Ricky Hanlan, a senior at Nogales High School, this week signed a letter of intent to continue his studies and play football at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, N.M.
The WNMU Mustangs are an NCAA Division II football program, part of the 18-member Lone Star Conference with member schools in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arkansas.
Hanlan played wide receiver and free safety for the NHS Apaches and was a second-team all-5A Southern Region honoree as a junior. His senior season was cancelled due to the coronavirus.
NHS head coach Jake Teyechea recalled meeting Hanlan when he was the freshman team coach, and said they developed a positive relationship right off the bat.
“He was a natural born leader and playmaker for us,” Teyechea said, adding that he saw that Hanlan had the talent to help the varsity team, and lobbied the then-head coach to consider him for the top NHS squad as a sophomore.
As it turned out, Teyechea was hired as the new varsity coach by the start of the 2018 season, and Hanlan made an immediate impact as a varsity player that year.
“Rick can do a lot on either side of the ball and never took a play off,” Teyechea said, adding that he “is not only a great ballplayer, but an amazing young man who I know will become a fine gentleman. I am excited to see what he accomplishes both on and off the field as he continues to grow.”