WORTHINGTON -- It’s taken a little while for Andrew Ortiz to shake off the rust for the 2019 college football season.
That’s to be expected. Early in his freshman season at quarterback for the 2018 Minnesota West Bluejays, he suffered a horrible on-field injury that ended his season and placed his career in jeopardy.
“Last year I ended up getting tackled from behind and snapping my ankle and my fibula in half,” he recalled the incident. “Right after the injury, laying down, I just thought my football career was over. Eight, nine months later, I felt a lot better. I felt 100 percent. I felt ready for this upcoming football season.”
Having Ortiz in the Bluejays’ camp last year was considered somewhat of a coup. A highly decorated high school QB from Albuquerque, N.M., with a lively, accurate arm and exceptional running ability, he went first to UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso) to redshirt, then decided to transfer to Minnesota West.
Another guy might have written off Minnesota West after last year’s injury, but Ortiz came back. He felt connected to his teammates and didn’t want to let them down.
After his surgery in Sioux Falls, S.D., after the accident, he returned to get his gear so that he could do rehab back home.
“My teammates were crying, my teammates were hugging me. It was a very emotional event, just in general.”
So now he’s back in Worthington, leading the Jays again. In a season-opening loss to Itasca (as the Bluejays experienced protection issues), he completed 15 of 27 passes for 195 yards with one interception and no touchdowns. Last Saturday in a win over Central Lakes, he hit 13 of 23 aerials for 200 yards and two touchdowns, without an interception.
In both games, he displayed the footwork that makes Bluejays players and fans feel confident.
QUESTION: What went into your decision to return?
ANSWER: “The reason I came back to Minnesota West was because of my teammates. They all were very supportive and encouraging after the injury. I wanted to be here with them.”
QUESTION: How would you describe yourself as a quarterback?
ANSWER: “I’d like to describe myself as a dual threat quarterback. I’d like to say I’m very quick. I try to minimize errors, I try to make the right reads, just try to be a good quarterback in general.”
QUESTION: Tell us the most unusual thing about you that most people don’t know.
ANSWER: “The most unusual thing about me, I’d like to say, is that I play video games pretty much any free time I have. It’s football and video games is all it is.”