It’s like a brotherhood that the team has. I really like how [Troy] Purcell is as a coach. Just the whole campus vibe itself is the right fit for me.”
Zanto, a Helena native, said he had an opportunity to visit Carroll’s campus over the summer and recently went on his official visit. He said that even though he grew up going to Saints football games and being around the school, those visits helped him fall in love with Carroll enough to want to spend the next four or five years there.
As a senior for Capital, Zanto totaled 90 tackles and averaged better than eight per game. He also picked up two quarterback hurries and defended four passes. Zanto racked up 142 tackles, including seven for a loss of yardage, during his varsity career.
“Love his enthusiasm and his love and passion for the game,” Saints head coach Troy Purcell said of Zanto. “He’s from an unbelievable program there at Capital High…Those guys fly around and it’s unbelievable to get another kid here out of Helena…Now everybody in town can watch him here at Carroll College. Really excited to get Tucker. Outstanding young man. Unbelievable in the classroom. A perfect fit for Carroll College and for this program.”
Zanto said he had an offer from the Frontier Conference’s Montana Western, and also NCAA Division III Minnesota-Morris.
With Carroll, Zanto joins former Capital teammates Chayton Winkle and Quinn Belcher. Both are a year ahead of Zanto, but having played football and other sports together, that group has a group relationship.
“I played with Quinn in small fry and I’ve wrestled with Chayton, so I know those guys pretty well…It’ll be so much fun,” Zanto said. “Chayton is one of my best friends. It’ll be fun to play football with him and Quinn again.”
Zanto was Carroll’s 10th commit in the 2022 recruiting cycle and the sixth in-state player. Five additional high school players, including two from the state of Montana, have committed in the two days since Zanto’s decision.
Gunner Giulio (Idaho), Wyatt Sandford (Idaho) and Ben Larsen (Nevada) are the most recent out-of-state commits, while Isaiah Claunch (Billings West) and Tristan Pyette (Florence-Carlton) are from Montana. Carroll currently has 15 commitments in its 2022 class.
For Zanto, his football career will not only continue at the collegiate level, but he will live out something of a childhood dream by joining Carroll’s roster.
“I remember going to [Carroll] games with my friends when I was in elementary and middle school,” Zanto said. “Or even before school, driving on Benton Avenue, seeing them practicing in the mornings. It’s just weird to think I’ll be one of those guys here practicing with them and hopefully someday playing at Nelson Stadium.”
Zanto said he plans to study business accounting or financial planning at Carroll.