One of the University of New Mexico football program’s recruiting priorities this year was to find a kicker to replace departed senior Jason Sanders.
Stephen Ruiz could be that guy.
Ruiz, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound kicker who doubled as a tight end for Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Ill., announced via Twitter Monday night that he has committed to attend UNM.
Season statistics for Ruiz from last season were not available, but newspaper reports show that on two occasions he kicked three field goals in a single game. His 50-yarder in a victory over Naperville North on Oct. 3 was a Neuqua Valley school record.
Ruiz, who also plays basketball, was an all-conference selection as a kicker.
Though Ruiz is coming to UNM on scholarship — as did Sanders four years ago — he won’t lack for competition. Two walk-on kickers who were on the roster last fall as freshmen, former Eldorado Eagle Andrew Shelley and Gabriel Dunkle from Glendora (Calif.) High School, are enrolled at UNM for the spring semester.