Written by Ryan Wright
Winning a Florida 4M state championship has a way of getting college coaches’ attention. At the end of his junior year, Alberto Mendoza (6-2.5, 195) helped etch his name and team into the Columbus record book posting a 14-1 record after a triple overtime championship game win against Apopka. As the offers are coming in, the three-star prospect is getting out looking for that next level college fit.
East Carolina, Appalachian State, UNC Charlotte, Toledo, and Florida International have dropped offers. The programs taking a deeper look were shared.
“Virginia, Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, Coastal Carolina, they just got a commit but are still talking to me, and Cal is a little bit,” Mendoza said. “FAU (Florida Atlantic) is interested, and they are coming to see me.”
Spring visits have been taken to Appalachian State, UNC Charlotte, FAU, and FIU. The trip to Boone (NC) to see the Mountaineers was covered.
“It went great,” Mendoza shared. “Coach (Frank) Ponce (OC/QB) has a QB friendly offense, and his coaching style is great. He is tough but effective. App State has a great program. I am excited about what they are doing over there. The whole coaching staff showed me a ton of love. Coach (Shawn) Clark was great. Everyone was great; the whole staff was excited to see me.”
The opportunity to meet the 49ers staff was detailed by Mendoza.
“It was great,” Mendoza said. “Coach (Mike) Miller (OC/QB) and coach (Biff) Poggi showed a ton of love. I really love the coaches there. Their offense is great, and they are building up the program. They are building new indoor facilities and expanding the stadium. Coach Poggi was the offensive coordinator at Michigan. They wiped out the whole roster, some 50 guys from last season and brought 50 transfers in.”
More visits are lining up this spring for Mendoza.
“I am going to Virginia coming up, I have Cal this weekend, and hopefully I will make it to Northwestern and Duke,” Mendoza stated. “I will probably be back at UNC Charllotte, App State, FIU and FAU, and whichever schools come around.
“I was a nobody before the season, but I got on the map four or five months ago. I am excited for all the coaches coming this spring to watch me throw; I can leave a mark. I will have a lot of chances this spring; I am excited.”
The visit to Berkeley this weekend will serve two purposes for Mendoza.
“First, I get to see my brother (Fernando Mendoza) out there,” Mendoza said. “I am excited that I get to see him play. There is a chance he can start. Cal has a great program, a great offense, and they have coach “Spav” (Jake Spavital – OC/QB) out there. He has coached a lot of great quarterbacks. They will do great. The whole offense has flipped around, and they have a great quarterback in Mendoza who can lead them.”
Mendoza has been hard at work this offseason adding 20 pounds to his frame sharing he feels he has another inch to an inch-and-a-half left to grow. The rising talent spoke about the offense he executes with Columbus.
“We run a lot of 11-personnel, because we have a really good tight end (Benjamin Blackburn),” Mendoza said. “We are big on gap schemes in the run game, and we run play action and some straight drop backs because our offensive line is good at protection.”
The Explores’ offense allows Mendoza to showcase all parts of his game.
“It fits my style great because I can drop back and I can move around, even on QB power plays,” Mendoza stated. “It takes the pressure off our running backs when I run. I can drop back and fire down field; I am a great fit in the offense. Our coach coached in college for over 20 years, he brings a lot of advanced pieces to our offense that will prepare me for the next level.”
Asked what separates him from other quarterbacks with his skillset, Mendoza replied, “My biggest skill is the IQ of the game – my mind. I know where to go with the ball. I am sped up. I can dissect the defense. There are things that trigger my mind letting me know what I can do like knowing when someone will be open and where the pressure is coming from. I feel that I can win the play before the snap. Of course, I have to double check once it snaps. I have to make sure, but it helps having a good knowledge of the game knowing defensive schemes and coverages.”
Mendoza was on point during the 2022 season throwing for 2,470 yards with 34 touchdowns completing .727 percent of his attempts. Off 25 carries, he rushed for 207 yards with two more touchdowns.
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