ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Former Los Lunas football standout, Tyler Kiehne is finally a Lobo. The defensive lineman spent his first collegiate season under head coach Chip Kelly at UCLA, however, he has returned home to wear cherry and silver. In only his first week on the field with the Lobos, Kiehne is already making his mark on the team.

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“It feels great. Being home, being with my family, friends, and just being able to represent this amazing state and amazing city and where I’m from,” said Kiehne. It’s just amazing, it’s a great feeling. I mean I’ve always been a Lobo at heart and I just felt like this is where I needed to be in order to be great and fulfill my maximum potential and to play under coach Rocky Long and coach Gonzales. I feel like that was the best opportunity for me.”

Despite having the talent to go to a premier football program, Kiehne said that it was still a struggle to get recruited out of high school. Now that he’s back in town, he wants to be an example for the young football players in the state and shot that it’s possible to pursue a college career representing New Mexico.

“It’s super important to me, especially being from here and having to get recruited from here. It was super important to me because I want to help the youth out. As a kid growing up here, it was very hard to be recruited and very hard to have any sort of dream or ambition coming out of New Mexico. Being able to be home and be that kind of beacon so to say, is super important to me and just kind of raises the expectations of myself and just pushes me harder.”

Kiehne said he learned a lot from his time at UCLA, however, it is still a tough task to learn a second playbook in two years. He is still learning the ins and outs of Rocky Long’s defense, but the coaches can already see the type of talent the kid from Los Lunas has.

“He’s quick, he’s got a quick first step,” said coach Gonzales. “I mean we’ve got three-d-linemen from Los Lunas now between him and Bryce and Zach Doyle. He fits in here, he hangs out with the guys, and is meshing real well. He’s out here doing some good things. He’s running with both the ones and the twos and we’ll see how much he can help us through the end of spring.”

The defensive end was a three-start recruit coming out of Los Lunas following a strong junior campaign. Kiehne logged 56 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and nine sacks for the Tigers in 2019. He did not appear in a game for the Bruins in 2021.