TCU football has a proud history of producing long snappers. Seriously.
The Horned Frogs have had a few long snappers win Super Bowl rings this century. Jared Retkofsky won a ring with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2008 season, then Clint Gresham made the Seattle Seahawks championship team in the 2013 season.
Antonio Ortiz hopes to become the next snapper of the Frogs’ Gary Patterson era to achieve NFL success.
“Two snappers that Coach P coached won the Super Bowl. I’m just trying to follow in their footsteps,” Ortiz said with a smile. “My dream is to get on the wall inside.”
Ortiz is referring to the football team’s indoor practice facility that features oversized footage of every player who plays in the NFL. It is a dream that is not too exaggerated but difficult to achieve.
First, there are only 32 long snapper jobs in the NFL. And it’s not exactly a position with a ton of turnover. Former Cowboys snapper LP Ladouceur, for example, kept his job with the team for 16 seasons (2005-2020). Former Detroit Lions snapper Don Muhlbach of Texas A&M held the position for 17 seasons (2004-2020).
But Ortiz is ready to give his best. He appeared in TCU’s Pro Day and made the 2021 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. He also had a successful career with the Frogs, playing in all 44 games with a full roster of snaps over the past three seasons.
“Since I started snapping, I wanted to play in college. Then when I knew I had the chance to go to college, thinking about going to the NFL was a big dream for me,” said Ortiz, who came to TCU from Benedictine College Preparatory in Richmond. , Virginia.
“To be this close right now is a really big honor and I just want to give everything I have to take it to the next level. If that doesn’t happen, that’s okay. I just want to make sure that I have no regrets going there and giving it my all.
Ortiz, who checked in at 6-foot-4 and 247 pounds on Pro day, is ranked the seventh-best long snapper in this year’s draft class by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler.
For Ortiz, the biggest hurdle isn’t that the size of the NFL ball is slightly larger (he says the NFL ball is easier to break than the college ball), but it’s on the blocking front. In college, he had a free release on the field but needs to be able to block effectively in the professional game.
“Blocking is what separates you the most,” he said. “That transition from snap to block is really different than snap-and-release. Anyone can get into the NFL. It’s just a question of whether you can block or not. That’s the thing. the most important.