Gonzalez looks to seize on opportunity at ASU

A player's mental capability is often overlooked in the physical game of football, and is a trait that placekickers in particular must possess. It's an attribute that has served Zane Gonzalez well in his senior year at Deer Park (Tex.) High School, and it's a quality that also convinced the Sun Devils' newest addition that he can be successful as a true freshman for Arizona State.

Earlier today the 6-1 160-pound Zane Gonzalez signed his National Letter of Intent with the Sun Devils.

"I'm very happy the whole process is over with," Johnson told Devils Digest Thursday night. "I was there (at ASU) last week and Arizona State is just a gorgeous place and I just loved it there when I visited so I decided to sign with them. We checked out the school, saw practice and met with the coaches. I really liked it there.

"I really like their Business Honors School and I liked talking to their head academic person, Jean Boyd. I'm there to not only to play football but also get an education. My dad was also impressed with the education I would get there."

ASU's field goal kicking struggles have been well documented in recent years. Last season's returning starter, Alex Garoutte, converted just 6 of 11 field goals before he was regulated solely to kickoffs and replaced by walk-on Jon Mora who was 9 of 12 on his attempts but none of his makes were longer than 39 yards.

Gonzalez was told by the Sun Devil staff that upon his arrival in Tempe he would be running on the first team field goal kicking unit, and that his role could expand. Whatever his duties may be the incoming freshman is elated to be part of an explosive offensive scheme.

"I would have to earn the kickoff position," Gonzalez commented, "since they have Alex coming back. But I like the offense because they put a bunch of points on the board and they run at a quick pace. Coaches told me that they need a kicker that can help them put up points every game.

"I'm not a cocky person at all, but looking at their (ASU's) kicking situation I knew I had a chance to be the starting field goal kicker there."

Often when a recruit signs nearly two months following National of Letter Intent Day, this is due to lack of interest from potential suitors. Yet, this wasn't quite the case with Gonzalez who has been on the Sun Devils' radar for quite some time now.

"I had an offer from Nevada before signing day," Gonzalez recalled. "Arizona State asked me then to walk-on and that based on my performance I could earn a scholarship in the Fall. After signing day Wisconsin offered mw and when Arizona State heard that they decided to offer me too (in early March) because they knew I was really interested in Wisconsin.

"I visited Nevada and right after I visited Arizona State I checked out Wisconsin. Arizona State is the place I liked the most and that was going to be the best situation for me."

As a senior at Deer Park High School Gonzalez was perfect on his kicks, including 10-for-10 on field goals and 100-percent on extra points. His long field goal was a 44-yarder and 44 of his 62 kickoffs went for touchbacks. As a junior he connected on 16-for-18 field goals and again was 100-percent on extra points. His long field goal as a junior was 48 yards and 36 of his 50 kickoffs went for touchbacks.

Gonzalez earned second-team all-Greater Houston honors as a senior in addition to being named first-team all-district and honorable mention All-American by KohlsKicking.com. Kohlskicking.com ranks Gonzalez as the No. 11 placekicker in the nation among high school kickers in 2013. He won the Kohl's National Scholarship Camp with 28 points on field goals.

"The Arizona State coaches like how I‘m a point scorer," Gonzalez said. "They also liked how accurate I am and think that with their offense I can be the leading scorer in the Pac-12."

Gonzalez is scheduled to arrive at ASU in late June and even though he was recruited with the full intention of being the team's starter in the 2013 season opener, the Deer Park standout realizes that he has to justify those expectations.

"Nothing is ever given to you and you have to earn everything you get," Gonzalez admitted. "I'm going to have work hard and prove that I deserve that starting spot kicking field goals and I will also work hard to get that starting kickoff position."

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