BAKER – Luke Gonsioroski has long dreamed of playing Division I college football.
The Baker star took one more step toward making his dream a reality on Monday, announcing his commitment to play for coach Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.
Gonsioroski, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound dual-threat quarterback who also stars in basketball and track, was also considering Montana, Montana State, North Dakota and Army. He visited Kingsbury and the Red Raiders over the weekend and committed Monday morning.
“I’m excited to take the next step, I guess,” Gonsioroski said by phone. “It’s always been a dream of mine, and to have the opportunity, I couldn’t be more excited.”
Gonsioroski helped guide Baker to a 6-3 record this past fall, qualifying the Spartans for the Class B state playoffs. But Gonsioroski’s biggest battle took place off the football field. He was diagnosed with cancer in the spring.
“Texas Tech actually didn’t reach out to me until I got sick,” Gonsioroski said. “Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech, he wrote me a letter – just a handwritten letter. He said, ‘Luke, sorry to hear about what you’re going through. We’re excited to have you healthy.’ He was optimistic. He had seen my tape and said, ‘You’re a heck of a player. We’ll keep in touch. Shoot me a call when you’re better. Let us know how it’s going.’ That’s kind of how it started with Texas Tech.”
Gonsioroski went through four rounds of chemotherapy before having a large tumor removed from his chest over the summer
. Cancer free, he worked his way back to the football field in time for Baker’s season-opening win over Wolf Point.
Gonsioroski, who led the state in rushing as a junior with more than 1,500 yards, didn’t put up his usual eye-popping statistics as a senior. With Wibaux transfer Angus Lund in Baker, Gonsioroski saw his rushing opportunities diminish. His passing improved to the point, though, that he was named the second-team quarterback on USA Today’s All-USA Montana football team behind Montana Gatorade Player of the Year Nate Dick of Billings Senior.
Kingsbury and Texas Tech increased their interest in the still-developing passer, who acknowledged he must quickly improve his footwork and accuracy.
“I talked to Kingsbury over the phone multiple times,” Gonsioroski said. “We just kind of talked about my tape, and he just said, ‘You’ve got a lot of potential. I think this is the tip of the iceberg for you.’ I’ve got a long way to go, but I couldn’t agree more. I’m going to give him everything that I got.”
Gonsioroski said he’ll join the Red Raiders as a preferred walk-on with the opportunity to earn a scholarship later in his career. He’ll enroll in June to start taking summer courses and participate in offseason workouts.
Patrick Mahomes II has started the past three seasons at Texas Tech. The junior passed for 5,052 yards and 41 touchdowns last season in Kingsbury’s high-profile offense, and has decided to forego his senior season, declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft.
Texas Tech, which finished the 2016 season with a 5-7 record, was second in the Big 12 in scoring offense, but the Red Raiders ranked last in scoring defense.
Excited to announce my commitment to play football at Texas Tech University 🏈 #GunsUp17 #Wreck’em pic.twitter.com/ZmLQq0H4uj
— Luke Gonsioroski (@luke_gonzo) January 16, 2017