Spencer Alvarez, a 6-foot-7, 255-pound tight end from Columbia Heights (MN) High, committed to Minnesota in June as the sixth commit in the Class of 2023.
GopherHole caught up with Alvarez at the Breakdown Fall League to learn more about his commitment and senior season.
GopherHole: You committed to Minnesota during the summer. What was the main reason you decided that Minnesota was where you wanted to play college football?
Spencer Alvarez: It’s like my backyard. It’s always been what I watched. They took a chance on me really, because of my knee, so it was just the place where I felt the most comfortable at.
GopherHole: I think you tore the ACL in November, right?
Spencer Alvarez: I had surgery in December, so it’s almost been a year now.
GopherHole: I know that you have been playing, but do you feel like you are at 100%?
Spencer Alvarez: At the end of the season, I felt really good and then the playoffs came and I got a little banged up. I still trying to get back to 100%. I don’t know if that is going to be soon, but I’ll get there.
GopherHole: You played basketball in the past and played with Howard Pulley. Are you planning on playing hoops for sure this season?
Spencer Alvarez: Yes. Yes, I am. I’m just taking it easy until I need to play. This is just fall league. I don’t need to do this.
GopherHole: I think basketball helps with football in terms of footwork and hands. Is that what you enjoy about playing basketball?
Spencer Alvarez: I like having fun in basketball, because there is nothing better than playing really good basketball and beating teams.
GopherHole: Do you think it definitely helps you for football?
Spencer Alvarez: It does. Makes me quicker. A lot more light on my feet.
GopherHole: Minnesota uses their tight ends as blockers and receivers. What do you see as your strengths as a tight end?
Spencer Alvarez: I can block really well. I can run routes pretty well and catch, but our high school doesn’t really show that much, because we run the ball a lot. I’m not sure what I’ll do best when I get there, whatever they see me as. Wherever the role they put me at; the best I thrive in. We’ll see how that works.
GopherHole: Have they ever talked to you about other positions as well? I know that sometimes, they might start you out at tight end, but if you get bigger, they might move you to a different position.
Spencer Alvarez: They haven’t said anything other than tight end, at this time.
GopherHole: Do you know when you are going to enroll at Minnesota? Are you going to come in June?
Spencer Alvarez: In the fall, because I am playing basketball. I’m not going to miss out on basketball.
GopherHole: The Gophers have struggled a little bit the last couple of weeks, but have had a good season overall. I know that I have seen you at quite a few games. What have you seen from the Gophers this year?
Spencer Alvarez: They are trying to figure things out. There is a lot of background noise that is kind of messing with them, but we’re just trying to play our game. Execute our game, which is sometime hard, especially in the Big Ten. Not every game is going to be perfect, so it is just winning the games we should and battling through losses and wins. Doing all you can.
GopherHole: How about your senior season? How pleased were you with how well the team played this year?
Spencer Alvarez: We played a lot better than last year. We were 0-7 and we finished the year 7-4, which is a really big turnaround for us and we were district champs for the first time in 20 or so years, which is great.
GopherHole: Columbia Heights has always been known as a basketball school than football. Is that something that you are pleased that you were able to have that success as a senior?
Spencer Alvarez: It’s nice to turnaround things. We started out .500 both years, but we played tough schedules and junior year, COVID hit us and that was tough. We ran out of numbers, but it is really pleasing to have that closure that we could play with some of the best teams in the state.
GopherHole: What is it going to mean to you to walk onto Huntington Bank Stadium as a freshman?
Spencer Alvarez: It’s going to feel just like it’s home. I already feel that it’s home, because it’s eight miles away from my house. I have made connections there that I’ll be able to easily transfer from high school to college.
GopherHole: I know that I have seen your dad at some of the games, too. Did he play football?
Spencer Alvarez: He played D3 for one year at River Falls.
GopherHole: Is that where you get the love of the game from him?
Spencer Alvarez: Not really. I like seeing sports at a high level and that is what I strive to be, especially basketball and football. There’s nothing better than when teams are executing and players are having good games, which I like.
GopherHole: Do you watch a lot of college or pro football?
Spencer Alvarez: When I have time. I don’t make it that big of a priority, but when I do watch it, it’s fun.
GopherHole: Do you watch certain players or more the game itself?
Spencer Alvarez: It just depends on the matchup.
GopherHole: Do you have a favorite player that you like to watch?
Spencer Alvarez: Not yet. I just like to watch everybody.
GopherHole: What do you like to do away from the field?
Spencer Alvarez: I’m a big golfer. I like to bowl. I’ll do anything, really. It’s just getting me out of the house.
GopherHole: Have you ever played on the golf team?
Spencer Alvarez: We don’t have one. We tried to get one.