EDINBURG — Edinburg Vela junior Ronnie Garza, the Rio Grande Valley’s highest-rated Class of 2021 offensive line recruit, has announced his commitment to the UTSA Roadrunners after receiving multiple offers from schools scattered across the country.
Garza, Vela’s starting left tackle, revealed his intention to join the UTSA football program via Twitter on April 21. The SaberCats star offensive lineman becomes the second Rio Grande Valley product from the Class of 2021 to verbally commit to the Roadrunners in the past month joining Sharyland Pioneer quarterback Eddie Lee Marburger.
“I’m very excited. I literally cannot wait until my graduation because I really want to go up there,” Garza said. “I was so happy because San Antonio is one of my favorite cities in the world. My parents love and I love it, so really there was no reason not to go.”
Garza attracted suitors from across Texas and beyond, and has earned nine offers from Arkansas State, Houston, New Mexico, Princeton and Yale among others, according to 247Sports.com.
“It kinda started my sophomore year. They were looking at me but I was still a sophomore, so there wasn’t much we could do,” he said. “Then they (UTSA) offered me I think in February, and from there it just sort of took off. We just kind of instantly connected.”
Garza played an instrumental role in the SaberCats run to the third round of the playoffs in 2019. He helped anchor and stabilize the Vela offensive line after multiple injuries required the team to reshuffle its personnel up front.
“It was definitely adversity, but again our coaches are awesome and they know what they’re doing,” he said. “We found a way to fight through the adversity and a huge shoutout goes out to my teammates obviously. There were several people that played several different positions this year, and you know that really shows what type of team we are.”
Garza, who’s listed as a 6-foot-6, 295-pound tackle, has the strength, agility and athleticism to play any of the five positions along the offensive line, but prefers playing left tackle and shouldering the biggest responsibility.
It’s a competitive mentality that’s followed Garza from driveway pick-up games to the gridiron.
“I love playing left tackle. I love having that expectation of ‘You need to get it done,’ because the quarterback is depending on you to protect his blindside,” he said. “Whenever I play some basketball, I also love to guard the best player on the other team. I feel like if it’s going to be anybody’s fault, then it’s definitely going to be mine.”
With his verbal commitment to the Roadrunners, Garza adds to a growing list of college-bound athletes developed by the Vela football factory. It’s a phenomenon that Garza attributes to the attention to detail of the SaberCats coaching staff and the rigid set of expectations that he and his teammates hold themselves to.
“Every workout we go into, we definitely have a certain expectation for ourselves. It means getting the whole workout in, getting some extra reps afterwards and doing another whole workout later on,” Garza said. “It’s definitely an expectation where we are, and we expect it of ourselves.
“It’s a competition and you always want to be the best one obviously. It definitely raises your own expectations. I know the other guys love it and so do I.”
Garza’s commitment also adds to a stellar recruiting class being put together in San Antonio by Roadrunners head coach Jeff Traylor.
Traylor, a first-year head coach, previously spent time as an associate head coach and offensive assistant at Arkansas, SMU and Texas in addition to a prolific 15-year coaching career at Gilmer High School in Texas.
On top of nabbing Sharyland Pioneer’s Marburger and Vela’s Garza to protect his blindside, Traylor and UTSA have secured eight additional commitments since mid-April, including Converse Judson offensive lineman Kamron Scott and San Antonio Southside middle linebacker Micah Young.
The Roadrunners’ 10-man recruiting class ranks second in Conference USA and 58th nationally to date according to 247Sports.com, up 11 spots within their conference and 48 spots above their national recruiting ranking one year ago.