Welcome to the seventh piece of 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 this year in alphabetical order. Today will look at New Mexico.
New Mexico was hoping to take a step forward in the 2022 season. Unfortunately, things followed a similar pattern to the 2021 season. The Lobos looked competitive to start the season, winning two of its first three games due to a solid defense and just enough offense. Then, the wheels completely fell off, and they lost the final nine games of the season, never scoring more than 20 points.
Once again, New Mexico has been gutted by the transfer portal, with many of their best players leaving the team, stalling any positive momentum they have towards building the program. Due to this dilemma, Coach Gonzales and his staff seem to focus on local high school talent mixed with transfers looking for a new home to play D1 football. To learn more about their class, keep reading.
The Road So Far:
New Mexico has never been a destination program when it comes to the world of college football. And until Gonzales took over, it appeared like the program wasn’t putting much effort into recruiting players to come to play for them. That has been changing the past few seasons, and while still a work in progress, it has improved significantly compared to what it was. It may not show up in recruiting rankings, but the Lobos are doing good work.
They were only able to sign 11 players in December, 8 on offense and 3 on defense. Similarly, 8 players are high schoolers while the other three hail from junior college. They continued to recruit well in New Mexico and Texas, but also dipped into Arizona, California, Mississippi, and Utah this year.
Offensively, they secured two talented quarterbacks, with Devon Dampier more a dual-threat and Aidan Armenta more of a traditional pocket passer. New Mexico put a big emphasis on wide receivers, with four in this class, two high schoolers, and two from junior college. Both high schoolers are in-state players, with Nic Trujillo having nice size, and Evan Wysong figures to follow in the footsteps of his brother and be a playmaker early on. Alex Murrell and Duke Miller bring size and experience and figure to find roles right away. Rounding out this side of the ball is Matthew Toilolo, who is a massive offensive lineman.
Over on defense, the Lobos secured a linebacker and two defensive backs. Jayden Wilson is an athletic linebacker who brings a competitive demeanor after playing high school ball in Texas. Skylar Cook could be a diamond in the rough at defensive back and Dereck Moore is should help replenish the secondary as well.
Number who signed in December: 11
Number who will enroll early: 7
247 Composite Rankings (subject to change):
- Overall: 151st
- Recruiting: 151st
- Transfer: 133rd
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: DE, OL, RB, DT, LB
New Mexico brought in some key players during this signing period, but there is a lot of work to do between now and February. Expect them to at least double the size of the class over the next month or so.
The offense is in better shape, but they still need to add a few more players on the offensive line, as well as a running back or two. In past classes, they have added transfer quarterbacks, but with two already, it is less of a need.
The defensive side of the ball is where the biggest additions need to be made. The Lobos currently have no committed players who play on the defensive line. Defenses are built on pass-rushing and finding one of two of those players would go a long way. Likewise, adding to the interior of the line is also important. Another linebacker or two would make sense, especially considering how vital they are in the New Mexico 3-3-5 scheme.
Expect many of their additions to come via the transfer portal. Many of their transfer losses were on defense, so it would make sense they would attempt to replace them with transfer players too. The Lobos need quite a few signees who can play right away next season, which again points to transfers.
Coming next: San Diego State