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2018 Recruiting Breakdown: New Mexico

Which JUCO players will have the biggest impact right away for the Lobos?

Boise State v New Mexico Photo by Adria Malcolm/Getty Images

New Mexico, like Air Force, recruits for their triple-option scheme, so it’s important to pay attention to mobile quarterbacks, running backs, and o-line players. Unlike Air Force, and most other teams in the conference, the Lobos also recruit a large number of JUCO college players. While this can handicap them in the overall recruiting rankings, it doesn’t mean the talent coming in is any less or that the players won’t make any less of an impact on the field in the coming seasons. To see which JUCO players should play big roles next season, read below.

The Skinny:

  • 22 recruits signed
  • 10 offensive, 10 defensive, 2 Special Teams
  • 5 players in this class were listed at 3-stars by either Rivals or 247.
  • Breakdown by state: 8 California, 4 Texas, 2 Wisconsin, 2 New Jersey, 1 Georgia, 1 Hawaii, 1 Utah, 1 Illinois, 1 Missouri, 1 Australia

QB Trae Hall

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  • Hall will be labeled the quarterback of the future for New Mexico, and from his film, he is worthy of that title. He's a very effective runner and is used to tuck and run type of plays and running to the outside with a moving pocket and being able to read his blockers. Hall also has a strong arm when he chooses to show it. All in all, he appears to be a near ideal fit for the system and becoming bigger and stronger will only aid him going forward.

JUCO QB Sherion Jones

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  • As a one-time Tennessee commit, Jones brings a great deal of talent to New Mexico. He’s an accurate passer who make quick decisions and throws, which will bring an effective passing attack when they do decide to pass. As a runner, Jones is big, quick, difficult to tackle, and should command the option offense without a problem.

RB Lawrence Johnson

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  • Johnson has the potential to be a big-time back for the Lobos in the near future. They will probably have the luxury of being able to redshirt him this year, which will only allow him to develop more. Johnson has many traits of being a complete back; he’s fast, difficult to tackle on the first attempt, and has good hands out the backfield.

JUCO RB Ahmari Davis

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  • An accomplished runner at the JUCO level already, Davis figures to come over and get lots of carriers right away next fall. He will have the potential to put up big numbers in a triple-option offense. This is due to his ability to run inside and outside the tackles, is fast enough to outrun defenders and has big play potential.

WR Cedric Patterson III

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  • Patterson is one of the biggest gets in this class for the Lobos. He figures to become a deep threat going forward. Though the team doesn’t pass often in the triple-option scheme, when they decide to, Patterson will offer them a consistent option who can beat defensive backs, be counted on to make catches and rack up yards after the catch.

JUCO TE Jeffrey Jones Jr.

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  • Jones has played all over the field in his career, lining up as a wide receiver and even defensive end, but figures to land at tight end for New Mexico. He is well balanced for the position, competent in blocking and and receiving. As a blocker, he’s strong and physical and will give the Lobos a blocking presence who’s able to be on the move. Jones can also stretch the field as a receiver, so he should be a great weapon.

JUCO OL Tre Bland

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  • Bland is a lengthy strong offensive lineman coming in for the Lobos. He’s another strong, mobile player who is at his best moving around to run-block for running backs. He has a strong sense of what to do and who to block on every play, not hesitating as he pulls off to hit a defender full force and open up a hole. Bland will fit in very well in the triple option.

JUCO OL Kyle Stapley

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  • Stapley is another veteran linemen from the JUCO ranks. He has the size and ability to step in and play right away. Specifically, he appears to excel as a run-blocker, making him an ideal fit in the triple option system New Mexico features. Along with that, Stapley was utilized moving around, pulling as a blocker to the outside, which should make the Lobos happy.

JUCO OL Jarred Sylvester

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  • A look at Sylvester’s highlight film shows ideal left tackle size, which will be a huge addition to the offensive line and the triple option attack. He displays sensational footwork and appears incredibly nimble for a player his size. Sylvester’s size and athleticism should fit well in this offense.

JUCO OL David Zavala

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  • Zavala has played all over the offensive line, but seems to be best suited to play at one of the interior spots. He appears to be strong as an ox when it comes to run blocking, consistently driving defenders back and opening up holes for runners. This will bode well in New Mexico’s run-heavy scheme and should give Zavala a role right away.

DL Blake Fehrmann

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  • Fehrmann plays fast on the field, running without stopping until the play is dead. He is a tenacious pass-rusher off the line of scrimmage, shedding blockers with his mind set on getting to the quarterback and making big play. Fehrmann would benefit from adding some muscle to his frame over the next year, but figures to develop into a consistent pass rushing threat down the line.

JUCO DL Erin Austin

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  • Austin is versatile, able to play both inside and outside the defensive line. He is quick off of the snap and has little to no issue get past would be blockers on the offensive line. He displays a very effective swim move when on the interior and seems to use a speed rush when coming from the edge of the line.

JUCO DL Adebayo Soremekun

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  • Soremekun is a high motor pass rusher off the edge of the d-line. He possesses an effective combination of size and speed, allowing him to push blockers away as well as simply run past them will little trouble. Soremekun will add a consistent pass rush to a Lobos defense that can use another play-maker in their ranks.

JUCO DL Trent Sellers

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  • Sellers is an advanced pass-rusher who comes off the edge of the line to attack the quarterback. He is able to use a variety of moves to beat his blocker, including spin-moves, swim-moves, and speed rushes. He’s also strong enough to push back his blockers and step in to stop the run. Sellers figures to play a role right away.

LB Dylan Horton

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  • Horton’s film shows him as both a wide receiver and safety, although he was announced as a linebacker by New Mexico. His position experience and skill set could mean he could be groomed to be a SAM linebacker, where he could be a potential playmaker. Horton is quick in coverage and a physical tackler which will help in the run game.

JUCO LB Alexander Vainikolo

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  • Vainikolo looks great in the potential middle of the Lobos defense as a Mike linebacker. He should step in right away to be a consistent and dominate run stopper. He does a great job of keeping the ball carrier in front of him and is an effectively tackler, whether it’s wrapping up with his entire body or making diving shoe-string grabs. Vainikolo is a solid pick up for New Mexico.

DB Donte Martin

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  • Martin appears in many ways to be a high school version of the JUCO DB Rogers (see below). He’s small but extremely athletic and quick. He goes toe to toe and wins battle against bigger wide receivers. He has the potential to be electric in the return game. Martin has big upside for the Lobos.

JUCO DB Dejohn Rogers

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  • What Rogers may lack in size, he more than makes up for in athleticism. He is a fierce tackler, using his entire body to make a hit and bring a player down. His highlights of his returns shows that he can be a major factor there. Rogers is elusive, extremely quick and displays great vision.

JUCO DB AJ Greeley

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  • Greeley does a great job in zone coverage, where he is able to keep his eyes on the quarterback as well as receivers, seeing the play develop before him. He react to plays well and uses his speed and a quick first step to get in position to make a play. In man coverage, Greeley displays good football and can match receivers step for step.

JUCO DB Patrick Peek

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  • Peek represents the best of both worlds in a way. He brings a year of JUCO experience, but was only there a year so he will be at New Mexico for longer than most JUCO players. Peek figures to slide in as a safety, where he is a physical defensive back who is equally skilled at defending the run and the pass.

K Stephen Ruiz

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  • Ruiz has a very powerful leg, and could see time this fall in kicking duties. He shows nice consistency on his field goals, which is a valuable trait to look for in kickers. His kickoffs display his full power, as he is able to produce a touchback seemingly at will. Ruiz will be a valuable weapon for the Lobos.

JUCO P Tyson Dyer

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  • Dyer is a skilled punter who should step in and help the special teams unit immediately. As his highlight film demonstrates, he can kick in a variety of directions. It is clear he is skilled in his trait and very accurate, putting the ball where it needs to be depending on the situation.

Headliner(s): Patterson, Johnson, Hall

Talented enough to play right away: Since the majority of the class are JUCO players, all of them will be expected to contribute in some way next season, but Davis, Bland, Sylvester, Rodgers, Riuz, and Dyer may factor in the most.

Sleeper Recruit(s): Jones

Best unit: Offensive Line, they should be a formidable unit next fall.

Summary:

Of all teams in the conference, New Mexico will be the one that will most likely see the results of this class the soonest, as the majority of this class will be expected to play right away. There is definitely a good amount of talent to be found, with a few players recruiting by big time programs out of high school The downside of so many JUCO players of course is quicker turnover. However, the high school players in this class are perhaps even more intriguing and their upsides are apparent. Will it help the Lobos fare better on the field? We will see this fall.

Previous: Air Force, Wyoming, Utah State, UNLV, Fresno State, San Jose State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State, Colorado State, Boise State

Final Thoughts:

And with that, our series on the 2018 Recruiting Breakdowns in the Mountain West Conference has concluded. All the reads and comments have been appreciated. This was a fun series to work on (through truth be told, going through film on over 200 players was a good amount of work). It was clearly evident to me (and probably you) how much talent the MWC was able to bring in this year. Hopefully this provided fans with excitement and knowledge on their teams classes as well as giving teams their due respect for the hard work they put in on the recruiting trail. Also, hopefully the recruits themselves were described in an accurate and positive light.

This officially ends our coverage on the 2018 class. Although coverage will be light for a few months, recruiting season never fully ends and 2019 is already up and running. This time of year always reminds me of this scene in Elf: