"I was actually going to go to a junior college, but my dad said I should call (Mississippi) State and see what they say," said Cortez. "I called them and told them my situation. I then went and looked at their campus. There are a lot of things that have changed since I visited there in high school. They have things done like the Green Bay Packers. They have a weight room shaped like half of a football. They have new dorms. Everything is better."
After he visited, he made his choice. He explained why it was Mississippi State.
"The reason I decided to go to State was (head) Coach (Sylvester) Croom and Coach Brick Haley," he said. "I just wanted to help State win. And I felt it was the right place and it's the SEC. It doesn't get any better than that."
He didn't feel that way in high school, though. His dad did, but he didn't. But, like they say, "Father Knows Best."
"In high school it was between Memphis and Mississippi State. My dad wanted me to go to Mississippi State out of high school, but I had told him I wanted to go to Memphis," noted Cortez. "Memphis had just come off their bowl win. And Coach (Chris) Rumph, who is now at Clemson, brought me in. He was a good recruiter. The guys showed me around Memphis and I thought it's a nice place to be. But my dad kept questioning me because he liked Coach Croom and he wanted me to go to State. But he said it was my decision."
Another reason he chose MSU this go around was the depth chart. State has three seniors on the first team defensive line and one at a backup role.
"Coach Croom told me that they are losing four defensive starters after this season. That played into it also," said Cortez, who will have to sit out his first year, then have two to play two.
Does he have an idea where he'll play on the D-line?
"I play D-end. That's what I want to play, but it doesn't matter to me," noted Cortez. "In college you never know, I may play noseguard. I still can run a little bit even though I got a little bigger. And I know I will lose weight in the summer when I work out in the heat."
What is his current height, weight and speed?
"I was 6-3, 225 in high school. Now I'm 6-3, 275," said Cortez, who only played one year of football prior to attending college. "My forty was 4.75 in high school. At Memphis I ran a 4.86."
Eariler, Cortez mentioned that his dad wanted him to sign with MSU out of high school. Now that he's finally a Bulldog, what's his dad like these days?
"My dad is pumped. He is loving this," chuckled Cortez, who mailed his scholarship papers to MSU a couple of days ago.
And I have a strong feeling there are a lot of Bulldog fans that feel the same way.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.