The number has swelled to at least 17 for Connor O’Toole.
La Cueva High’s senior-to-be wide receiver, the Journal’s male metro Athlete of the Year for 2018-19 and the most recruited football player from Albuquerque since Eldorado’s Zach Gentry, has no fewer than 17 scholarship offers as the new season for the Class 6A state champions rapidly approaches.
With official practices starting up on Aug. 5, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound O’Toole has added a handful of new offers since the end of the last school year.
California was the latest to join the list, on Wednesday. Maryland offered O’Toole last Sunday. In June, O’Toole received offers from Florida State, Nebraska, Indiana and Purdue.
Those six join the existing list of New Mexico, Northern Arizona, Wyoming, Baylor, Kansas State, San Diego State, LSU, Arkansas, Washington State, Colorado and Utah.
As a point of reference, last year’s most recruited prep football athlete in New Mexico, Taylor Miterko of Carlsbad, had 24 Division I offers before choosing Oklahoma State.
MAKING THE ROUNDS: Catching up on some other news involving New Mexico athletes, scholarship offers and commitments:
n Cleveland High’s stellar incoming junior, receiver Tre Watson, recently received an offer from New Mexico State, to go along with the one he had from Columbia;
n Santa Fe High boys basketball standout J.B. White, who missed the second half of his sophomore season with an injury, has an offer from Marquette;
n La Cueva’s outstanding place-kicker, Dominic Camacho, has an offer from Eastern New Mexico;
n Quarterback Diego Pavia, whose debut at Volcano Vista next month is hotly — and widely — anticipated (that debut will be against La Cueva on Aug. 22), has been offered by Western Colorado;
n Former Cleveland High QB Gabe Ortega, a former Lobo, will continue his football career at Abilene Christian University in Texas;
n Albuquerque Academy swimmer Jake Hand, who will be a senior and was an All-American in the 200 IM as a sophomore, has committed to Arizona, according to swimswam.com.
ANDREA HOWARD: Former La Cueva Bear and UNM Lobo Howard was a key contributor to Italy’s deep run in the recent European Women’s Softball Championships.
Howard hit two home runs for Italy in a 7-0 semifinal victory over Great Britain. Italy went on to defeat the Netherlands 3-2 in the final in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Italy will be one of eight countries trying to clinch a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics during a qualifer later this month in the Utrecht, Netherlands.
REFERENDA: Schools have voted on a handful of items that came out of last month’s New Mexico Activities Association Board of Directors meeting.
Some of the items of note:
n The NMAA has toughened the penalty when a battery occurs by athletes or coaches. Among other things, that person will now be suspended for 15 percent of that sport’s game limitation, will have to complete a sportsmanship course, and could also face sanctions by the host school district.
n By a 76-0 vote, schools have given the NMAA the power to amend its bylaws to include social media “as a means of publicly defaming or attacking the credibility of officials or opponents.”
Those deemed to have engaged in “unethical or unprofessional” behavior on social media platforms can be sanctioned by the NMAA.
n For regular-season soccer tournaments that go to penalty kicks, the old rule had the NMAA treating the game as a tie for both teams. That will no longer be the case. There will be a winner and loser for every tournament game.
n The NMAA is looking to clamp down on baseball coaches who fail to post pitch counts in the 24 hours following a game, and a coach may get suspended if he commits multiple offenses. Fining a coach, the NMAA asserts, has apparently not been enough of a deterrent.