Rafael (Twitter) is another great example of a student athlete. He’s got a kicking range of 50+ yards and is also a punter. Several colleges throughout the country have already shown interest.
Rafael, you’re one of the best kickers in South Texas, what have you done this summer to improve?
Thank you for that recognition, and this summer I’ve improved by going to the strength and conditioning summer program we had at school and perfecting my kicking/punting mechanics. The workouts at school not only increased the amount of power I am able generate when I impact the football but also increased my leg speed which is key to being able to kick the football with authority. I also attended many collegiate camps where I got to learn more about the kicking game and also gain exposure. Busy but productive summer.
I know it’s a dream of yours to play college football, how much interest have you received from colleges this year?
Yes, it’s a dream of mine to compete at the next level. So far as of right now I’ve received interest from a couple of DI schools, and a handful of DII, and DIII schools. I hope to have a great season and have a great performance against some of the nations best at big time kicking showcases come December & January to further put my name out there.
Kickers aren’t usually a high priority early in the recruiting process so what is your mental approach to recruiting and how do you stay patient?
I’ve come to realize that yes, kickers/punters don’t get as highly recruited as the other positions but I don’t get discouraged and just keep my hopes high and keep working on my craft. I think it was Josh Scobee (current Jacksonville Jaguars Kicker) who received an offer on National Signing Day, so I just remind myself of that and stay patient during this process.
You’re a very good student. How important are grades when it comes to recruiting?
Thank you, and grades when it comes to recruiting it is HUGE. Good grades basically pave the way to get recruited a lot easier. It makes it easier on the student-athlete and the school trying to recruit you.
What do your intended major once you graduate high school and enroll in college?
I intend to major in Kinesiology along with Business Management so I can hopefully open up a kicking academy here in the valley. It’ll be a first. I’m also considering sports medicine (trainer) or entering another career in the medical field.
What are your expectations for Vela this season?
Expectations at Robert Vela High School are very high. We’ve put in a lot of time and work to put ourselves in the best position to win ball games. We want to make a long run in the playoffs.
The offense appears to be the strength of the team, what players do you think will stand out on that side of the ball?
In order for our offense to standout it’ll take everyone to put forth their best effort. Our returning starters will be a key role.
Who will be the defensive standouts?
The same on the defensive side of the ball, everyone has to put their best effort to succeed. With returning starters playing a key role as well.
Fox Sports Southwest has named Vela at Sharyland the DQ Big Game Of The Week for September 29, 2014, what do you think the atmosphere will be like that night?
Coming off that sour taste in our mouths of not being able to complete that comeback last year, I think it’s going to have a playoff type of atmosphere, it’s going to be intense with both sides of the stands packed.
A lot of people think that even though it’s the first district game Vela and Sharyland will decided the district championship. Do you think the winner of that game will win district?
It’s too early to answer that question right now, we take games one by one. Fully focused on the task at hand for each week.
What piece of advice that you’d give young football players just starting out?
My piece of advice to the youngsters will be to make every rep count, make every snap count, make everything count because in just of a blink of an eye it’s over. Listen to your coaches, they know what they are doing and telling you. Don’t ever doubt them. Be disciplined in everything that you do, it’ll lead to great habits not only in football but in life. Last thing is to never ever give up. It’s going to be tough but you’ll soon see the light at the end of the tunnel and make it.