The new Penn State coaching staff visited Gonzalez's Union City (N.J.) Union Hill High during its first week on the job, and informed head coach Wil Valdez that an offer would be on its way. Thursday, it came.
"My coach called Penn State [Wednesday] morning and asked about the time frame, and they said they were thinking about offering," Gonzalez said. "I spoke with [Penn State receivers coach Josh] Gattis later, and they said they were waiting on approval from [offensive line coach Herb] Hand.
"So when they called Coach Valdez to offer today, yeah, I actually was a little surprised."
The offer pulled Penn State up to number two on the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Class of 2015 three-star's list. While common perception would put the Lions a good distance behind leader Ohio State, Gonzalez said that wasn't the case.
Instead, he called the Big Ten rivals "pretty close," adding that Ohio State staked ahead thanks to a relationship-building process that encompassed the Buckeyes' entire coaching staff. Penn State will attempt to do the same, and with a few coaches already in the Garden State over the last two weeks, offensive coordinator John Donovan will be in Jersey Friday and could stop by.
"I think Penn State, once I start building a relationship with them, it's going to be a tight one," Gonzalez said. "When I visited [last spring], I liked the facilities and the campus is beautiful. I just know that academics are great, and that [head coach James] Franklin is going to turn this team around and make it a championship team again and bring them into the glory days.
"I like the campus, and it's very close to home. [Gattis] seems like a cool guy, a nice guy, and I can't wait to get to know him more."
Duke also offered the junior Thursday, marking his 12th scholarship offer. He may visit the Blue Devils in February. A trip to University Park is possible, as well, though the Lions' Junior Day Feb. 15 conflicts with a previously scheduled trip to Boston College.
Gonzalez said he will confer with his coaches before deciding where to go on the third Saturday in February, adding if he doesn't make it, he will take trips to both Penn State and Ohio State this spring.