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The Recruiting Round So Far: New Mexico

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Things weren’t going well before the coaching change. Then, they didn’t go anywhere at all.

NCAA Football: New Mexico at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the twelfth piece in our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. These articles aim to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail, and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February. One team a day will be featured, in order of where they fall in their current MWCConnection ranking. Today looks at New Mexico.

New Mexico:

12th in MWCConnection Recruiting Rankings.

No one was happier to see the 2019 season come to an end than the Lobos. They won their opener, but it was much too close for comfort considering the level of competition. Then coach Bob Davie, already on the hot seat to start the year, had a big health scare and went to the hospital following the game. They beat in-state rival NMSU in September, and 2-1 was as big of a high-point as their season would get. They lost their last nine games of the season and agreed to part ways with Coach Davie as well.

As far as recruiting needs evidenced by this season, take your pick. The defense struggled mightily again, and the offense had some success but also trouble finding consistency. Worse yet, there are not many players to build around. However, it is a fun (at least for us) exercise in how to rebuild a program. Finding a young quarterback or running back to build around, some hard-working sound technique players in the trenches, as well as some tackling machines at linebacker in this class, would be some nice building blocks in year one.

The Road So Far:

The road isn’t very far, to say the least.

Things weren’t going well before the coaching change, and things certainly didn’t go anywhere at all after the coaching change, as New Mexico signed a grand total of zero recruits during the December Signing Period.

Granted, that isn’t a surprise with a change in the coaching staff. However, the Lobos only had two players total that had given verbal pledges during the year. For years, they have focused primarily on Junior College players, which has been critiqued on this site over the years. It has hurt them then and is hurting them even more now, as they have no base for the new staff to even begin, which puts them behind UNLV (who also signed no players). It’s an uphill battle.

Number who signed in December: 0

Number who will enroll early: 0

The Road Ahead:

Top Targets Remaining: QB, RB, WR, TE, OL, DL, LB, DB

Coach Gonzales and his new staff (once he hires them) are basically starting from scratch with this class. Which is difficult in the short term, but could end up being beneficial for the program in the long term.

One thing they should not do is continue to recruit predominantly JUCO players. There’s no pressure to win in the next year or two, so use this class to build for the future by finding developing high school talent. As stated in yesterday’s post with UNLV, focus on finding players who fit with the culture and the new offensive and defensive schemes, and develop them.

It would be nice to see them take some local talent to build those inroads for the future. It may also be worthwhile to recruit players from powerhouse high school teams who are borderline FBS/FCS players. They may not have as high of ceilings as other players, but they come from great programs and will know how to win. It may not be the best plan, but it’s a positive direction, and that’s what this program needs.

Previous posts: Boise State, Wyoming, Nevada, San Jose State, Air Force, UNLV

There it is. That concludes our twelve-part series on the December Signing Day. I hope this was as enjoyable for you to read as it was to for me to write. Keep following through the dead period (though there isn’t much recruiting news currently) and into the busy world of January recruiting once in-home and official visits start back up again.

Coming in February: A more in-depth breakdown of every MWC team’s complete 2019 recruiting class.