Ramondo rakes in honors following senior year

Only one other program in New Mexico's high school football history has finished the regular season 6-4 and went on to capture the state's 5A championship. Las Cruces Mayfield achieved that rare feat this year and Matt Ramondo was one of the standouts on that Trojans squad. The icing on the cake for this Sun Devil pledge was being named both the state's offensive and defensive lineman of the year.

"I was definitely surprised and it was a great honor," Ramondo admitted. "I worked hard in both positions and it was great to get recognized. Our team obviously really stepped it up in the playoffs winning four straight game and it helped that we had a lot of players come back from injuries.

"In the playoffs we all played together like a team and like we should have played all year."

Granted, playing both ways in high school, even in the trenches like Ramondo did, is more the norm than the exception in the high school ranks. Nonetheless, playing at such a high level at both line of scrimmage roles is largely uncommon and the Arizona State commit said that attitude is key when assuming both roles.

"We have coaches that believe in us and push us all the time," Ramondo said. "That made the players give it their all on every down and never quit for four quarters."

The 6-4 Matt Ramondo, who naturally was also voted to 5A All-State team, has bulked up to 295 lbs. which is approximately 15 pounds heavier than the weight he reported when he gave his verbal pledge to the maroon and gold at the end of July. The lineman reported weight room marks of 315 lbs. benching, 480 lbs. squatting and 260 lbs. in the power clean.

Ramondo is slated to play defensive tackle once he arrives in Tempe this summer, and he cited his aforementioned weight gain as one of the biggest factors in his improved play during the 2010 campaign.

"I definitely got stronger," Ramondo stated. "I improved my technique a lot and that is thanks to my coach who worked with me. When I get to Arizona State I'm going to look to improve on getting off the ball quicker and improving my speed.

"Coach Stretz saw my senior season film and liked how aggressive I was and how quick I was moving for being a big man. He also liked how well I use my hands."

Ramondo unofficially visited ASU last spring and committed to the maroon and gold one day after he received his scholarship offer. The Sun Devils beat out Arizona, Michigan State, New Mexico and New Mexico State for the linemen's services. Baylor, Michigan, Oregon and UCLA some of the other programs that were showing interest in Ramondo back then.

"When I visited Arizona State I loved the chemistry between the coaches and the players and how just everything meshed," Ramondo recalled. "It felt like a great family environment and that's why I committed to them when they offered me."

Ramondo officially visited the Sun Devils this past weekend and said that he was once again impressed by the facilities and the relationships between the players and the coaches.

"I really just wanted to already start going to college when I went on that visit," Ramondo confessed, "but I'm also looking forward to enjoying my last semester in high school.

The lineman obviously followed the Sun Devils this season and was impressed by the front four's play in 2010.

"I thought the defensive line was very strong and the whole defense was one of the best in the Pac-10," Ramondo commented. "I'm very happy that I'm going to a program like that."

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