Despite a slew of other college opportunities, ‘Nacho,' as he is affectionately known, decided to play for Charlie Strong's program after making his official visit to Louisville last weekend.
"He came back from the visit and had an exceptional time," Nova Southeastern University School head coach Roger Harriot told InsideTheVille.com. "He's more of a structured, family-oriented type of kid. So he wanted to make sure he's in the right environment for his value system.
"Coach (Clint) Hurtt has done a great job maintaining and cultivating a meaningful relationship with Abraham that made him feel comfortable. Once he was able to interact with Coach Strong he realized Louisville has the same type of values that we have about faith, family and the pursuit to be excellent. I think that won him over. He was happy with the visit and environment and sat down with his parents and myself and made an educated decision. We felt it was the best fit for him."
Considered one of the top offensive line prospects in the state of Florida before his junior season, Garcia's stock fell after a foot injury sidelined him for most of last season. This season, Garcia has come back strong from the injury and has put together an outstanding senior season.
"He's been doing all the little things to keep himself healthy in regards to controlling his weight and he sets a good example for his offensive line unit," Harriott said. "He took a big hit last year by sitting out, but he had the surgery and was fortunate to come back healthy and stronger (this season). He's having an exceptional year, he's a team leader and he's dominating each opponent week by week. He's meeting expectations on the field, in the classroom and at home."
Despite his gigantic physique, Garcia is an excellent athlete who possesses nimble feet and is extremely mobile for his size.
"He's an exceptional athlete and his physical attributes speak for themselves," said Harriott. "He's 6'6, 335 pounds, benches well over 450 pounds, squats 600 pounds and runs a 5.2 forty. He has exceptional technique and he'll be a physical asset to Louisville's squad with Coach Strong."
Because of his athleticism, Louisville projects him as a left tackle in college. That means he'll be largely responsible for protecting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's backside. Bridgewater and Garcia are former South Florida Express teammates.
"They feel like he'll be a benefit to their offense as a left tackle," Harriott said. "I spoke to Coach Hurtt and Coach Strong yesterday and they're extremely excited to have him and they feel like he'll make a substantial contribution to their team. He's one of those guys that has natural strength. He's physically blessed."
Garcia, who played baseball as a pitcher and first baseman, should make a major impact for the Cardinals offensive front, a unit that has struggled at times this season.
"He brings technique, strength and a lot of range. He's a long body and at this point he's a man amongst boys," Harriott said. "He's established a lot of confidence and I think he'll bring confidence to that position. The quarterback is going to feel very protected. Nacho does a great job moving his feet and he's an extraordinary athlete. He has great hand eye coordination."
Though Charlie Strong is certainly excited about Garcia's potential impact on the offensive line, the Louisville coach also believes Nacho can become a leader for his young program.
I think they're more impressed with his character attributes," Harriott said. "He's very articulate and I think they see his potential to be a leader off the field. That will be a huge benefit to the development of their young team as Coach Strong continues to implement his (program)."