AUSTIN, TEXAS — Dominic De Lira had left for football tryouts in middle school where he’d try out to be a wide receiver. When he arrived back home, he informed his mother that he had made the team.
“Yeah, and I’m the quarterback,” De Lira told his mother.
De Lira had made the ‘A’ team at Lake Travis, near Austin, Texas, a school so big they had three teams for their middle school athletes. He would become the quarterback, and he had aspirations to do more.
One day, De Lira told his father, L.J., that he intended to be the quarterback at Lake Travis when he reached high school, too. To do so, De Lira would need to follow the footsteps of former Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing and current Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Dominic De Lira
His parents encouraged him to follow that dream and he became the starter last season as a junior when he passed for 2,329 yards and 25 touchdowns. When De Lira told his father another goal — to someday play in the Big 12 — he didn’t waver in his support.
“He had a vision as a boy and I remember walking on some of the other campuses and he said, ‘Some day dad, I’m going to be on one of these fields,’” L.J. said. “We looked at him and said, ‘If that’s your dream, follow it.’ I hope he holds that dream, because he’s done a wonderful job.”
On a warm October night, De Lira rolls out of the pocket in downtown Austin and fires a strike along the sideline. He does it again and again. The Iowa State commit has velocity on his passes and familiarity with Mark Mangino’s system as his Lake Travis team runs something familiar.
Mangino, who coached Reesing at Kansas, built a relationship with De Lira after his arrival earlier this year. Tommy Mangino was also a key in his recruitment. During a summer camp in Ames, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound De Lira turned to his father while they rode in a golf cart.
“Dad, this is it,” he told his father. “I feel more comfortable than ever.”
He committed June 20. Now, De Lira is progressing through his senior season, with sights currently set on taking Lake Travis deep into the postseason. Just days after that October night, he watched Iowa State take on Texas.
“I love the way Iowa State does things offensively and every week I enjoy watching their offense go to work just picturing in my head that’s going to be me running that offense one day,” DeLira said. “It’s pretty exciting.”