|Written by Brian Bergner|
|Friday, 12 August 2011 00:00|
Cottonwood resident Robert Ortiz signed his letter of intent at a local pizzeria Thursday, Aug. 4, to play football for Dakota State University in the fall, giving friends and family something to celebrate.
It’s been a long time coming for Ortiz, who graduated from Mingus Union High School in May 2009.
In the last two academic school years, Ortiz attended Scottsdale Community College, playing one year of football for the Artichokes. Ortiz had a 3.31 grade point average at SCC and plans to do the same at Dakota State.
Ortiz originally wanted to stay at SCC one more semester in an effort to graduate this December with his associate degree. He set up several college visits however, basically marketing himself to colleges around the country, hoping to play football for someone in January.
“That’s why I went to a few campus visits this summer,” Ortiz said. “I went to Dakota State at the end of July and they liked what I had to offer after playing in a seven-on-seven game.”
Ortiz explained the coaching staff came up to him, asking him what it would take to get him in a Dakota State uniform this fall, instead of next season.
“I came back July 25 from the visit, and by July 26 they called saying they had a complete package for me, and I wouldn’t have to pay anything,” Ortiz said with a smile.
By July 27, Ortiz gave his verbal commitment and a week later he was in front of family and friends making it official.
Ortiz admitted he put a lot of thought into the decision, stating he had several conversations with teammates and coaches at SCC, and they all said it was the right move.
“They basically just said I can’t pass up the opportunity. I can’t wait to get going,” Ortiz said.
He didn’t hesitate to mention that football is his life and there isn’t much room for other hobbies. Ortiz believes all his hard work is paying off by getting this scholarship to go to Dakota State.
Ortiz earned three varsity letters playing for Head Coach Bob Young and the Marauders during the 2006 through 2008 seasons. He also played basketball and ran with the track and field team in the spring.
Ortiz has two years of eligibility left and plans on using every bit of it at Dakota State while studying and earning a degree in physical education. He added the transition from SCC to Dakota State will not be a hassle either, as all his credits earned at SCC will transfer over nicely.
Dakota State is located in Madison, S.D., and is led by third-year Head Coach Josh Anderson.
Anderson has athletic ties to the state of Arizona, where he led the Payson High School football team for three seasons between 2006 and 2008 and was the head man in charge at Chino Valley High School from 2003 to 2005.
Ortiz won’t have long to rest before shipping off to South Dakota. He leaves Wednesday, Aug. 10, to start his career with the Trojans.
“I have two years of eligibility left, and I’m really excited to get out there and get going,” Ortiz said.
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