Athlete of the Week: Lorenzo Dantzler


Dustin Vickers

Lorenzo Dantzler celebrates recovering his third fumble of the season during the game against UNLV earlier this year. Dantzler has played in 45 games for the ‘Runners in his career, recording 86 total tackles and 10 career sacks.

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

Amongst the many keys to UTSA football’s magical 9-0 start to the season has been their defense. Specifically, a stifling run defense that ranks third in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game, and a key part of that defensive line is Lorenzo Dantzler. 

Dantzler has been a high-impact player for the ‘Runners this season and is tied for first in the nation in fumble recoveries on the year with three, a rarity for a defensive lineman. Dantzler credits this success to his approach on the field.

“Just running to the ball, I have that mentality that every play I’m going to run to the ball wherever it’s at, I’m chasing it down. If a ball happens to pop out in that process, then I’m trying to go pick it up,” Dantzler said.

One of the hallmarks of the defense this year for UTSA has been the depth of the defensive line. Players constantly rotate in and out to keep everyone’s legs fresh and for Dantzler, he sees this depth as an amazing opportunity.

“It has helped me become a better leader and a better teammate. Just seeing guys that can do the things that I can do, maybe they’re doing it better than me, I learn from them as well … Just being around them and being a great teammate, that’s what it’s all about for me right now,” Dantzler said.

Fueling UTSA’s rapid rise this season is a bevy of experience, notably 12 super seniors who came back for an extra year of eligibility they would not normally have in non-COVID times, and Dantzler was one of the 12. For him, the decision to come back sounded like an easy one.

“I wanted to come back and do something special this year. Coach Traylor and I, we sat down, we did not talk about wins and losses. He just talked about coming back and leading these young guys, stepping up and being the leader that I am,” Dantzler said.

Dantzler’s importance was recognized before the season started when he was awarded with a single digit jersey number, given to those considered leaders on the team and those that best exemplify the culture of the program. 

“It meant a lot; Coach Traylor asked me if I wanted number six, and I damn near jumped out of my seat. I wanted that single digit because to be voted a single digit by your peers, that means a lot. That really tells you what these guys in the locker room think about you,” Dantzler said.

Dantzler and the rest of the players under Traylor have played an instrumental role in establishing the culture of the 210 Triangle of Toughness at the program.

“It means a lot that one day I’ll be able to come back as an old head and say we started that back in 2020 … It’s been a great thing for us, not just on the field, but in life in general. All of our cultural pillars you can apply to anything you do in life,” Dantzler said.

In the midst of a superb season, Dantzler is someone already familiar with success. Prior to arriving at UTSA he starred at East Mississippi Community College in 2017, winning the NJCAA National Championship.

“It was a great experience as far as just winning the championship and being the number one team. Being called Last Chance U and being called a national champion. So that’s what I’m trying to get back to is being called a champion. That’s what it’s all about,” Dantzler said. 

Despite his dominance on the field, Dantzler’s first sport growing up was not football and he started very late.

“I always just loved sports at first. I wasn’t a big football guy. I was a big baseball guy, I love baseball. Coming up in high school, I got into football, started playing and realized I could get good at it,” Dantzler said. 

“My coaches just told me to stay at it and keep working hard. Even though I’m not one of the biggest guys, just keep continuing to play hard and somebody will notice, and somebody did,” Dantzler said.

Outside of football, Dantzler likes to indulge in his hobbies, playing video games and hunting.

“I love to play games, that’s about all I do. Call of Duty, 2K … I like to whitetail hunt. Just doing stuff outside the house, doing stuff with my hands,” Dantzler said.

Off the field Dantzler has also been making noise with his media appearances, using his platform to make the case for San Antonio to get a Waffle House chain restaurant. In the wake of the NCAA’s new NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) rules, Dantzler has even launched a merch line with waffle theming.

“I don’t even really know how that started. Somebody asked me about Waffle House on Twitter, and I was like, “oh yeah, we need one in San Antonio.” It’s been like three years and we still don’t have one. I mean, we need one in San Antonio. Austin has one, Dallas and Houston. San Antonio is the only place without a Waffle House … It’d be great if we can get one. I don’t care who takes the credit for it, I just want one in San Antonio,” Dantzler said.