Kurfehs, Moeller to participate at Saturday's National Super Regional Combine
by Pat Turner, goUTSA.com contributing writer
SAN ANTONIO — Linebacker Steven Kurfehs and tight end Jeremiah Moeller came to UTSA as walk-ons.
During that time, they not only developed a friendship, but the two earned scholarships and played big roles in helping launch the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision program.
After leaving their mark with the Roadrunners, Kurfehs and Moeller are taking yet another step together during their quest for a National Football League career.
The two have not been mentioned on any of the NFL teams’ draft lists, but they appear to be opening some eyes. Both attended recent NFL regional combines and made a big enough impression to get invited to Saturday’s National Super Regional Combine in Detroit, Mich.
The UTSA duo should feel optimistic heading into arguably one of the biggest events of their careers.
Last spring, 29 of the regional or super regional combine participants secured 53-man roster positions and that list includes former Texas State standouts Joplo Bartu (Atlanta Falcons) and Daryl Morris (San Francisco 49ers).
“Not many people thought we would be in the position we are now,” Kurfehs recently said at a Roadrunners spring practice. “We’re a prime example of what you can do with hard work. If we get drafted or invited to a pro camp, it will be icing on the cake for us.”
Moeller received his invitation after a strong showing at a February regional in Houston. When the former New Braunfels Canyon star heard the news, excitement followed.
“I was working out and missed the call from the NFL Network,” Moeller said. “When I called them back, they told me I had been invited. That was big news, especially for someone like me. I wish it was happening tomorrow. It’s been a long, crazy process and, hopefully, I can impress some scouts and get a chance to go to an NFL camp.”
Kurfehs’ invitation came a little later.
The linebacker’s performance in Houston didn’t go as well as he hoped, but he made amends during a regional in Los Angeles, Calif.
Even though Moeller already had secured his spot, he still made the trip to L.A. to support his friend.
“The first one didn’t really work out for me,” said Kurfehs, whose cousin, Corey Wootton, played for the Chicago Bears from 2010-13 and currently is a defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings. “I got nervous and didn’t know what to expect. When I didn’t get the invite after the combine Houston, it made me more determined to do better in Los Angeles. I felt more comfortable at the second one and knew more of what to expect. I was a lot calmer and everything worked out for me. Having Jeremiah to support me meant a lot.
“When I got the call saying I got the invite to Detroit, I cried. I’d been working so hard for this moment and I now I saw it paying off.”
The two are looking for better results at the super regional. Once again, they plan to benefit from working together.
“It will be fun going with Jeremiah,” Kurfehs said. “We have worked together a long time and being together is going to make it better for us.”
“It will make it more comfortable having Steven there,” Moeller said. “We’ve become close friends. We both came to UTSA as walk-ons and ended up playing big roles with the team. Neither of us was highly recruited, so we had to earn everything. I think that’s going to help us at the super regional because we know what it takes.
“We have talked a lot about getting a chance to play at the next level. We’ve worked hard together to get ready for this. We just have to keep working and stay confident.”
The experience at UTSA definitely has groomed them for the situation.
Kurfehs, who battled knee injuries during his high school days at San Antonio O’Connor, originally signed with Eastern New Mexico, but he decided to look for a better opportunity after his first year in Portales.
Much to his surprise, it turned out the big prize was in his own backyard.
After walking on in Fall 2010, Kurfehs became a major part of the defense’s success.
“It was a big risk for me to leave Eastern New Mexico because I wasn’t sure if I would get another chance,” Kurfehs said. “I couldn’t imagine not playing football. My whole family always has encouraged me to keep playing and I knew this would be a good opportunity for me. Everything has been great here because I had a lot of support.”
Meanwhile, Moeller received offers from Angelo State and a few out-of-state Division II and III schools, but he was set on playing at the Division I level and decided to try UTSA.
When Moeller arrived, the former prep wide receiver and cornerback also was confronted with another challenge when UTSA coaches decided to move him to tight end.
It all worked out for the best.
“I knew it was going to be a long process,” said Moeller, a UTSA team captain the past two years. “I knew I had to get stronger and put on a few pounds to make the team. I moved in with my grandparents in Helotes and grandmom’s cooking helped me.
“I feel like it turned into a right-place-at-the-right-time kind of deal. I had never played tight end, but I accepted my role and really loved it.”
UTSA head coach Larry Coker believes their accomplishments with the Roadrunners and determination should open doors for bigger things in the future.
“It’s a huge opportunity for both of them,” Coker said. “They’re good football players and it’s exciting to see them get a chance. We have a new program, so it’s good to see these guys get some exposure. I think they’ll have a chance to go to a camp and that would be awesome.”