Steven Ortiz Jr. Breaks Down Top Five

And then there were five.

Steven Ortiz Jr., the 6-foot, 185-pound Desert Edge defensive back with over 20 offers, revealed his top five schools on Friday evening:  Oregon, Washington, Penn State, Mississippi State and Minnesota.

He went in-depth with Sports360AZ on each school.

Oregon

The Ducks have been especially effective when recruiting Arizona guys over recent classes, whether it’s quarterback Tyler Shough, 2020 offensive lineman signee Jaylan Jeffers or 2021 quarterback commit Ty Thompson. Ortiz has visited Eugene on a couple of occasions and likes what is being built in the Pac-12 North.

“I’ve been there three times and I love it, and I love Coach Cristobal and how many times he’s come to my school and the bond that we have.  I love the DB coach.”

Washington

Washington has had similar success getting Arizona guys up to Seattle, especially defensive backs. Former Saguaro defensive back Byron Murphy is now back home with the Arizona Cardinals. Centennial playmaker Dom Hampton is entering his redshirt sophomore season up there, and Saguaro’s Jacobe Covington signed with the Huskies this past recruiting class.

Having a head coach that specializes in his position is especially intriguing.

“(Head coach Jimmy Lake) is an amazing coach, to see him go from a (defensive backs coach) to a head coach now. I also have a lot of family out there so I wont really be lonely. Also, just the bond that me and Coach Lake have and (defensive backs coach Will Harris) over there.”

Penn State

The Nittany Lions were the first of this group to offer the defensive back. They’ve pursued him for close to a year now since extending that offer and Ortiz was impressed with the entire experience when he visited last fall. He has kept in close contact with multiple coaches including cornerbacks coach Terry M. Smith.

“Even though I’ve been there one time, I love the environment over there. The fan-base over there. It’s fast-paced over there and an amazing atmosphere.”

Mississippi State

Mike Leach and co. recruited Ortiz when they were at Washington State. The Cougars offered him back in October, and now Mississippi State wasted little time offering him when they made the transition to the SEC.

“It’s really exciting to see them go to the SEC and it’s good to see that they can compete in the SEC. I love Coach Leach.”

Minnesota

Ortiz has never physically been on campus at Minnesota but did take a virtual visit a few weeks back. He walked away very impressed with head coach PJ Fleck and the potential opportunities for him within the Gopher program. Even though they offered less than a month ago, the Gophers have made a big impression on Ortiz to earn a spot in his top five.

“I love all the coaching staff. They hit me up every day and just the love that they give me love. You can’t beat it and the direction they give me. The program is going to rise up.”

Ortiz has made it clear he wants to be committed by August 1st.

“I want to thank all the coaches who recruited me and took me through this process,” Ortiz said. “I appreciate everyone I got an offer from.”

The defensive back is coming off a junior season where he led the Scorpions to the 4A state title game.  The three-year starter has tallied 171 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 6 interceptions and 11 passes defended in his career.