With the Fall season right around the corner, it’s never too early to start talking about Tribe football. And what better topic to talk about than the Tribe’s revolving door at the Quarterback position?
So far, we have highlighted Jhalil Mosley, Steve Cluley, and Christian Brumbaugh in an attempt to identify legendary Head Coach Jimmye Laycock’s starting Quarterback for the 2014 season. If you haven’t read our other Quarterback profiles, you can find them here. In our final Quarterback profile, we highlight William & Mary Senior Raphael Ortiz.
Raphael Ortiz is listed at 6’3’’ and 225 pounds on Tribe Athletics’ website. He hails from Rahway, New Jersey and attended St. Peter’s Prep School in Jersey City. But unlike our recent profiles of the other Tribe Quarterbacks, Raphael Ortiz is the only QB on the William & Mary roster with collegiate starts under his belt.
Raphael Ortiz earned 5 starts in his Sophomore year (2012), before missing the final three contests to injury. During these five starts, Ortiz presented serious potential under center.
Ortiz flashed his ability not only to sling the ball, but also to execute designed run plays from the Quarterback position—something hardcore Tribe fans are not used to seeing from a Laycock-run offense. Ortiz’s ability to run the ball during the 2012 season added a brand new dimension to the offense, which put opposing defenses at serious risk.
Over five starts, Ortiz rushed for 120 yards and 4 touchdowns. While 120 total rushing yards comes out to just 24 yards per game, it is important to note that Ortiz was still getting used to being the man under center and the coaches were still getting used to dialing up plays for him. After all, it was the first five collegiate starts in his entire career.
Even still, his four rushing touchdowns were good for nearly one a game over his 5 game stint. Relative to the rest of the current Quarterbacks on the Tribe roster, Ortiz and Mosley are the only two quarterbacks who have the ability not only to execute designed run plays, but also to scramble when a play breaks down—an increasingly valued trait in the current age of football.
As for Ortiz’s passing statistics over the five starts, the then-Sophomore completed 70 of 131 (53%) of his passes for 942 yards, 5 touchdowns, and two interceptions. The solid 5:2 touchdown to interception ratio is an important statistic, especially in the Colonial Athletic Association that routinely boasts powerful FCS offenses that can score quickly.
I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, and I believe it’s worth mentioning again. I was there in the front row on October 13, 2012 as the William & Mary Tribe took on the James Madison Dukes. James Madison was ranked #4 in all of FCS football at the time.
The unranked Tribe walked into Bridgeforth Stadium, drove up and down the field on offense, made huge stops on defense, and pushed the #4 team in the nation to triple overtime. The Tribe would lose by a score of 27-26 after Coach Laycock made the controversial decision to go for two in overtime. But guess who was at quarterback for the Tribe on this cool night in Harrisonburg?
Raphael Ortiz completed 14-of-23 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns while also totaling 14 carries for 54 yards and one touchdown on the ground. To me, this game signifies what Ortiz can do for this year’s Tribe team. He presents an added dimension to our already stout running game and is the only Quarterback on the roster that has proven he can play in big games.
All of this success comes with one major caveat: Ortiz missed all of last season with an injury to his right throwing shoulder. I have read rumors on various discussion board posts of Coach Laycock converting Ortiz to an H-Back in order to get the ball in his hands without having to worry about his throwing arm; to be sure, this is unconfirmed and something that should only happen if Ortiz can’t nurse his shoulder back to full health. Simply put, we need him under center.
If Ortiz can rehab, get enough reps with the offense over the offseason, and mentally prepare himself for a full season of work, he will be the starter for a dangerous William & Mary squad that can make serious waves in the FCS. We’re pulling for you, Ortiz. Go Tribe.
Odds of Ortiz Starting @ Virginia Tech on August 30: N/A —out for 2014 season with injury