Lobo football: Kiehne set to transfer to UNM - Albuquerque Journal

Lobo football: Kiehne set to transfer to UNM

Rio Rancho’s Zach Vigil (21) is lifted up by his teammate Cayden Romero (75) after a touchdown this past season vs. Volcano Vista. The two teammates and friends are planning to sign letters of intent with New Mexico. (Mike Sandoval for the Albuquerque Journal)

This story has been updated. Tyler Kiehne announced on Tuesday night he is transferring to UNM.

When Danny Gonzales was hired as University of New Mexico football coach in December of 2019 he tried to recruit former Los Lunas standout Tyler Kiehne to the Lobos, but Gonzales was a little late as Kiehne had already committed to UCLA.

However, Gonzales was able to lure him back “home,” after Kiehne recently entered the transfer portal.

Kienhe, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive lineman, said on Twitter on Tuesday night that he is transferring to UNM. He has four years of eligibility remaining after he did not see game action with the Bruins this past season.

He was rated as a three-star recruit by 247sports.com, ESPN, and Rivals.com as a Los Lunas senior.

At UNM, Kiehne will reunite with his former Los Lunas teammate Bryce Santana, a defensive lineman for the Lobos.

ANKLE INJURY: Offensive line appears to be a priority when it comes to the Lobos’ 2022 recruiting class that will be joining the Lobos officially when the early signing period begins on Wednesday.

That priority might have taken a hit when Rio Rancho’s Cayden Romero suffered a broken right ankle during the New Mexico High School All-Star game on Dec. 4. But the 6-foot-5, 330-pound offensive lineman, nicknamed “Diesel,” is in good spirits and remains confident he’ll soon contribute to the Lobos.

Romero said he’ll have surgery on the ankle on Thursday. He is unsure of the recovery time but he wants to be ready for preseason camp.

“When I broke it, I looked down and I saw my ankle,” Romero said. “I was just like, ‘Man, it’s going to suck the next few weeks.'”

Romero said an all-star teammate fell directly on the ankle and it bent inward. He said the injury was reminiscent of Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott’s that ended his 2020 season.

Romero will be signing with the Lobos on Wednesday in the Rio Rancho High gym at 2 p.m. with fellow Ram, running back Zach Vigil, the Gatorade New Mexico Player of the Year who is also going to New Mexico.

“It’s really cool because we’ve become like best friends,” Romero said. “It’s just cool to go to the same school as him and play on the next level together.”

At that same time on Wednesday, Gonzales will have a press conference at UNM to talk about the 2022 recruiting class.

Gonzales will be at Revel Entertainment Center in Albuquerque for a signing party that starts at 5:30 p.m.

Hunter Haemker, a 6-3, 215-pound linebacker from La Cueva High who committed to the Lobos in June, is also among the UNM signees on Wednesday.

DEFENSE LOADING UP: The Lobo defense has shown significant improvement in the two years since Gonzales returned to UNM and brought in Rocky Long as defensive coordinator.

The defense is expected to take greater steps forward with some gems in the 2022 recruiting class, including defensive end David Rowaiye and linebacker Marquis Jones.

Rowaiye, a 6-foot-5, 265-pounder from Southeast High in Oklahoma City, is considered an athletic defensive lineman with Power Five talent. Baylor also offered him a scholarship, according to 247sports.com. He announced his commitment to the Lobos last month and is expected to sign with the Lobos on Wednesday.

Jones, who is 6-5, 215 pounds, starred for Trinity Catholic in Ocala, Florida. He is rated as a 3-star linebacker by 247sports. com. Jones, who committed in September, also had an offer from Coastal Carolina.

Kalen Woods is an addition to the class who announced his commitment via Twitter on Tuesday. He is a 6-3, 170-pound safety from Fremont High near Oakland, California.

Among the highlights during his senior season: he recorded four interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns in a 42-0 win over Oakland.

TRANSFERS: Collin James, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive lineman from Abilene Christian, JC Davis, a 6-5, 295-pound offensive lineman from Contra Costa College in California, and Will Dennis, a 6-4, 240 pound tight end from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, announced they are transferring to UNM, via Twitter recently.

James, who played center for Abilene Christian, also has junior college football roots, as he began at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

Davis started every game at left tackle for Contra Costa. He also received an offer from Boise State.

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