Wide Receiver Makes Mountaineers His Choice

Florida native Tito Gonzalez didn't have the kind of senior year he was expecting at wide receiver, but that didn't stop the schools that saw his highlight tape from offering him a scholarship.

Gonzalez, whose Blake High School team went 3-7 and suffered some offensive personnel problems, displayed his ability as a junior when he put up 31 catches for 540 yards and four scores as the third wideout on the team. Those totals were the best among all juniors in Hillsborough County, and had him expecting an even bigger senior year. However, inexperience along the offensive line and an injury to the team's starting quarterback hindered his production. Blake's resulting 3-7 record therefore kept some schools from looking at the agile Floridian.

"Once I sent my tapes out, though, I got responses," said the well-spoken senior wideout. "Most schools that saw my tape offered me."

Gonzalez narrowed his final three choices to WVU, Iowa State and Marshall, but after taking a trip to West Virginia on the weekend of the 16th, he was pretty sure he would be a Mountaineer.

"I like the academics, and the emphasis they put on it during my visit," said Gonzalez, who hasn't made up his mind yet on a major but is interested in broadcasting and business administration. "I feel like I can get a good degree there and have a good job in the workforce if I don't make the NFL.

"The people and the town were very good, too. Everyone I met was friendly, and I just enjoyed myself. The fan support really impressed me. The football side is good too. West Virginia is an up-and-coming program, and I like Coach Rodriguez a lot."

While Gonzalez would be comfortable playing any of West Virginia's wide receiver spots, he thinks he will fit in best as a slot receiver.

"I'm very agile, and I have good hands," he noted. "I like to run the ball too, and I think I can run those reverses like Travis Garvin did. The offensive line should be even better this year, and the coaches told me we'll be throwing the ball more, so I think I can get some catches this year and help the team early. I think I can be a great addition to the program, and I'm looking forward to contributing. I think I can be a leader, and I like this offense."

After visiting West Virginia, Gonzalez took a trip to Marshall this weekend, but decided to commit after comparing the two. He cancelled a scheduled visit to Iowa State for next weekend, and is fully set on becoming a Mountaineer.

Gonzalez has a 3.0 core GPA, and is taking the ACT again in February, when he expects to gain a qualifying score.


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