Four years of service in the U.S. Army did little to tamp down former Prairie View High School quarterback Ben Meraz’s interest in playing college football.
Meraz, who graduated from PVHS in 2016, chose Austin College, an NCAA Division III school in Sherman, Texas, for his next stop. He called it “the best of all possible worlds” for academics, athletics and being able to work for his father’s construction business.
“It was close to home, they recruited me super hard and built a good relationship with me,” Meraz said. “And then academically, I felt like I could take advantage of a lot of good opportunities that wouldn’t be available elsewhere.”
He will be able to play football, too., as he did at Mesa State University before entering the Army. The Kangaroos won one game in nine tries a season ago. Six to seven schools showed an interest.
Meraz wants to study business finance, then pursue a master’s degree in construction management.
The ongoing pandemic didn’t play a part in his recruiting process. But joining the NCAA’s transfer portal, which allows students to place their names in an online data base to indicate a desire to change schools, did.
“I’d say things were different just because I obviously don’t have any recent film of me playing football,” he said. “So, I’d send them videos of me doing workouts and drills to pair with my high-school stuff.
"Things were different as well because I talked to way more schools this time than when I did in high school," Meraz explained. "I definitely had to ask a lot more questions about stuff like about living in the town, going to school there, types of questions I didn’t think about in high school.”
Meraz still has four years of eligibility.
“I’m pretty excited and nervous. It’s been a long time since I last played,” Meraz said.“But after a couple practices, I feel like I’ll be like a normal player again.
"I hope people can use situations like mine in that you can always chase a dream of yours," he added. "Just because it doesn’t work out the first time doesn’t mean it’ll never work out.”