Photo credit to Kyler Ronquillo Twitter


Photo Credit to Kyler Ronquillo Twitter.

(Yelm, WA) It was only a matter of time. Yelm football star Kyler Ronquillo achieved almost everything you can achieve as a high school football player. Help your high school win their first state championship in school history, check. Catch the game winning touchdown in the state championship in arguably  the greatest play in championship history, check.

Earn all-conference and all-state honors while sporting a 3.95 GPA in the classroom, check. But like life, unexpected changes can alter one’s football journey, and when Portland State University pulled his football scholarship one week before signing day, his college plans became unclear. However, a few things lined up just right and Ronquillo went from announcing that his recruitment was open on Jan. 24, to committing to one of the top Ivy League Football programs in the country in the prestigious Princeton University on Feb. 9th.  “When Portland State pulled my scholarship, it was truly a blessing in disguise,” Ronquillo said. “I always felt like God had a plan, and I’m pumped and up to continue to play college football for one of the top academic schools in the country in Princeton.”

Ronquillo said that the reason that Portland State gave him for losing scholarship to PSU was that their offense was switching to a pro-style offense and that they were signing someone that better fit their offense.

Away from the football field, Ronquillo had put in the effort to maintain his GPA OF 3.95, and he credits his efforts in the classroom to open up a door to Princeton, but there was also a connection between the Yelm and Princeton football programs that helped too. E.J Henderson is the Defensive Backs Coach and Co-Defensive Coordinator at Princeton, and he played college football at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA and was teammates with current Yelm High School Activities Director Rob Hill. Princeton had shown interest in Ronquillo during the recruiting process, but when Portland State went in another direction at wide receiver, Hill connected with his former teammate in Henderson. After looking at his tape from his Senior season and a discussion with Princeton Head Coach Bob Surace on how Ronquillo would fit for the Tigers, an official visit to Princeton was scheduled.  After visiting Princeton with his family for a weekend, Ronquillo knew he found his college home. “The culture of the team was phenomenal,”  Ronquillo said. All of the coaches and players knew the game very well and everyone was very welcoming.”

While Ronquillo had a big reputation at Yelm High School for making big plays at the wide receiver position for the Tornados, he also starred as a defensive back and is projected to be cornerback for the Tigers. Ronquillo will be joining a program that has gone 17-3 during the last two seasons and is a consistent contender in the Ivy League.

One thing is for certain when it comes to Ronquillo, Princeton is getting a high character and resilient player who will do whatever it takes to win; in December’s State Championship win over Eastside Catholic, Ronquillo suffered a torn Lisfranc joint in his foot in the 1st quarter of the game. Despite the pain of the injury and some of the limitations that the injury caused, he said that with the adrenaline and importance of the game he refused to leave the field and with the game on the line, made the biggest play of his career to help lift the state championship for his team.

After the game, Ronquillo had surgery on his foot and is currently going to physical therapy to prepare for his Freshman season at Princeton.  During a fiery interview with the Tacoma News Tribune on the field after his final game for Yelm, Ronquillo exclaimed “I’m a dawg, for real!” Ronquillo is now a Princeton Tiger, and after all he’s been through, his journey is just beginning.


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