Honors & Awards
- Free-Agent Signee with the Dallas Cowboys (1999)
- University of Nebraska Graduate (May, 2000)
- Member of Two Nebraska National Championship Teams (1995, 1997)
Tony Ortiz finished his playing career by appearing in 44 games, starting 20 of them, for the Cornhuskers. He recorded 132 tackles (55 solo), 23 tackles for 92 yards lost, 8.5 sacks for 59 yards lost, forced and recovered four fumbles, blocked a kick, had three pass breakups, one interception and 14 quarterback hurries. For his efforts he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent following the 1999 NFL Draft.
Ortiz alternated with fellow senior Brian Shaw at Sam linebacker his senior season. Ortiz appeared in 12 games (starting nine) and finished the regular-season sixth on the team with 44 tackles (21 solo). Those tackles included seven for 32 yards lost, three sacks resulting in 26 yards lost, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception and five quarterback hurries that caused incomplete passes. Ortiz' three sacks came against California (eight yard loss), Missouri (seven yard loss) and Kansas (11 yard loss). His lone interception on the year came in the Big 12 Championship game against Texas. In the 2000 Fiesta Bowl against Tennessee, Ortiz had one solo tackle.
Ortiz alternated with Shaw, then started the last nine games at Sam linebacker (including the Holiday Bowl). Ortiz finished as the Huskers' eighth-leading tackler with 46 stops (20 solo), including nine tackles for 28 yards lost and one sack, two pass breakups, four quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. Ortiz had just one tackle in each of the first two games, then had three tackles and a sack for three yards lost against California. He was slated to start the next game two weeks later against No. 9 Washington, but suffered a slight concussion the week of the game during practice and became one of the nine projected Husker starters to miss 45 games in the regular season. He returned the next week against Oklahoma State, and in his first start of the season had a career-high and team-leading 14 tackles with two quarterback hurries. He had a tackle for loss against Texas A&M, Missouri, and Texas, then posted a career-best and team season-best four tackles for 14 yards lost at Iowa State. Against Missouri, Ortiz partially blocked a Vince Sebo punt in the second quarter, marking the only time a Husker blocked a kick in 1998 and the first time NU had blocked a punt since Eric Warfield blocked a Missouri punt in the 1996 game. Ortiz had eight tackles (second only to Mike Brown's 13), including one for a loss, against Arizona in the 1998 Holiday Bowl.
In 12 games, Ortiz totaled 32 tackles (11 solo), including six tackles for 26 yards lost and 3.5 sacks for 24 yards lost. He also had one pass breakup, two fumble recoveries and five quarterback hurries. Ortiz had a season-best five tackles three times in 1997, against Baylor, Oklahoma and Iowa State. His sacks were against Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. He had two tackles for eight yards lost against Baylor. He started against Tennessee in the 1998 Orange Bowl and recorded five solo tackles.
Ortiz played as a backup Sam linebacker to Jamel Williams and Shaw. He had 10 tackles on the year (three solo), including a six-yard sack against Baylor. He had a season-best three tackles at Oklahoma. Ortiz had one solo tackle against Virginia Tech in the 1996 Orange Bowl.
A scholarship athlete, Ortiz redshirted his first year in Lincoln.
Before Nebraska (Crosby High School)
Oritz came to Nebraska after a well-chronicled prep career at Crosby High School, playing for Coach Joe Begnal. Ortiz was a terror on both sides of the ball in his two seasons of high school football and led the team to a 9-1 record and the city championship. Ortiz was named a second-team All-America linebacker by USA Today and listed as the No. 1 linebacker prospect in the nation by SuperPrep. SuperPrep named Ortiz its Northeastern Defensive Player-of-the-Year. Ortiz was a Parade, Schutt, and Bluechip Illustrated All-America linebacker. Ortiz was credited with 104 tackles, eight sacks, three fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown), four forced fumbles and one interception return for a touchdown as a linebacker in 1994. As a tailback, Ortiz recorded 30 touchdowns and 1,638 yards rushing, a 9.2 yards per carry average, and had eight touchdown runs of 20 yards or more. In his two-year career, he tallied 3,005 rushing yards, 52 touchdowns, 216 tackles, four interceptions, six fumble recoveries, 20 sacks and six pass breakups. The New Haven (Conn.) Register tabbed Ortiz as its player-of-the-year, while the Hartford Courant picked him as a first-team all-state running back. Ortiz set Connecticut state records in winning the 100 meters (10.53) and 110-meter hurdles (14.24) at the 1994 state track meet. He also won the six-state regional New England gold medal in the 100 meters and 110-meter hurdles. An honor student, Ortiz picked the Huskers after visiting Penn State and Clemson.
The son of Efrain and Petra Ortiz, Tony was born on July 3, 1977, in South Bronx, N.Y. Tony majored in sociology and earned his bachelor's degree from Nebraska in May of 2000. He was a volunteer speaker at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Omaha.
Ortiz' Career Statistics
*Interception: 1-6 in 1999
Fumble Returns: 2-8 yards in 1997; 2-7 yards in 1999
1996 Orange Bowl vs. Virginia Tech: Tackles 1 UT, 0 AT, 1 TT
1998 Orange Bowl vs. Tennessee: Tackles 5 UT, 0 AT, 5 TT
1998 Holiday Bowl vs. Arizona: Tackles 5 UT, 3 AT, 8 TT: TFL 1-1
2000 Fiesta Bowl vs. Tennessee: Tackles 1 UT, 0 AT, 1 TT