- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
The recruiting process is only beginning for Steven Gonzalez (Union City, N.J./Union City), but he knows what he wants. He is going to sign with a school close to his family.
That does not mean the 2015 offensive tackle is already Rutgers bound, however. Gonzalez has a large number of his family in Florida, and any number of states along the Atlantic Coast are close enough, he said.
One of the latest offers for Gonzalez, who has five total, came from Virginia. The Cavaliers offered Tuesday.
“It’s one of the best academic schools in the nation, which I’m really looking at because education comes first,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a really good school and good players come from there, so I’m hoping to take a visit down there.”
Gonzalez could camp at Virginia, but he knows for sure he will camp at Miami (Fla.) in June. Much of Gonzalez’s family lives just miles from the Coral Gables campus.
“It’s like a second home,” Gonzalez said. “I’m going to their camp, and hopefully that goes well and they might offer.”
He could camp at Florida State, which is showing interest, and the Seminoles are a school he would give significant consideration to if they offered.
Connecticut, Louisville, Rutgers and UMass have also offered Gonzalez, and of those schools, Rutgers is making a strong impression on the 6-foot-5, 300-pound sophomore.
“That’s one of my top schools,” Gonzalez said. “It’s the closest school and I’m talking to the coaches a lot. I like the coaches. It’s got good academics and they have a good football team. It’s a good program on the rise, and they just moved to the Big Ten.”
Rutgers is moving to the Big Ten and will be in the same division as Michigan and Penn State, two teams Gonzalez saw come through his school Wednesday.
“I like them both. Michigan is good for academics and football,” Gonzalez said. “So is Penn State.”