Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Spare time is not something Lucas Coriz knows much about.
Between playing football as St. Michael’s star quarterback, playing post on the Horsemen’s basketball team, and splitting himself between baseball and track and field – helping St. Michael’s to win a state championship in the latter – Coriz is a busy person.
That he can achieve so much success at each is a wonder, but somehow he not only makes it all work, but also piles up the type of solid grades that make college recruiters sit up and take notice.
And it is the type of overall accomplishments that get Coriz recognized as the Journal North Male Athlete of the Year.
What’s more, he’s just scratching the surface of his potential, Horsemen hoops coach David Rodriguez said of the rising senior that his ability to perform well at so many sports has prevented him from focusing on one.
“I don’t think Lucas has realized his potential,” Rodriguez said. “Between their junior and senior years, some athletes realize some real growth in maturity, emotionally and physically. I think when Lucas realizes just how good he can be, it’s going to be something, but he hasn’t come close to being as good as he could be in any of his sports. But the hunger to do well as a senior is going to drive him.”
What’s also driving Coriz is a desire to play college football.
At 6 foot, 3 inches tall and 210 pounds, with a frame that can handle more muscle, he’s the prototypical size for a quarterback. He can flick the ball downfield easily with great accuracy and he’s working on perfecting the intermediate throws, as well. What’s more, he’s got enough speed and quickness that, when chased from the pocket, he can get outside and make things happen with his feet.
In addition to the disadvantage of playing for a small, Class 3A school, what Coriz also needs to overcome is the governor’s virus-related health orders that wasted his junior year while almost all of his high school contemporaries around the country were playing and being seen by college coaches.
“I am trying to play college football, hopefully get a D-I scholarship, but D-II, that would be great, too,” he said. “I want to ride it out as long as I can and see what I can accomplish through it.”
A couple of Division II coaches have been in contact for his information, but Coriz hasn’t had a true recruiting conversation, nor any offers for a campus visit.
St. Mike’s football coach Joey Fernandez said he has no doubts that Coriz can play in college.
“He’s got a big-time arm,” he said. “He’s probably got the best arm that I’ve coached. He’s at the top of the list.”
Coriz took over the starting quarterback position midway through his freshman season, undergoing a trial by fire.
His decision-making improved as a sophomore and he looked much more like a polished product in the three games the Horseman played in the spring, topping out with 324 yards in the “bowl” game against Raton – third best in school history – and tying a school record with six touchdown passes.
Overall, for his junior mini-season, he led St. Mike’s to a 3-0 record while throwing 11 TDs against just two interceptions. He completed 37 of 69 passes for 667 yards.
“Being our quarterback, I expect leadership qualities, which he has,” Fernandez said. “He’s not the type that says a whole heck of a lot. He does lead by example. He’s a great role model to the younger kids. He’s at practice every day and trying to make himself better. He’s always been above everybody else when it comes to his throwing arm, but he’s worked hard at making himself better. He’s shown a lot to the younger kids and even his classmates that rubs off on them. They want to be doing the same thing and work hard.”
And while he enjoys playing the other sports, it is football that gets him fired up the most.
“Really just all of it,” Coriz said of playing football. “The schemes you have to write up and watching film, all the guys, your teammates. I have a lot of fun playing the sport, especially with the guys I get to play it with.”
Even the pandemic couldn’t keep him off the gridiron.
“Me and my teammates, especially my senior teammates, we were always out there on the field throwing, getting our footwork in,” Coriz said. “We were just trying to get going for this year and we were totally prepared for the season. It helped a lot.”
When it comes to basketball, Coriz may seem like he’s an undersized post, but Rodriguez said looks can be deceiving.
“He definitely plays bigger than 6-3,” the coach said. “And he’s so strong.”
As a matter of fact, dipping into the football locker room, Rodriguez said last year Coriz had the third-best power-clean lift in school history, 265 pounds.
“That’s some real strength,” Rodriguez said, adding Coriz could have played basketball at the next level if that had been his intention.
“He just has natural strength and skill, and he has some incredible instincts,” Rodriguez said. “Kids find their way. I’m happy for him that he wants to go play football. Yeah, definitely he could have done that even with basketball.”
This past season, he averaged 14 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in earning second-team All-State honors.
“He’s our big man,” Rodriguez said. “He’s our leading rebounder and shot blocker. He gets everything going for us on the break. He’s just a kid who loves to compete and that’s infectious. He’s hungry to win and he hates to lose.”
What’s more, his love for football does not diminish his desire on the court.
“That doesn’t take away from his hunger on the basketball court,” he said. “He’s opened some eyes over the past couple of years. This year, he’s just going to blow it all wide open. On the basketball court and definitely on the football field.”
Spring sports are not necessarily Coriz’s strongest, but he managed to get a silver medal in the state track and field meet in the javelin – a sport he used as his warm-ups for baseball practice.
He finished behind teammate and fellow multi-sport star Devin Flores in the event, but the two, who performed well above their seeds, provided just enough points to help the Horsemen win the state championship.
“We knew they had the potential and they’re competitors,” said Fernandez, who is also the track coach. “And they stepped up their game, and put us in a good position.”
And just maybe the same could be said of Coriz as he prepares for his final high school year and his shot at college ball.
“He can play at the next level,” Fernandez said. “I know he’s got the size and the arm strength to play at the D-I level, but it’s hard to get people to watch him when we’re in an area where we are. He’s going to turn some heads this next season. His potential is unlimited when it comes to where he can play.”