Another El Paso football star has the opportunity to join Aaron Jones as the next hometown player selected in the NFL Draft.

Steven Montez, a stellar quarterback out of Del Valle High School and recent Colorado Buffaloes graduate, joins a crowded quarterback class of 2020 and is headed to the NFL Scouting Combine in efforts to boost his draft stock and meet with NFL organizations in Indianapolis.

He's coming off a recent Senior Bowl appearance and has been a well-regarded draft prospect ever since he opted to return for his senior season at Colorado.

Montez accumulated a bunch of notable accolades at Colorado including: 

  • He became the fourth player in CU history to accumulate 7,000 career passing yards against Colorado State (8/30) and then became the second to hit both 8,000 and 9,000 later in the season.  With 9,492, he trails only Sefo Liufau (9,568), already passing Cody Hawkins (7,409) and Joel Klatt (7,375) this season.
  • He moved into second place for career total offense and currently has 10,479, trailing only Liufau (10,509).
  • He now has 61 career touchdown passes, the most in CU history.
  • He has 1,286 pass attempts, putting him in second on CU’s all-time list.
  • He has 797 completions, putting him in second on CU’s all-time list.
  • He has 987 career rushing yards and 1,562 yards of adjusted rushing taking out sacks.
  • He has set 43 school records, 31 outright and nine tied.
  • He has two of the four seasons in CU history with 3,000 yards of total offense.
  • He has started 38 games at QB including 35 straight and played in 46 games.

On Saturday, Montez joined CrunchTime with Brandon Cohn and me to talk with us about his experience playing at the Senior Bowl, competing in offseason programs and the pre-draft process.

"It was an amazing experience competing in Mobile (Ala.) and competing against some of the best college football players in the nation," Montez said. "It was truly an honor to go out there and showcase my skill set. Game was a little shaky but I really had the opportunity to show what I'm all about both as a person and an athlete."

More than simply out-performing everyone during the game, Montez realized that he matched up well with everyone else at the senior game.

"The thing I learned most about this event is I'm built for this stage," he said. "I've wanted to play in the NFL for as long as I can remember. Thing I realized is I'm not super far off from these NFL guys and I can compete against the best of them."

Miner fans know former quarterback Jordan Palmer all too well, especially what he did for UTEP under Mike Price. As a quarterback coach now for QB Summit, Palmer has trained some of the game's upcoming star quarterbacks—Patrick Mahomes, Sam Darnold, Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff, Josh Allen and Drew Lock.

This year, Montez joins the mix of quarterbacks that includes future top pick Joe Burrow from LSU.

"Jordan's really taught me a lot about footwork and about the game of football in general. I can't say enough good things about Jordan Palmer. He's such a great guy and he's also a UTEP alum," Montez said.

"This is definitely a place I wanted to be five years ago in El Paso. I've dreamed about opportunities like this and I've really wanted to work hard to make these dreams a reality. It's an amazing experience getting a chance to hang out with these quarterbacks and great guys."

Now all the focus is turned to the NFL Combine, where he will get to showcase his skills and talk to members of NFL organizations.

"I know getting invited to the Combine is a great accomplishment in this draft process. I definitely wanted an opportunity to go out there and compete with the best of the best," Montez said. "I was juiced up when I got the invite. I'm ready to go, ready to meet these teams and start competing."

Among his strongpoints, Montez credits his rocket arm and his athleticism. On things he needs to continue working on, he suggests his footwork—something that Palmer has helped him out through the offseason.

But an underrated aspect of the Combine is the interview process. Montez has been preparing for questions he will get from executives and coaches as well.

"That's something we've been hammering on here," Montez said. "Jordan's helped us prepare for the questions they are going to ask us—both personally and about football as well. We've been studying for this and I think we're prepared. This is the part I'm really excited for—meeting with the coaches and the teams."

"These coaches don't draft a number. They draft a person. you got to get these teams to fall in love with you. I'm a people's person. I love talking to people, whether it be about football or anything else."

Being selected in the NFL Draft is a dream for many football players during this process but for Montez—coming from the Del Valle ranks—it means so much more.

"It's something I've dreamed about ever since I was a little kid picking up a football. Now that I'm here, it takes me back to my days at Del Valle where I was playing with my brothers on that gridiron. The real thing that's driving me—other than my family, obviously—is that I want to put on for the 915 just like Aaron [Jones] because I want to create more opportunities for people in El Paso to have the same opportunities that I got. That's what's pushing me right now."

"There's a lot of talent in El Paso. I know people don't give us the credit we deserve. If more and more people make it out of El Paso, make it into the league, make it into college, that will create more opportunities for every other kid in El Paso that had the same dream I had."

Montez graduated from Del Valle in 2015. His younger brother, Raymond Montez, starred for Del Valle and is currently a quarterback at UTPB. Their father, Alfred Montez, played college football and spent a season with the Oakland Raiders (1996).

Quarterbacks will compete on the first day of the NFL Combine starting on Thursday, Feb. 27.

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