When it came time for the New Mexico Football Camp, you could say that Cleveland wide receiver Nic Trujillo was ready.
He said he was motivated to perform at a high level and attain as much knowledge as possible in preparation for his upcoming senior season with the Storm. Trujillo did turn it up a notch and it was seen during the three-day camp that started on Thursday at the University of New Mexico.
On Friday, he received a scholarship offer from the Lobos and on Sunday he announced his commitment to the Lobos via Twitter.
“I feel like I always have a chip on my shoulder,” said the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Trujillo. “I see people that I don’t think are as good as me get something that I want. I feel like I had to step it up.”
In the championship game of the camp’s 7-on-7 tournament, Trujillo made a sensational catch for a touchdown, outjumping his defender and getting both feet inbounds near the corner of the end zone.
Cleveland High coach Robert Garza said Trujillo made several catches as the one for the TD throughout camp. Trujillo also improved his time in the 40-yard dash, recently, Garza said, running it in 4.48 seconds.
“When he touches the ball he’s got an opportunity to make something happen,” Garza said. “He’s a special player. He blew some people away with his 40 time this week. He made a special catch and I’m glad the UNM coaches got to see that.”
With Trujillo choosing to play at UNM, he continues what has become a Cleveland pipeline to the Lobos. UNM already features Storm alumni wide receiver Luke Wysong and linebacker Dion Hunter. Wysong’s younger brother, Evan (class of 2023), who will most likely play at receiver, recently committed to the Lobos.
Heath Ridenour, the former Cleveland head coach, was hired as UNM’s quarterbacks coach after guiding the Storm to its third state title in his tenure this past season.
“I was with Luke at Cleveland and grew up watching him play,” Trujillo said. “To see him succeed and do so well at this level is good. We are close and he talked to me. He said he’s ready to basically watch over me and teach me again for the next four years.”
— Nic Trujillo (@trujillo_nic) June 12, 2022
MORE LOCAL FLAVOR: La Cueva quarterback Aidan Armenta, who is also in the class of 2023, led a team, the Renegades, made up of players from different schools to the camp’s championship game and edged Cleveland, 20-19. He showed accuracy and made a few clutch throws on fourth down during the title game that took place inside the Brian Urlachcer indoor practice facility. He also received an offer to play for the Lobos.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Armenta, who showed great leadership and confidence at the camp. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. You always wonder when that day is going to come because you know you’re good enough to play Division I football. To do it front of your hometown and get that kind of offer and that kind of exposure where everybody already knows you, that’s a big deal.”
Armenta said he expects to make his decision before his senior season begins.
Arementa’s teammate, linebacker Mason Posa (class of 2025), also received an offer to play for the Lobos. Posa, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, became a state wrestling champion at 160 pounds this past March. He also participated in the camp.
BIG NUMBERS: The camp included just under 300 high-school aged football players, and 11 teams for the tournament, UNM coach Danny Gonzales said. Cibola and Apache Junction from Arizona had enough players for two teams.
Gonzales, in his third year with the Lobos, had been wanting to conduct the camp since he was hired, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented that the past two years. He’s hoping the camp will grow in numbers in the coming years.
The camps also took place under former head coach Rocky Long, who is now the Lobos’ defensive coordinator, and when Gonzales was an assistant. In 2008, the camp had over 600 players and 40 teams, Gonzales said.
BENGALS SHOW UP: This year, Gallup, a triple-option team, came away with a great experience and memories, Bengals coach Andrew Rodriguez said. Gallup, like many high school teams, had not been able to do much offseason work the past two years because of COVID-19. Rodriguez said the passing tournament helped Gallup work on its defense.
“It’s an opportunity to bond because you’re with each other all day and camping,” said Rodriguez, who is in his third year as head coach. “With Division I coaches you’re going to learn something as coaches and players. We just wanted the opportunity.”
Several players literally camped near the practice fields, putting up tents and some sleeping on air mattresses. Winds on Thursday afternoon and knocked over the tents, breaking some of its poles. Many of them were repaired with duct tape.
Larvell Skeet, who will be a senior at Gallup, said that just added to the memories. In addition, he said he learned from other players aside from his teammates.
“All the teams were great,” Skeet said. “It’s competitive. We get confidence from each other.”
ARIZONA PRESENCE: Apache Junction is coached by Bruce Binkley, the former Del Norte coach who is in his third year at the school. Binkley also coached at Volcano Vista for five years and La Cueva for one. He got his start in Albuquerque as a UNM graduate assistant in 2005 and 2006.
“I wanted (my players) to experience what it’s like to be around college coaches because at some of the bigger universities you don’t get the personal time that you get with these guys, with Danny and Rocky,” Binkley said. “Also, maybe our kids can hear some things that we have coached them and it can confirm what we are doing too. I wanted them to come see this beautiful city; a lot of them have never been here before.”