NEW MEXICO:Second year starter who is putting together a breakthrough senior season...his return to health after offseason shoulder surgery has solidified the offensive line and been a key to the Lobos' offensive success this year...missed spring practice, but impressed the coaches with how quickly he mastered the new offense during training camp...has appeared in 28 games (19 starts) in his career...an aggressive, smart and self-motivated player who is the quarterback of the offensive line...served as 3-time all-MWC center Ryan Cook's understudy for before breaking into the starting lineup in 2006...Cook was picked in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by Minnesota, where he is currently starting at RT...Natali began his UNM career at guard and has played some at tackle...a tremendous performer in the weight room, he earned the team's Beefmaster Award for players weighing 276 pounds and above in 2005...has a max of 580 in the squat and 400 in the bench...Academic all-MWC honoree last year who graduated in December of `06 with a degree in Finance...posted a 3.86 GPA as an undergrad and is now working towards his M.B.A...parents Fausto and Nicolina were both born in Italy...Vince also speaks the language and is an accomplished Italian cook...last name is pronounced na-TAW-lee.
2007 (SENIOR): Is putting together an All-America caliber season, combining tremendous technique and pure physical power to establish himself as arguably the Mountain West's top center in his first 6 games...has led the Lobo offensive line group, known as "The Hitmen," back to its traditional place as one of the premier units in the MWC...leads the team with 61 knockdowns...has allowed just 1 sack all year, but none over the past 3 games...only 3 penalties as well...has consistently put his teammates in good positions with his line calls and his relentless effort up front has helped UNM lead the Mountain West in scoring offense and rank 2nd in total offense...has been the team's top-graded lineman in 5 of 6 games and has posted 80% overall performance grades in each game, including 3 games with 90% marks...over 70% technique grade in 4 games, including flawless technique on 81% of his snaps on the road at Wyoming against the nation's No. 8 defense...4 games with double-digit totals in knockdown blocks.
vs. BYU...Dominant performance and gave tremendous effort against a big, powerful front 7...tallied 12 knockdowns, led the team with a 90% overall performance grade, didn't allow any pressure on the QB and had no penalties in 77 snaps...executed his blocks with perfect technique on 78% of his plays and missed just one assignment all night (99%)...hustled downfield on the screen to lead the way for Rodney Ferguson's 71-yard TD.
vs. Sacramento State...Another strong game, recording 8 KD blocks and an 83% performance grade to help the offense pile up 499 yards and 58 points...didn't allow any pressure on the QB and missed just 2 assignments in 60 snaps (97%).
at Arizona...Excellent effort as The Hitmen's performance up front allowed the Lobos to put up 421 yards and 29 points on one of the Pac-10's most experienced and talented defenses...posted 4 knockdown blocks, an 84% performance grade and was perfect on a season-high 99% of his assignments in 85 snaps.
vs. New Mexico State...Tremendous effort to lead another fine performance by The Hitmen who cleared the way for 496 yards of total offense and 44 points...graded out at 90% overall and gave full effort on all 66 snaps...added 13 more KD blocks, did not allow any sacks and had no penalties.
at UTEP...Enjoyed an oustanding season debut, leading the team with an 88% overall performance grade and recording 12 knockdown blocks...had perfect technique on 75% of his 93 snaps and was correct on 97% of his assignments...did not allow any sacks or hits on the QB and helped pave the way for the Lobos' 193 rushing yards.
2006 (JUNIOR): Started all 13 games and made good progress each week in the Lobos' new blocking scheme...assignment sound player who developed into a more physical presence up front...showed good athletic ability getting downfield to cut down defenders and open up running lanes...could be dominant at times, but struggled on occasion with his consistency...team-high 44 cut blocks, along with 20 big effort plays and 16 pins (10 games graded).
vs. San Diego State...Was the most active lineman on the field in the first half, recording 5 big effort play, 5 cuts and a pin as The Hitmen blew open some massive holes to clear the way for Rodney Ferguson's 210 yards rushing...cut down the defender to spring Ferguson's 26-yard TD run in the 1st quarter...did not allow a sack...at No. 23 BYU...Solid game in the middle as UNM controlled the line of scrimmage against the MWC champions...matched his season-high with 7 cuts, along with 2 pins and 2 big effort plays in all 70 snaps...helped the Lobos put up 418 yards of total offense - the most the Cougars allowed in their 6 home games...UNM also had 173 rushing yards, including 138 by Rodney Ferguson - the most BYU allowed an opposing RB all year...did not allow a sack...at Colorado State...Fine performance against a tough defensive unit...recorded 3 more cut blocks, 2 pins and 2 big effort plays...did not allow a sack and helped wear down the Rams' front 7...vs. Utah...Strong effort as The Hitmen turned in one of their most complete games of the year against a big, physical defensive front...did not allow a sack and helped TB Rodney Ferguson wear down the Utes, rushing for 59 yards in the 4th quarter...the protection he and his linemates provided allowed rookie QB Donovan Porterie to throw for 350 yards, the best by a Lobo in 3 years...vs. Wyoming...Recorded a team-high 6 cuts and did not allow a sack in a steady performance against a stout defensive front...also credited with 4 big effort plays and 2 pins in all 67 plays...at Air Force...Solid performance, notching a season-high 7 cuts along with 3 pins in 61 snaps...got downfield to make the initial block, kicking out a LB, on Rodney Ferguson's 58-yard TD on a screen pass...vs. UTEP...Enjoyed one of his best games against a veteran defense...did a nice job of attacking the defense and being physical and aggressive...helped the UNM running game control the game with 193 yards on 45 attempts, including a career-high 162 from TB Rodney Ferguson...had 3 big effort plays, along with a team-highs of 6 cuts and 3 pins.
Played in eight games, mostly on the PAT/FG team, and was the first offensive lineman off the bench...9 knockdown blocks on the year...played 19 snaps at guard in relief of injured Bo Greer at Utah...recorded 6 knockdown blocks and had a 96% assignment grade in 23 plays at San Diego State...3 KDs and no assignment errors in his 11 plays vs. NMSU.
2004 (Redshirt Freshman):
Was on the travel team throughout the year and played in one game, making his collegiate debut in the fourth quarter at New Mexico State (Sept. 25).
HIGH SCHOOL:A 2003 graduate of Park Ridge (Ill.) Main South HS...was the starting guard, kicker and punter as a senior...first team All-Central Suburban League and honorable mention all-state offensive guard as a senior...Maine South was state champs in 2000, advanced to the semifinals in 2001 (12-1 record) and went 8-2 and won the Class 8A conference title in 2002...three-year letterman and a two-year starter for head coach Dave Inserra...also team captain as a senior... academic all-state honors with a 3.79 grade-point-average and Senior Class President.
PERSONAL:Born Feb. 10, 1985, in Park Ridge...age is 22...full name is Vincent Alexander Natali...older brother, Steve, was an offensive lineman at Northwestern (2000-02).