Denver Broncos starting offensive guard Louis Vasquez is living his dream.
Growing up in the small town of Corsicana, Texas, Vasquez dreamed of being an astronaut or a football player.
NASA’s height range for astronauts ranges from 4 feet, 10.5 inches to 6 feet 4 inches.
At 6 feet 5 inches and 335 lbs., it turns out that Vasquez is too big to be an astronaut but just the right size to be an offensive lineman in the NFL.
And in addition to being big, he’s pretty strong, too. At his NFL combine he bench pressed 225 pounds – 39 times.
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Vasquez’s journey to living his dream began in Corsicana, which has a population of just under 25,000 and is home to the world-famous Collin Street Bakery, which has been selling fruit cakes and other baked goods since 1896 (Vasquez’ favorite are the Ice Box Cherry cookies).
Reminiscing about his youth in Texas he recounts hot summer days when there was little else to do but play football – and play football he did.
He recalls fondly his two coaches at Corsicana High School and how he learned from them and developed as a player.
In his last two years, his high school team had a 21-3 record and went to the state championship.
Coming out of high school, Vasquez was rated as one of the top offensive linemen in Texas and, in fact, is one of 15 players that Corsicana has produced for the NFL.
The journey continued on the next largest stage, NCAA Division I Football, which for Vasquez meant becoming a Red Raider at Texas Tech in Lubbock.
Lubbock has a metro population of around 330,000 and is known for producing strong Texas leaders across all sectors, whether in sports, energy, politics, energy, or education.
Looking at Vasquez’s college career you can see him continue to learn, grow, and take his skills to the next level.
In 2005 he played five games as a true freshman.
In 2006 he started 11 games and earned a Big 12 All-Conference Honorable Mention.
In 2007 he started 13 games, was a Big 12 All-Conference Selection, and was described as “one of the most dominant linemen in school history.”
His college career success continued in 2008, in his senior year, when he was again an All-Big 12 Conference Selection.
In 2009 he was a third-round draft pick by the San Diego Chargers.
Next, the NFL and the largest stage of all, the Super Bowl, for the second time in three years.
Now in the 7th season of his NFL career, including four seasons in San Diego and three seasons in Denver, Vasquez has played in 102 NFL games.
By all measures, he is a great player, allowing just 16.5 sacks and committing only 12 penalties in his entire career.
He is, unsurprisingly, ranked as one of the 100 best players in the NFL.
He is a formidable presence both in person and on the Broncos offensive line. He is also down-to-earth.
He speaks from the heart when talking about his childhood in Corsicana, about his years at Texas Tech, and about his pro-football career with the Chargers and the Broncos.
When asked about his success, he talks about family’s hard work and sacrifice, about his father Fabian working the graveyard shift in a factory, about the guidance of his uncle Adam, and about his high school coaches, his fellow players, and the many people who’ve had a positive impact on who he is today.
Vasquez shares what his success has meant to his family, paying special homage to his grandfather Louis.
“For my grandfather, and I’m named after him, it means so much to see his namesake on the biggest stages,” he said. “Two years ago I went back home to visit him, he took me out, away from everybody else and sat me down and said ‘mijo I’m proud of you’ and it was the first time I’d ever seen my grandfather shed a tear.”
Regarding his approach to success, he said “I started thinking I might actually be able to play pro football so I put all of my chips out on the table and laid everything on the line – and pretty much gave myself no other choice but to succeed and you know, it has worked out for me to have that kind of mentality throughout the years.”
Family, hard work, and a mindset of success are the hallmarks of Louis Vasquez’s career and life.
At the age of 28, he has already had great success in life.
Being an astronaut must be pretty cool with getting to fly in to outer space and all.
But Louie Vasquez fulfilling his family’s quest for a better life, living his own dream, and getting to do what he loves - on a four-year, $23.5 million dollar contract with the Broncos - that’s pretty cool, too.