Wiregrass Ranch offensive lineman Cristian Loaiza is a player that’s just beginning to earn his just due. You may not have heard about him yet, but he’s well deserving of being considered one of the Tampa area’s best players.
By Brian Smith @fbscout_florida
Wesley Chapel, Fla. — If you are looking for a talented offensive lineman that’s not maxed out and possesses upside, one may need to go outside the normal programs from time to time.
Programs such as Armwood, Bloomingdale, Tech, Plant City, Catholic, Jesuit and Berkeley Prep produce talent among other schools in or near Hillsborough County, but that list extends in nearby Pasco County as well. Careful evaluation leads one to a program that has multiple players with FBS offers and another that could be well on his way to distinction as well.
Wiregrass Ranch has Rocco Becht, a 2022 prospect that just committed to Iowa State and a good bet to be in contention for top player in Tampa next fall. There’s also Bryson Rodgers, a 2023 wide receiver with offers from schools such as Maryland, Iowa State, West Virginia, USF, Penn State and Virginia Tech among others. It’s a talented roster, but those two young men gain the majority of attention. Becht and Rodgers is not where the talent for the Bulls ends.
One of the other talented players for the Bulls does his work along the offensive line. Offensive tackle Cristian Loaiza is a weapon of his own. The 6’5”, 300-pound behemoth protects Becht during passing plays, and he’s also a player that helps create running lanes for the rushing attack, as well as get out in the open-field during screens. He’s certainly put in the time in the weight room to become the player that he is today.
As one would expect, Loaiza utilizes his frame to overwhelm most high school defensive linemen and linebackers. When Loaiza engages an opponent, his power is centered through his hips, right where an offensive coach would want him to utilize his power. As the following clip will demonstrate, even for a college prospect, Loaiza is very strong.
Possessing strength does not automatically signify that an offensive tackle will be an effective blocker. Timing and hand placement play major roles, as does instinct. The latter is an area that Loaiza does quite well.
Know Your Opponent
In studying Loaiza’s film, one of the best attributes would be adjusting to the players in front of him. Few defensive players will overpower this young man, and he showed the ability to be patient with pass rushers by not consistently over stepping towards his opponent, or just relying on sheer power to knock defenders back.
Whether it’s a talented defensive end that Loaiza would vary his pass blocking technique or utilizing a quick inside step to mitigate the ability of the defensive tackle to make an inside rush, Loaiza displayed the ability to be a versatile offensive lineman.
Loaiza played left tackle and right tackle last fall. Depending on the scheme he plays in during his college playing days, Loaiza could also be utilized along the interior as an offensive guard.
Double teaming the defensive tackle or defensive end and then moving to the second level and taking on a linebacker is one of the most difficult tasks for an offensive lineman. Stunts, twists, and sheer quickness must be accounted for by the offensive lineman that moves up to the linebacker level. Loaiza proved he could do that last fall, and as he progresses that could aid him at being a versatile college player at tackle or guard.
Loaiza is one of the better offensive linemen within the Tampa area and he deserves his just due. A player that’s still learning the nuances of offensive line play and still has his best days ahead of him, Loaiza will be a problem for opposing high school players this fall, as well as college players the following four years.