SAN ANTONIO – It’s a recruiting riddle. How does a 6-foot-5 prospect who is committed to a Big 12 power fly under the radar? Attend high school in San Antonio.
Derek Kerstetter was always one of the best offensive linemen in the state — it just took switching his commitment from Oklahoma State to Texas, as well as a stellar performance in Saturday’s Army All-American Bowl, for more people to notice.
Kerstetter started at left tackle for San Antonio Reagan High School. He quickly changed his pledge when Longhorns head coach Tom Herman made him a priority days after taking the job in Austin. It didn’t take long for Kerstetter to inform Oklahoma State he’d be attending school only hours from home.
“It was exciting to know Texas wanted me that quickly. Coach Herman was announced, and then it felt like assistant coaches were at my school within days,” Kerstetter remembered with a smile. “I knew pretty quickly that Texas was where I’d end up once I got an offer. The relationship I have with the current staff and it being close to home made it the right decision.”
Kerstetter isn’t ranked highly on recruiting lists. Such is life for San Antonio prospects. Despite churning out multiple Power Five football players each cycle, the Alamo City isn’t known as a hotbed in recruiting. Players routinely fall through the cracks. Teams such as Oklahoma State usually benefit from overlooked talent. It’s a common trend, and conversation, among players and coaches in San Antonio.
“We’re overlooked in San Antonio. Maybe some guys here don’t have the height or the 40-yard speed, but there is good football played all around the city,” Kerstetter said. “I feel like it is changing some. It’s easy to find players from San Antonio on a lot of rosters, but we don’t get that type of attention.”
Kerstetter reported his height and weight at 6-5 and around 300 pounds. He showed tremendous versatility at the all-star event, spending time at right guard and center. Kerstetter wasn’t flawless with his snaps, but playing center isn’t something he’s done much in his career. His play at guard was promising, and it appeared the West coaching staff purposely ran behind his blocking throughout the game. He never allowed his defender to pressure the quarterback.
“I thought I had a good week. There were a ton of fantastic football players here. It’s an honor to take part in this game, be considered one of the best players in the nation, represent my city and play in front of our military,” Kerstetter said. “It took me some snaps to adjust to the speed and strength of these defensive linemen, but I feel like I improved throughout the week.”