If Lorenz Metz grew up in Texas instead of Germany, he might not be playing football at the University of Cincinnati.
“He probably would have been a guy that only a few schools have an opportunity to recruit,” said UC offensive line coach Ron Crook.
“His potential is off the charts,” said head coach Luke Fickell.
At 6’9”, 322 pounds, Metz has been nicknamed the “German Giant.”
“That’s a big dude,” said safety James Wiggins. “Once he gets on the field he changes. He’s funny and always talking to me outside of football, but once he gets on the field you don’t want to mess with him. You do not want to mess with him.”
Metz grew up playing soccer and table tennis in Germany before being introduced to American football.
“There was a friend in Germany who played club football and he asked me to join the team,” said Metz. “I went to an indoor practice and I kind of liked it. Once we got outside it was even more fun.”
After spending two years playing on the defensive line for the Kirchdorf Wildcats, Metz joined Premier Players International, an organization founded by former NFL player Brandon Collier to help European players earn NCAA scholarships. He chose Cincinnati over reported offers from Michigan and Georgia Tech among others.
“I got offers from other schools but I liked it here the most,” he said.
After arriving at Cincinnati last year, Metz was converted to offensive tackle.
“I never played offensive line before so it was a hard thing for me,” Lorenz told me. “Guys (on defense) are moving left and right and you don’t know before the play what they’re doing. It’s complicated but I’m doing my best.”
“It’s a developmental position where every day, every week, every year you’ve got to improve,” said Crook. “If you don’t come out with the right attitude every day it makes it difficult. He does. He comes out and wants to learn and wants to be great so it’s just a matter of getting him the information and letting him continue to progress.”
Metz only appeared in three games last season meaning he still has four seasons of eligibility remaining. Throughout spring practice he lined-up with the second string offense at left tackle.
“He knows he has a ways to go, but he comes out here with the right attitude and is so thankful and grateful,” said Fickell. “He’s going to get better every single day and that’s the thing you love about him.”
At the end of Thursday’s 15th and final spring practice, Metz blocked a field goal attempt to give his squad a win in a special teams competition.
“I think it was his first time doing it,” said Fickell. “To win the game he puts his big paw up there and blocks the kick so it was really impressive.
“Now we might have ourselves a new little field goal or punt blocker.”
Make that a large one.
Metz says he watched Sunday Night Football games at home in Germany. His favorite NFL team is the Philadelphia Eagles and his favorite player is J.J. Watt.
His coaches say that the “German Giant” has NFL potential.
“He’s come a long way,” said Crook. “He still has a long way to go, but he’s going in a good direction and he’s putting a lot of work into it. It’s very important to him so it’s been fun to watch.”
“I couldn’t even begin to tell you what his upside is as he continues to figure this game out,” said Fickell.
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