The journey to become a college quarterback is usually a long one, with several twists, dips and turns along the way. Sometimes those events happen much quicker than expected, and nobody knows that tale better than UTEP Freshman QB Ryan Metz.
Metz found his way into the starting role at UTEP in a unconventional way. Metz was third on the depth chart behind Mack Leftwich and Jarrett Simpson. Nary a mention during Camp Ruidoso, when the Quarterback Question was asked.
He entered the game against rival New Mexico State after Leftwich suffered a concussion. His first pass attempt resulted in an interception returned for a touchdown by the Aggies. Welcome to D1 football, Mr. Metz.
But he then led the Miners out of a 14-point deficit to a 50 to 47 overtime win.
Then, in his first career start, Metz again worked his magic in UTEP’s home opener against Incarnate Word, rallying the Miners to score 17-unanswered points to secure the win.
He’s been at his best when asked to throw the ball and has done it looking cool, calm and collected. Metz admits that he’s anything but calm, he actually gets nervous, so nervous the only thing he can think of is making the best play.
But it’s his performance off the field that reveals who Metz is.
As Metz approaches the media for interviews, he’ll extend and shake everyone’s hand to greet them, he then does the same when the interviewing is done. Another example of the humble demeanor that Metz presents.
And that is something rarely seen in athletes, especially one as young as he is.
The Andress alumns isn’t afraid of express his faith, either and openly gives thanks to God for the opportunity he’s been given. Metz isn’t the first student-athlete to be open about his religious believes. College athletics has seen it at a much higher profile with former Heisman trophy winner, Tim Tebow. But it again speaks volumes on exactly who Metz is, starting role or not.
Metz’s wears number 12, his favorite quarterback Tom Brady, also wears number 12. By no means is Metz at the same level of quarterbacking, but like Brady, he’s shown a knack for the comeback win.
For what it’s worth, it could be his admiration for Brady, his faith, the nerves or simply the respect he has for his coaches, teammates, the game and even media alike that aids Metz to perform when his number 12 is called.
Head coach, Sean Kugler has emphasized the importance of recruiting in El Paso, he may have found his quarterback in Metz following that very philosophy.
Kugler has praised Metz for his leadership and poise, despite being a Freshman.
Metz may never become as prolific as Brady, or he may not win a Heisman like Tebow, but he’s leading the way for a wounded Miners team that saw its starting running back and quarterback go down on consecutive weeks.
It will be that same demeanor that could propel the Miners into a successful season in 2015.