Little brother Dominique's success makes Zach Terrell ponder what might have been

Dominique Terrell, a senior quarterback at Osbourn, is adjusting to his new school after transferring from rival Osbourn Park.
By Preston Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 19, 2010; 12:42 AM

Sometimes when Zach Terrell watches little brother Dominique quarterback the unbeaten Osbourn football team, it feels like an out-of-body experience. The younger Terrell, one of the area's top recruits, claims he learned almost all of his shifty cuts from Zach, who in 2004 led Manassas Park to a 14-0 season and a Virginia A Division 2 title.

"When he makes moves, I'm making them in my mind watching him," said Zach Terrell, a former All-Met. "It's amazing."

Making moves, or not making them, has defined the brothers' high school football experiences.

Dominique Terrell, heading into the No. 3 Eagles' home playoff game Friday against Loudoun Valley, has rolled up a combined 2,735 yards running and throwing and accounted for 36 touchdowns. He played at Manassas Park as a freshman, then transferred down Euclid Avenue to larger Prince William County school Osbourn Park for the next two years. This summer, days before the start of practice, his family moved into the boundary for Osbourn in the City of Manassas, his third school district in four years, all within three miles.

By leading Osbourn Park to a 10-3 record last year and by buoying an already state-contending Osbourn team to a 10-0 mark this fall, Dominique Terrell can all but pick his college destination, with offers from LSU, UCLA, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Miami, Virginia, Virginia Tech and several others. In college, he could possibly play quarterback, slot receiver, running back or defensive back and also return kicks.

Zach Terrell played all four years at Manassas Park, one of the smallest schools in the Washington area. Despite rushing and passing for more than 2,000 yards each his senior year and accounting for 57 touchdowns that season, he attracted only modest college interest, drawing offers from Liberty, James Madison and a few others.

An inch or so taller and about 20 pounds heavier during his playing days than his brother, Zach Terrell readily acknowledges that the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Dominique is faster than he was. He relishes "Nicky's" success.

But at the same time, even though he enjoyed the stability and a 36-3 record in three seasons of quarterbacking Manassas Park, he can't help but wonder whether he might have lured more college looks had he played at a larger high school.

Zach's decision not to transfer has been a question that everyone in the family has pondered at some point, particularly after Dominique became such a coveted prospect at Osbourn Park. Zach considered Manassas Park High to be "home for me" and said he has few second thoughts about having stayed there.

"My job as a parent is to do what's best for my children until they get to where they need to be," said the boys' father, Zach Terrell Sr. "The type of player Dominique is is perfect for [Osbourn's] offense. . . . I probably should have moved Zach. Don't think we didn't talk about it. He didn't want to go. Dominique didn't really want to go [either]. But I forced the issue."

The Terrells have long bristled at what young Zach calls "that single-A stuff," in which the classification he played at, for many, seemed to matter more than his accomplishments. He was dominant in youth leagues against players who went on to AAA high schools. He was named Virginia A state player of the year as a Manassas Park senior. At Liberty University, playing running back, he was chosen rookie of the year in the Big South Conference.

It took a Pitt transfer and future NFL draft pick, current Jacksonville Jaguar Rashad Jennings, to bump him down the depth chart at Liberty.

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