LOS LUNAS— Los Lunas junior Tyler Kiehne is just like many of his peers in the sense he’s thinking about where he wants to go to college.
The difference between Kiehne and most high school juniors is he knows wherever he goes, he’ll be doing it on a full-ride athletic scholarship.
Currently, he has offers in hand from 10 different division one schools, including New Mexico, Cal and Kansas.
He is rated as a three-star prospect by both 247 Sports and Rivals and 247 Sports lists him as the No. 1 player in the state of New Mexico for 2021.
With a 4 grade-point average, Kiehne is likely to be able to pick any place in the country to play in college.
Among his extensive offer list is the University of Wisconsin. When he picked up his offer from the Badgers in November, he became just the second prep football star from the state of New Mexico to receive an offer from UW, joining former Artesia star Landry Jones, who ultimately chose to play at the University of Oklahoma.
The Lobos were the first division one school to offer Kiehne in April of 2019 prior to his junior season. While the offer came from former UNM head coach Bob Davie and his staff, new head coach Danny Gonzales has made Kiehne a priority for the Lobos 2021 class.
As coaches who were at UNM under Davie have spread out across the country, many have continued to recruit him.
Offers he earned from Arizona and Kansas came from former Lobo coaches Stan Eggen and Jordan Peterson in their new programs.
A multi sport athlete, Kiehne is also a member of the boys basketball team and played behind fellow Tiger football star and future Lobo Bryce Santana in the post.
Despite drawing interest from across the country, Kiehne said he would, ideally, prefer to stay out west.
“I like the west, it feels more like home, I’ve been to camps out east, but I like the west,” he said. “I like the PAC-12 and some of the Big 12 Schools. If I could go to the east, I would probably go, but the west is what I’m focusing on.”
Notre Dame, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State have also been in frequent contact with him, but haven’t extended scholarship offers at this point in time. Kiehne has worked hard to get the attention from coaches that he has, both on the field, in the classroom and in recruiting.
“Its great to get a response, a lot of the time me and my dad will sit there sending 5-600 emails to get two responses, so to get one from a big school and for them to want me to go out there, it feels great,” he said.
For Kiehne, the process has picked up tremendously since the football season ended. Eight of his ten division one offers have come since November, with four coming in March alone.
“I’m never gonna settle,” Kiehne said. “In the back of my mind I’m always striving to be better and to out do myself.”
With a year left at Los Lunas, the focus for him is the same as it has been since 2018. Winning a state championship and starting a legacy.
Traditionally, recruiting has run through the high school coaches, but the process has changed with the proliferation of social media.
“Today, the parents and the kid have a lot more say in the process,” Los Lunas head coach Jeremy Maupin said. “With social media and the access these guys have too, I think a lot less of it goes through the coach than it used to.
“I do think the better programs, it starts with a phone call to (the coach). Who better to talk about the grades, and I think even sometimes you get the grades and say ‘oh they have a 3.8 gpa, but how are they as a student?’ I think good coaches are invested in that part of the student as well.”
As a coach, Maupin said it is a lot of fun for him to see his players, including Kiehne, get the attention from college programs
“We just want to give kids the love of the game, if they get the chance to keep playing I’ll do anything and everything I can to help them get that opportunity,” Maupin said.
“They have to perform, show up on the field, show up on film, in the summer, on their 40 times and all of those things. They’re doing the work, I just give them an avenue to display what they’re doing.”