Desert Edge High senior cornerback and Minnesota commit Steven Ortiz, Jr. – the top-rated cornerback and a Top 5 2021 in-state player sat down to talk in-depth about the civil unrest in Minneapolis, the Carter twins taking over the DE program this off-season, his final season of high school football and much more.
Since George Floyd’s unthinkable death, what conversations has Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck and his staff said to you about what happened on Memorial Day in Minneapolis?
“Coach Fleck called me every day about it. He also held a lot of [virtual] team meetings that I joined in. We also did a commitment team meeting that he held, too. We were all just just expressing our feelings about it. The whole conversation was just about us being safe. He pretty much talked about how we’re a family, he loves us a lot and he’d never turn his back on us. Our voices should be heard around the world.”
You come from a close-knit family. Have you sat down with them and discussed this, as well?
“[Yes], we’ve discussed it and our voices should be heard, too. But we didn’t really try to focus a lot on that, we tried to stay out of that and be safe with it. I’ve just been working out every day and getting school work done.”
How have you adapted to the Carter’s personality and style over the past few months since becoming co-head coaches?
“When I first met them, I was kind of scared because I wasn’t sure how they’d [approach] my team. But when they first came, they had a lot of energy and they’re coaches who will practice with you. They’ll have cleats on with you. They’ll do the drill with you. They’re hands on and they’re going to take us far this year.”
It’s a pretty unique situation at DE as you’re practicing every day against a future Power 5 quarterback in Adryan Lara. How has he made you better?
“His throws are on time. I’m also going up against a Power 5 receiver, too. Andrew Patterson. With [those] two against me, it’s kind of hard, I’m not gunna lie! But I know as long as I got Drew, I got Adryan, too (smiling).”
Going into your senior season what are you trying to perfect, in regards to your skill set, as we’re only about two months away from the season starting?
“Before the season starts, I want to perfect my technique before I get to Minnesota because the nickel [cornerback] is a new spot for me that I never really stuck – [I played] corner and safety so nickel is kind of new to me. So, I know I’m going to ace that position and I’m going to be a dog at that position.”
See more of my interview with Ortiz in the video above.