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The Recruiting Road So Far: New Mexico

The Lobos have a good starter kit, but lots of work to do.

NCAA Football: New Mexico at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first piece of our twelve-part series as recruiting season officially kicks off, although many teams in the conference got started last week. The aim of these articles is to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail, what to expect come December 20th, and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February.

New Mexico: 12th in MWConnection Recruiting Rankings

They finished last in the Mountain Division, going 3-9, with their lone conference win coming against Air Force. Offensively, they run a triple option scheme, in case you didn’t know, so they target quarterbacks who are run-first, fullbacks, and running backs who have speed going off-tackle. Offensive lineman who excel at run-blocking are a must and if they are athletic enough to get to the second level for some blocks, even better. This isn’t really the scheme for WRs, but a blocking TE or two will be useful. Defensively, they run a 3-3-5, so they prefer a huge NT in the middle, a RUSH LB who spends most of the time rushing the QB (as the name suggests) and an extra DB who is a bit of a hybrid safety/linebacker who has run stopping and pass coverage responsibilities.

The Road So Far:

This class currently has three commitments, all offensive linemen. While “winning the trenches” goes a long way in moving the ball, it usually helps if they have other players. Still, in a triple-option scheme, solid offensive lineman are a must. This trio will contribute to that. Possibly sooner rather than later.

Chris Elam is a the type of hard worker to goes until the whistle, not taking plays off. He also appears to possess some leadership potential down the line. He should develop into an imposing force on the line listed at 6’6 and 328lbs. He may even see the field next year.

Jarred Sylvester hails from Dodge City CC, which is a nice JUCO program who sends a few players to D1 schools each year. He should play in some form right away for the Lobos.

Continuing the theme, Chris Estrella is another JUCO linemen who has the size and experience to play right away. At 6’5 and 285 lbs, he could develop into an anchor on the line and is possibly athletic enough to get out on block on the pitches to the outside.

Again, 3 committed players in December is far from ideal, but they all have the potential to be players that will fit well in their scheme.

Number Expected to Sign in December: At least 1, possibly more.

Number Expected to Enroll Early: None confirmed, for JUCO players it usually depends on if they academically qualify at semester or if they have to finish up the spring before transferring in.

Top Targets Remaining:

WR Tre Patterson (a teammate of Chris Elam), QB Jordan Cooper, DE Elmer Pauni, RB Lawerence Johnson, RB Chuck Wick, S Joshua Pullum, DT Dezmon Dean, OL Chris Faaumu

The Road Ahead:

The Lobos have 20 outgoing seniors and with only 3 incoming players so far, there is A LOT of work that needs to be done over the next two months. A LOT. Their needs are plentiful, as in pretty much every possible position except OL. They lose both a kicker and a punter, quite a few safeties, defensive linemen, and a few wide receivers, so those, along with QB and RB may be the primary focus at this point.

While they will fill this class, it’s hard to see them getting the point where one could consider it “good”. There will be a few nice pieces no doubt. A heavy number of JUCO players is to be expected, which for better or worse seems to a staple of the Lobos in the Davies era. While doing so can lead to numerous players able to see the field immediately, it is the sign of a struggle to build a program in the long run and points to lack of success or lack or effort in recruiting.

The best case scenario for them going forward is to land most or all of their remaining high school targets to give them future cornerstones to build upon. Cooper would be a great fit as the dual-threat QB in their offense. A between the tackles RB/FB as well as an speedster on the edge runner would go a long way as well. When they do go the JUCO route, targeting players with 3 years of eligibility would be positive, as well as targeting positions that don’t block their young players. Davies may be in win-now mode given his age and allegations surrounding him, but going younger is a better long-term prognosis for the program.

It will be a pretty exciting time for New Mexico as the next two months should be filled with offers, visits, and commits. The class will no doubt be larger, but February will let us know where the quality of the class will end up.

Up tomorrow: San Jose State