Dorian Hernandez gave football everything he had while playing quarterback for La Feria, which almost made him hang up his cleats early.
Hernandez was a three-year starter and four-year letterman with the Lions, and he racked up a lot of success. He led La Feria to three consecutive District 16-4A Division I titles, the first undefeated regular season in school history in 2019 and its first third-round appearance in 10 years in 2018 — and the individual accolades built up quickly, too.
But so did the injuries during his senior season. Hernandez suffered a broken wrist and several broken toes throughout the year, but his skillset still earned him offers to play college football.
The decision to take the leap was not an easy one, but on Aug. 14, Hernandez elected to continue his career and signed with Central Methodist University.
“It was always a dream to play college ball,” Hernandez said. “The feeling (when I signed) was so surreal, so many emotions going through my head. I was just grateful to have the opportunity. Being a first-gen going to college in my family, it just, I feel like I made my family happy, and that makes me happy.
“I had the offers just lying there since football season, but I just didn’t know if I wanted to still pursue football,” he continued. “I had a tough senior year, and I felt like maybe everything that I went through was a sign not to go through it again. I had multiple injuries and I just felt a little scared to take the risk, I guess you could say. But that Friday morning, I just felt the urge to play again. The last time I was on the field I lost, and I just hate losing so I still have that chip on my shoulder.”
Hernandez said the close relationship he has with CMU recruiter Amos Salas was part of the reason he landed with the Eagles. He moved to Fayette, Mo., the day after signing and is already working with his new team.
Though college ball is a brand new game, Hernandez said his time with La Feria prepared him for the jump and the transition has been smooth.
“I came from a football school, so the practices are pretty similar. We do 7-on-7 and team exactly how I did in high school,” Hernandez said. “I feel like the only thing different here is the energy. I’m playing with people that are at my skillset, and people that get hype like I do. It just feels good to know I have dogs on my team. I’m really looking forward to the season.”
La Feria coach Oscar Salinas believes Hernandez can challenge the Eagles’ quarterbacks for playing time early. He called Hernandez one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the Rio Grande Valley and praised his growth.
Hernandez served as a team captain his senior year, and Salinas said even when he couldn’t be on the field, he was a positive role model for his team and helped them find success as a mentor for his temporary replacement.
“Even when he couldn’t go every day, he always went out there with a positive attitude and we were really proud of that. His leadership came through,” Salinas said. “If Dorian puts his mind to it, he can play at any level, I really believe that. He was blessed with a lot of great athletic ability. He has a great arm and he’s a (gifted and talented) student, so he’s a really smart kid. He’s ready for the challenge.”
Hernandez credited Salinas, coach Dario Sanchez and his father, Christopher, for developing him as a football player and giving him the tools to take on college ball.
“I got my IQ from them, the love of the game came from them, and my drive … everything came from them. I learned everything through them, I did everything for them and those are the three guys I respect the most,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez will be studying business management at CMU. As Hernandez takes on this new journey, Salinas said he and all of La Feria will be behind the former Lions standout.
“I’m very proud of him and just happy he’s going to keep playing,” Salinas said. “Myself as his head football coach and all the football program are just super excited and happy that he got this opportunity and accepted it. We want to wish him the best, and we’re going to be there for him and we can’t wait to watch film of him playing.”