High School Football

One of the section’s top quarterbacks signed on Monday. Here’s where he’s going

Davis senior quarterback Xavier Rodriguez accomplished a lot during the 2018 season.

Individually, he led the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section for much of the year in passing yards (finished in second with 3,518) and threw 37 touchdowns to just five interceptions.

Rodriguez, the Western Athletic Conference’s Most Valuable Player, helped the Spartans win five games, the school’s most since 2014.

But, despite being called “one of the best to come out of Davis” by head coach Tim Garcia, Rodriguez’s recruiting wasn’t where he wanted it to be as he entered 2019.

“After the season, I had one or two colleges talking to me, and they just really weren’t ideal for me,” Rodriguez said. “I felt a little frustrated, but I knew in faith of God, he was going to pull through for me.”

On Feb 3., Rodriguez was offered by Arizona Christian University, the school he would sign with in front of friends, family and teammates at the Davis gym on Monday.

“It felt right when I was there (at ACU),” Rodriguez said. “I am excited to be part of a brotherhood that I will be able to build relationships for the rest of my life.”

Leeroy, Xavier’s father, said his son wanted to stay on the West Coast (Cal Lutheran and University of La Verne were his other finalists) and the Firestorm’s offense is a perfect fit: The Air Raid, the same offense he ran at Davis.

The elder Rodriguez said his son would not be in this position without Garcia.

“He did everything for him,” Leeroy said. “From the offense to the one-on-one mentoring and stuff. We couldn’t afford that stuff (quarterback coach, private training) but you don’t need that with Garcia.”

The former Davis quarterback had high praise for “X.”

“He is the most decorated quarterback that this school has ever had,” Garcia told the audience. “He leads the school in every category and raises the ball high for whoever will follow him.”

Garcia also pointed out how rare it is for a high school athlete to play college sports on a scholarship.

“Less than 3 percent of the the population that play high school athletics go on to play college sports with any financial support,” he said.

ACU, located in Phoenix, competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and while Rodriguez won’t be getting a full scholarship, a “large” part of his tuition will be paid for by the school, Leeroy said.

After being a part-time starter as a junior, Xavier started every game in 2018 and said around halfway through the season, he realized he had a chance to play college football.

“My dad and my mentalities are we always wanted to be the best no matter what,” Xavier said. “We definitely pictured getting better throughout the season, and once it (colleges reaching out) started coming true, it was a dream.”

Despite leaving Modesto in late July, Rodriguez said, the Rumble Road campus will always remain important.

“This school means everything to me,” he said. “It’s where I built my legacy, and I am proud to be a Spartan.”

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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.