ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – His adventure to try and find a college football home has taught Drew Ortiz something about the sport. Football really is a game of inches, and if a player doesn’t have enough he can find himself on the outside looking in.
At 5-foot-10, Ortiz isn’t the size that usually attracts Division I teams at the quarterback position.
“I was probably about 5-foot-10 in the eighth grade, so I was pretty much the tallest growing up,” said Ortiz. “High school hit me and I was the shortest.”
Despite being the shortest, Ortiz had a stellar career playing quarterback and corner for St. Pius X. In his senior season, Ortiz had 60 touchdowns, 38 passing and 22 running.
He led his team to a Class 5A Championship. Despite the production, Ortiz never got the big Division I offer he coveted. Eastern and Western New Mexico made offers to Ortiz, along with New Mexico Highlands.
Ortiz committed to NAIA school Olivet Nazarene out of Chicago in January, but later he pulled out. He just knew he could play at the Division I level and wanted to give it a try. The UTEP Miners are giving Ortiz that shot as a preferred walk on.
“UTEP when I called them, they were super happy about it,” said Ortiz. “They said, ‘We’d love to have you here.’ They were in need of defensive backs at the beginning and did not watch too much of my film. They were going to bring me in as a corner back. They watched my film as a quarterback and they said you know what….we would love to have you as a quarterback.”
Ortiz hopes to red shirt his first season so he can bulk up and learn the offense. He hopes to reach his goal and play as the Miners quarterback one day. He says that would be a victory for the little guys.
“I totally believe that if you are short athlete and you get overlooked and stuff, just keep pushing because no matter what the best one is going to play,” said Ortiz. “So I believe that if I am the best I am going to play.”