Coming out of high school in Garden City, Kansas, the only college option Gabe Luna had was to head to Kansas State and join the Wildcats as a preferred walk-on.
Luna figured he could earn a scholarship somewhere, so he took a calculated risk to attend Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.
The move paid off Tuesday night as Butler told AllCylones.com he was choosing Iowa State over offers from Cal, Texas Tech and UNC-Charlotte, becoming member No. 19 of the Cyclones' 2014 recruiting class and their first defensive lineman."I had time to evaluate what schools I liked and Iowa State seems to be the best fit for me," Luna said.
Luna is a December graduate who'll have three years to play two seasons.
Luna picked up an Iowa State offer over the weekend of Nov. 22, his official visit to Ames, but needed to finish his season with Butler and its Dec. 8 bowl game (which Rhoads and defensive ends coach Curtis Bray attended) at the UNI-Dome before he could switch his focus to recruiting.
"When I took my visit, I liked what they had as far as the campus, facilities, coaches and players," Luna said of Iowa State. "I felt like it was gonna be a great fit for me. The team was like a family, more than a group of individuals. Care about one another. that's how it feels at Butler.
When I talked to Coach Bray during position meetings, I liked what he had to say. He could teach me about a lot of things, coach me very well. The defensive scheme is quite used to what is hear is here at Butler."
Friends, family and the coaching staff at Butler helped Luna to his decision.
"My coaches have a real good idea what school would be the best fit for me and made me realize I've only got two years — three if I were to get redshirted — to go in and contribute to the team," Luna said. "Want to go somewhere where it's gonna be easy to get acclimated to."
Butler has three years to play two seasons and, as is the case with most JUCO prospects, wants to go to a school with an opportunity at playing time. Iowa State loses defensive end Willie Scott to graduation, so that was certainly a swing factor for Luna.
"Exactly," he said.