ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The man responsible for the New Mexico high school single season rushing record is back on the gridiron. Former La Cueva running back Ronnie Daniels is set to make his professional debut for the Duke City Gladiators on Saturday.
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Daniels finished his high school career with 7,068 rushing yards, including back-to back 2,000 yard seasons and a state record 3,024 during his senior year in 2010. The bears star running back then went to Texas Tech and saw some action before he got into some off field issues.
Years later, Daniels was experiencing homelessness and a chance meeting at a gas station helped turn his life around. Gladiators owner Gina Pierscorn Thomas and Daniels struck up a conversation that led to his eventual spot on the team. Looking back on the encounter is now humbling for the former local super star.
“A lot of luck that went into it, but then a lot of hard work from my end and also from hers,” Daniels said. “I feel like the success part is going to be my end of the deal, just me doing my job, getting in the gym, getting on the field and getting extra reps.”
Now, more than a decade removed since he hit the gridiron competitively, Daniels has knocked the rust off and is ready to get back into the action.
“I feel fast. I ain’t going to say how fast. I feel like that’s for you guys to come and see. There’s time when we’re making plays in practice and it feels like the old days. I wish I would have kept this going ten years ago because it feels good now.”
Daniels will make his debut with the Gladiators on Saturday in the Rio Rancho Events Center. Game time is 6 p.m.