New Mexico Football: Danny Gonzales' First Recruiting Class Turns Heads And Keeps Promises

New Mexico Football: Danny Gonzales' First Recruiting Class Turns Heads And Keeps Promises

Mountain West Recruiting

New Mexico Football: Danny Gonzales' First Recruiting Class Turns Heads And Keeps Promises

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The New Mexico Lobos 2020 Recruiting Class Is Complete With 24 Signings.


Class is complete with a high school focus and southwest feel. 


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Danny Gonzales completes his first recruiting class in Albuquerque, and it’s a good one. 

As we look towards the month of February and with National Signing Day officially in the rear view, coaching staffs can begin to regroup and look onward to spring practice. The Mountain West has welcomed four new head coaches to the conference this off season, some faces familiar and others not so much. But no matter the coach, job or school one thing remains and that’s national signing day.

Danny Gonzales is one of those familiar faces we mentioned earlier, an Albuquerque native who walked-on at New Mexico from near by Valley High School during the last years of Dennis Franchione’s tenure and in the Rocky Long’s first year in charge back in 1998. Long has had his own storied success with the Lobos as he has transitioned from player to head coach and now defensive coordinator almost fifty years later.

Gonzales has walked a similar path to Long’s and has enjoyed success in every role he’s taken while doing it. At New Mexico, San Diego State and most recently under Herm Edwards at Arizona State. Only failing to reach a bowl game in five of his 19 seasons on a collegiate coaching staff. Fans and administration are hoping he brings some of that winning pedigree to Dreamstyle Stadium this fall, everyone knows it’s overdue.

But the life blood of college football is still recruiting, and of course player development is another big component of on field success but still how do you mold that 6-4 210 pound kid from Lovington into that 6-4 255 pound NFL draft top-ten pick? Well you got to get him there first. And of course all eyes are on Danny Gonzales and his newly formed coaching staff to put together a strong first class and win down in Albuquerque.

Now let’s be a little realistic, Gonzales was hired back in mid-December. Right around the NCAA’s early signing period on December 19th. With only one player committed to the Lobos at the time in El Paso native Gabe Stonewall (a Bob Davie Commit, now commited to Lamar). It was a little hard to think he would put together a class to top the Mountain West recruiting rankings in just over a month and a half right?

But his first recruiting class at New Mexico is different, yes different in structure, origin and let’s say expectations than classes of years past. But you can attribute than directly to the man in charge and his former coach, mentor and boss who is now his employee.

Recruiting classes under Bob Davie and Mike Locksley before him tried, but often failed to have a local feel and representation to them. Both brought in local players, on scholarship and as walk-ons during their time in Albuquerque but a majority of the roster was made up of players from around the country. Locksley had connections back in the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia area), which is where he brought in a lot of his players from. Davie whose connections were a bit broader brought in recruits from a little bit of everywhere.

That was completely fine but the New Mexican community like most around the country enjoy seeing homegrown kids on the field. Which has been a goal for Danny Gonzales since day one. To recruit not only regionally but locally in his home state and to give local players opportunities like the one that he was given over twenty-five years ago.

The class stands at twenty-four players signed to NLI’s after national signing day, it includes 7 Texans, 10 Californians, 3 Arizonians, 1 Louisianan and of course 2 New Mexicans. Those New Mexicans are Dion Hunter a linebacker out of Rio Rancho (Cleveland HS) and defensive end Bryce Santana of Los Lunas (Los Lunas HS). Besides a very southwest feel the recruiting class also lists only one junior college player in offensive lineman Isaak Gutierrez of Butte College. It is yet just another difference between the recruiting styles of old and new. As Davie and Locksley both heavily recruited the junior college ranks.

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