Nico Ornelas: His Coach's Take

GoPokes.com interviewed the high school coach for each of the Oklahoma State commitments in the days leading up to National Signing Day. In this installment of "His Coach's Take," we visit with Richland High School head coach Gene Wier about Nico Ornelas, a 6-3, 190-pound linebacker from Richland Hills, Texas.

What are his strengths as a football player?
Gene Wier: He has great instincts for the game, and he can cover ground in a hurry. He can get to where he needs to be pretty quick. We project him as a space-type player, which is what everybody is looking for in that "will" linebacker now. Nico can get out and cover. We were going to play him at safety (this past season) but we couldn't find a linebacker, and that will be his college position. Some people call it the nickel safety, in the 4-3 like what Bill Young runs it will be a weakside player.

What do you believe will be his biggest challenge in going from high school to playing in the Big 12?
Gene Wier: Everybody's number one challenge is the speed of the game. Everybody can move in college. He'll have to adjust to the speed, and then he'll just have to become more physical, but he'll adjust to that. And adjusting to regular workouts, gaining weight and strength is what he'll have to do.

Was there one game, or maybe even one play, during his career that you'll always remember?
Gene Wier: He had a lot of those kind of plays that you just shake you head. He's blocked kicks and ran them back for touchdowns. He did that one time and I think that's pretty athletic. He's a really good blitzer. He had that knack for timing it just right and getting there when the ball is snapped, and avoiding the blocks. He's a big loss for us.

What are three words that describe him as a football player?
Gene Wier: Athletic, instinctual, and intense.

Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Gene Wier: The Big 12 was important to him, the proximity that Oklahoma State had to here, and then the facilities. He's ranted and raved about the facilities. What happens with most kids, and Nico is not the exception, is they go somewhere and just feel like that's where they belong.

What type of impact do you expect him to have on the OSU football program?
Gene Wier: I think he'll be a solid performer for them. I think he'll be a good player. I hope they don't need him to come in right away. I hope they're in a position where they can give him a year to develop. He has one of the best defensive coordinators in Bill Young.

Over the course of his college career, whether it be four or five years, what do you expect him to accomplish?
Gene Wier: I would hope that one, he graduates and I anticipate that will happen, and two, I expect him to be an All-Big 12 performer by his junior year any way.

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Gene Wier: He was a three-year starter for us. He was just very valuable. He's just one that you don't replace, and you don't get those very often. We have another linebacker (Jeremiah Tshimango, a junior this passt season) that's being recruited by literally everybody in the country, and I still think we will miss Nico quite a bit. I just don't think people like him come around very often.


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