The recruitment is over for the No. 1 rated player in the state of New Mexico in the class of 2021.

Los Lunas defensive end Tyler Kiehne announced last weekend his commitment to play football at UCLA after graduation.

Kiehne, who was named the All-Metro player of the year for his outstanding junior season, had offers from 12 division one programs, including New Mexico, Washington State and Cal.

“I want to thank my family, coaches, teammates and community for supporting me through this journey,” Kiehne said in a tweet announcing his decision. “I also want to thank all of the coaches and programs for believing in me and taking a chance on me.

“After lots of prayer and thought, my family and I decided UCLA was the best fit for me. I’m proud to say I’m a part of the Bruin family.”

Kiehne was instrumental for the Tigers last season in their run to the 5A state championship game, playing opposite Bryce Santana, who committed to play for UNM.

Kiehne had 34 solo tackles, 56 total tackles, nine sacks and two forced fumbles.

In addition, he recovered four fumbles, blocked a punt and a field goal each and caught a receiving touchdown.

His commitment to the Bruins concludes more than a year of heavy recruiting from programs across the country for Kiehne, who received his first offer in April of 2019 from the Lobos.

UCLA was on his radar from the beginning, and he visited last June. They were one of the first schools to begin heavily recruiting him.

“They have both football and academics which is what I want,” Kiehne said. “There are opportunities there that no other school can provide. I believe in the coaching staff and what they will accomplish there. They have always showed me a lot of love and I felt very wanted there.”

Kiehne was primarily recruited by Jason Kaufusi, the outside linebackers coach.

He said he will be used at outside linebacker in addition to defensive end, where he plays for the Tigers.

Primarily, the coaching staff wants him to be used as a pass rusher.

Kiehne is the first New Mexico player to join a PAC-12 team since Monroe Young of Oñate committed to Cal in 2018. He is the first Los Lunas player to commit to a power five school since O’Maury Samuels committed to Michigan as part of the 2017 class.

The Bruins are lead by former Oregon Ducks and NFL head coach Chip Kelly, who took over the program in 2017. Kelly’s most successful stint was at the University of Oregon, where he led the Ducks to the National Championship game in 2010.

So far, however, Kelly has been unable to replicate the same magic at UCLA. Last year, the Bruins went 4-8 overall, 4-5 in PAC-12 play. 2020 will be Kelly’s third year in charge of the Bruins.

Sports writer

Cameron Goeldner grew up in Boulder, Colo., and attended the University of New Mexico. He covers everything sports for all Valencia County schools.

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