Before his sophomore year of high school, Alonzo Velazquez hadn’t even played football since fifth grade.
Wednesday, he verbally committed to play offensive lineman at an FBS school.
“I honestly I didn’t know if I was going to play college football,” said Velazquez, the ninth known commit of Wyoming’s 2017 class. “I started playing football sophomore year and then all my friends are joking like, ‘Hey, you can play football in college. I was like, ‘Maybe, but I don’t know.’
“But then definitely the opportunity came as a junior when (the Cowboys) were talking to me, and I was like, ‘All right, this is legit. If I work hard enough and put the effort in, I could play football.’”
It doesn’t hurt that Velazquez, a senior at Parker (Wisconsin) High School, is listed as 6-foot-6, 270 pounds.
“I don’t even know how tall he is now,” Parker coach Clayton Kreger said. “Every day I talk to him I think he’s getting taller, but as far as his weight, again, he hasn’t been in the weight room for more than a couple years, is when he started playing football, and he gained 30 pounds. I can’t even tell you how much stronger he’s gotten.
“He’s a guy that’s very goal-oriented, and with a great Wyoming coaching staff, they’re going to make him strong, they’re going to make him bigger, and he’s going to be a good player.”
While Kreger still sees some room for growth physically, he believes Velazquez has the skill set required at the next level.
“You guys are going to notice right away he’s got great feet for his size,” Kreger said. “It’s incredible. Good speed. I think he just really needs to work on his strength. He’s not a kid that’s been going out for football since the seventh and eighth grade lifting every single day.
“... But he’s very, very coachable. Whatever the program philosophy is, whatever he’s being asked to do, he’s going to do it. He’s not going to stop until he gets it perfect, so he’s raw. He’s got some things to work on, but I know he’s going to be a great player, because he takes coaching better than anyone that I’ve ever coached.”
Velazquez took an official visit to Wyoming for the Cowboys’ upset win against No. 13 Boise State on Saturday.
“I think definitely with the atmosphere on Saturday, I think that was a big factor,” he said. “But also the day before and earlier that morning, visiting the facilities and meeting up with the coaches and players, I think everything just came in together. I appreciated everything. I was very impressed. I pretty much just fell in love, just being on that visit.”
Offensive coordinator Brent Vigen was Velazquez’s lead recruiter, and Velazquez was impressed by the whole Wyoming staff.
“They’re all amazing,” he said. “I feel like they all know what they’re doing, and I appreciate that. When I was there, they made me feel like I was at home. They made me feel like I was part of the family, so it was really great. I appreciate it.”
He’s excited to play for a run-heavy Wyoming team, considering that’s the style of offense he plays in at Parker.
“We probably only throw about 10 times a game and the rest is just run,” Velazquez said. “I love the run. That’s exactly what I wanted.”
Added Kreger: “The last two years that I’ve been coaching here we’ve led the league in rushing yards, and Alonzo’s a big part of that.”
Velazquez is the fourth known player to verbally commit to Wyoming since the Cowboys’ win Saturday, joining Trey Dorfner, Davon Wells-Ross and Ryan Gatoloai-Faupula.
“I think three of the four recruits that went on Saturday committed,” Velazquez said. “So it’s really nice to know that the people I met who are really good friends, we’re all going to be going to the same school and we’re going to be a part of the same family.”