Los Lunas football player Phillip Gonzales has signed with Arizona Christian University, an NAIA school, to continue his football career.
Gonzales signed last Wednesday, Feb. 5 in a ceremony by the LLHS gym alongside teammate Bryce Santana, who signed with the University of New Mexico.
The players were joined by their families and coaches, and many of their teammates came out to support them as well.
Gonzales played offensive line for the Tigers and helped propel the offense to more than 4,000 yards of total offense.
Primarily playing on the right side of the line, he played at both guard and tackle this season.
“First of all I would like to thank God for the opportunity he has given me to pursue my career in football,” Gonzales said on Twitter as he announced his commitment.
“Second of all I would like to thank my family, friends and coaches for pushing me to be better. I would like to announce my commitment to Arizona Christian University to pursue my academic and football career!”
ACU is located in Phoenix and led by head coach Jeff Bowen, who is entering his fifth season in charge of the program. The Firestorm compete in the Sooner Athletic Conference and went 6-4 last season, its second in the SAC.
“The campus was amazing, the culture was amazing,” Gonzales said of his visit to ACU.
“The coaches showed a lot of love, I couldn’t have done it without them. Everything around it, there was just something about it that attracted me to the school.”
Gonzales isn’t the only New Mexico athlete who signed with the Firestorm this year, as Joshua Moreno of West Las Vegas and Noah Gurule of Bloomfield will also suit up for ACU next fall.
The Firestorm only started recruiting him in the middle of December, but the interest the program showed as well as the opportunity it provides Gonzales to get a jump on his education made it the right fit.
“I want to ball out of course,” Gonzales said. “I also want to get a good education and start pre-law. Have a good football career and get a good education.”
Los Lunas head coach Jeremy Maupin was proud to see two of his players get the opportunity to continue their football careers.
“They’re both great kids and I’m really excited for them to go on and play at the next level. It’s a different game but I know they are excited and ready to go,” he said.
“I don’t know a lot about Arizona Christian, but the opportunity to get a really good education and play some football at the same time, you can’t beat that. I’m really excited about Phil and that opportunity.”