For most of his football career, sophomore fullback Alex De La Torre was in the forefront.
In high school, De La Torre played linebacker and was often in the spotlight for the 385 tackles, 20 sacks and four interceptions he recorded through his last three seasons. But after being recruited on defense, he became a fullback for the Longhorns and, like most in that position, moved to the background.
“I was a little surprised at the very beginning, but my dad is a head coach, so I’ve been told to be a team player and sacrifice,” De La Torre said. “So I said I was all for it.”
“Day-La,” as his teammates call him, learned to embrace his new position. He said he plays about an average of 14 plays a game, but he’s learned the in-and-outs of his new spot and how to make the most out of the limited action.
De La Torre has also used his defensive skills to his advantage. The tough and gritty linebacker attitude he learned to play with didn’t diminish once he stepped over to the offensive side of the ball.
“It’s a real blue collar [position],” De La Torre said. “You just have to keep on grinding in practice. You’re pretty much just a small O-lineman. That’s how it is really. I’ve really embraced that type of blue-collar mentality, and I’ve tried to take that linebacker mentality and bring it to offense.”
Embracing that mentality has worked out so far for the 6-foot-1-inch, 233-pound athlete. After apprenticing under Ryan Roberson his freshman year, De La Torre learned the trade and gained the fullback role this season. He recorded his first career rush for 19 yards on a fake punt against Kansas State, and his first career reception could not have come at a better time.
Last Saturday, he snatched a goal line pass from Case McCoy against West Virginia for an overtime touchdown.
“I was really excited for him,” senior offensive guard Mason Walters said. “Alex, playing that fullback position, doesn’t get a lot of recognition, and I know he’s a guy that works extremely hard, so I was really excited to see him score not only the touchdown, but [it was] a big point in the game too. [It] really helped us out and [I was] excited for him.”
The new fame he gathered came fast and caught De La Torre by surprise. Since he had never experienced a college press conference, when his name was called for the post-game interviews, he had a few things backwards.
“He went to the media afterwards, and you never think about this, but what do you do?” head coach Mack Brown said. “I said, ‘They’ll tell you what to do when you get in there.’ He said, ‘Do I ask them? What do I–.’ I said, ‘Just go out there and sit, and they’ll ask you questions.’”
Although he is in the background on the field, De La Torre has become quite the star in the Twitter world. The Denton, Texas, native enjoys his time on Twitter so much that his teammates had to limit the amount of action he could spend on the social media site after grabbing his first career touchdown.
“We gave him a hard time,” Walters said. “He likes his Twitter, so after the game, we told Alex to limit it to one [tweet] tonight, and then we’ll [lift] that restriction on a later day. It’s just all in good fun.”