Since he was four years old, University of New Mexico sophomore and Lobos slot receiver Luke Wysong knew he wanted to play football. Playing catch with his dad in their neighborhood’s cul-de-sac would begin a lifelong obsession with the game of football.
Wysong was born into a family steeped in cherry and silver: his mom and dad played volleyball and football for UNM, respectively. His two uncles also played, filling out the Lobo football family roster. After an impressive high school career, when it came to decide on college Wysong said his parents were supportive regardless of what school he chose to go to.
“Well, (my parents) were supportive of me throughout whatever I wanted to do. There was no pressure that I had to go here, I had to go there. They wanted me to go where I was happiest … I just chose this place because I felt like it was the best fit for me and I wanted to be a part of something special with coach (Gonzalez) and all the other coaches and just all (the) players — everyone that’s involved,” Wysong said.
Both Wysong and head coach Danny Gonzalez emphasized that, even with Wysong’s storied family history, he’s still his own person and his own player. For Gonzalez, Wysong simply demonstrated his ability to help the team win.
“All freshmen, we evaluate and see who can do what. Are they good enough to play and help us win games? And he kept showing up ... We knew he had the ability to play and help us, so that was not hard. We didn’t have to manufacture ways to see if he could do it. He played the position he was told and just made plays,” Gonzalez said.
Wysong recalled his freshman year and the flurry of advice coming his way: people advised him to “just try to make the travel team,” or opt to redshirt his freshman year.
“... But I never really wanted to do that. I wanted to come in and make an impact my freshman year. I didn’t really care in what way, but I just (knew) I wanted to be on the field somehow … I’m extremely grateful for everything I got to experience freshman year,” Wysong said.
And an impact he had: Wysong finished first in receiving yards, receptions, receiving yards per game, kickoff returns and total yardage among Mountain West freshmen. But when it comes to duplicating that success in his sophomore season, he’s not focused on hitting any specific stat line: he focuses on being himself.
“I’m just focused on really being myself and being Luke because whenever I’m focused on ‘Oh, I have to do this, have to do that,’ that’s when I start to overthink and not just do my job and have fun. ‘Cause, at the end of the day, football's supposed to be a fun game, and if you put too much pressure on yourself then you’re not going to perform. So I try to go out there and be the best version of myself that I can be,” Wysong said.
Gonzalez echoed this sentiment, saying that, while Wysong might have a tendency to put the team on his shoulders, his best bet is to just be himself.
“I think Luke, at times, wants to be Superman and doesn’t need to be, and he tries to do things to make everything a home run. And he’s gotten better the last couple weeks of just playing within hisself and as he continues to do that, I mean, they have a hard enough time in this league trying to cover him and do those things; he’ll just keep getting better and better,” Gonzalez said.
When he’s not playing football, golfing, snowboarding in the winter or mountain biking in the summer in Angel Fire, you can probably find Wysong with his teammates just hanging out and being friends.
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“I hangout with these guys outside of football so our comradery is there. All of us, we like hanging out around each other. Our team chemistry is pretty good. We all like to laugh and joke. We’re all pretty similar, we’ve all got the same goals and beliefs. If not, we all wouldn’t be here … They’ve all made a great addition to our team in certain ways. I’m grateful that all of our paths crossed,” Wysong said.
This chemistry shows in how Wysong talks about the team: when asked what his ultimate goal is for the 2022 season, Wysong focused on his role in accomplishing the team’s larger goal.
“I’m just trying to put our team in the best position possible. I’m just trying to do whatever I can do. Our team goal is to win the fifth conference championship, so that’s the main goal; that’s what we have our eyes on,” Wysong said.
Gonzalez expressed high goals for what he believes Wysong can accomplish this season. For Gonzalez, though, these goals are only in service of Wysong’s never-ending quest to be the absolute best.
“He’s got potential to be an all-conference player. He’s got potential to lead our team to have chances to win games and be competitive and stay within his role and continue to flourish. I think he’s one of the best offensive players in this league … He wants to be the best in everything he does whether it’s in the weight room, on the field, special teams — he is just driven,” Gonzalez said.
John Scott is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @JScott050901