Joplin’s Westmoreland reflects on first season at DI Eastern Michigan

Westmoreland finishes with 293 receiving yards and 1 TD

JOPLIN, Mo. – Former Joplin standout wide receiver, Zach Westmoreland, finished his first season of DI football this past fall.

Westmoreland was a three-time all-state performer for Joplin. He originally signed to NEO, but never played a game due to COVID. In December of 2020, he made the jump to Eastern Michigan.

“I feel like there’s still a lot of work to do, but with it being my first season being back and after taking so many days off, I feel like it was pretty decent,” Westmoreland says. “I’m definitely excited to get back, get to work and to start making more progress and hopefully put up even better numbers and get more wins than before.”

In twelve games for the Eagles, he finished with 293 receiving yards. His best game was against UMass in September. Westmoreland racked up 97 yards and his first touchdown.

“That was definitely a good start for me,” Westmoreland says. “Getting your first touchdown in college is something that you never forget. It definitely gives you a lot of confidence and you just start building after that. Obviously, playing Wisconsin or Liberty or any of the MAC schools is definitely different than playing high school ball or JUCO ball. It was good to see those little spurts and have that little feeling of, “Okay, this is going to be good.” I’m excited to get back and really show that.”

Westmoreland has set big goals for the offseason and beyond.

“I want to get all my lifts up, get my speed up, ball skills, releases, everything,” Westmoreland says. “I’d really like to go back to another bowl game. I’d like to win a MAC championship. I’d like to win a bowl game. I’d like to be all-conference.”

Over the course of his first season, he’s improved a lot.

“They help me get faster through workouts and everything, but also just little things from releases, hand work, running routes, everything,” Westmoreland says. “I also feel like I gained a lot more football IQ which definitely helps out being able to read coverages and everything.”

A big difference from high school and JUCO football to DI is the speed of play.

“Everybody comes in their first couple plays of college ball and it’s like, “Okay, this is fast,” Westmoreland says. “As you progress and go on you really start to get that feel for everything. It’s almost like when you come in for your first varsity game of high school. You’re like, “Woah. This is crazy.” Then eventually you get the pace down.”

As his career continues, Westmoreland also continues to feel the support from his hometown.

“It’s nice to see little tweets and stuff and have people text me after games,” Westmoreland says. “It’s pretty cool to see the people back in Joplin show me love.”