Out recruiting the East Coast, Wisconsin running back coach Thomas Hammock was able to stop by Union City (NJ) Hill and tell Steven Gonzalez's head coach that the 6-5, 300-pound junior offensive lineman had picked up his ninth offer. Without question, it was a big one in Gonzalez's mind.
"Oh man, it's a great feeling getting a Wisconsin offer," Gonzalez told Badger Nation. "It's a prestigious school, top 25 and it's basically the best offensive line school in the nation. They send offensive linemen to the league every (year).
"I've learned about the history of offensive linemen. My offensive line coach told me about some of the great linemen that have come from that school, and I can tell by the production of those linemen that it's a great school."
Gonzalez said the Badgers' coaching staff has been in contact with him since the spring, but the interest really started to pick up between Gonzalez and Hammock on September 1, the first day college coaches could contact high school juniors.
"We started talking in March and have been in contact ever since," said Gonzalez. "We've been talking a lot over Twitter. It's been going well. I can't wait to get a better relationship with him."
Identified as one of the most talented prospects in New Jersey for 2015, Gonzalez holds additional offers from Boston College, Connecticut, Louisville, Massachusetts, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse and Virginia. He also has visited Penn State (he'll return to State College next weekend for Penn State's game at Michigan) and camped at Miami.
"I am really not sure of my favorites yet," said Gonzalez. "I am waiting until all my offer to stop coming in and I am going to base my decision off that. "
The last 12 months on the football field have been exciting for Gonzalez. Not only has he seen his recruitment skyrocket, he's seen his weight plummet. Losing between 20-to-25 pounds, Gonzalez said he feels much lighter in the trenches, allowing himself to become even more dominant when taking on opposing defenders.
"It's all about building my body right," said Gonzalez. "All my coaches have been supporting me, giving me workouts to help me build my skills and my footwork. I'm really happy with where I am at."