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2023 Recruiting Breakdown: New Mexico

A class with local, junior college, and transfer talent

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

Welcome to the eleventh post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today will look at the #11 team in our rankings, New Mexico.

The Lobos haven’t necessarily been a strong recruiting team, but they put in a great deal of effort and have identified a new strategy this cycle. Part of that strategy is to focus on signing players locally from New Mexico, as well as nearby Texas. That often leads to landing recruits who have flown under the radar or gone unrecruited by other programs, but it also means the majority of these recruits have bought into the program. The other aspect is to fill out the class with junior college and transfer players who are ready to step into starting roles. To read more about this class, keep scrolling.

The Skinny:

  • 34 players signed
  • 11 high school players, 11 JUCO players, 12 transfers
  • 21 offensive, 13 defensive
  • 3 3-stars per 247 Composite rankings.
  • Players with a composite rating over 85: 1
  • Players with a composite rating over 82: 2
  • Breakdown by state (excluding transfers): 10 California, 3 New Mexico, 2 Iowa, 2 Mississippi, 2 Texas, 2 Utah, 1 Arizona
  • 247 Composite Rankings (subject to change):

- Overall: 127

- Recruiting: 126

- Transfer: 139

The Players:

QB Devon Dampier

Devon was a top player on one of the top teams in Arizona in high school. He is electric on the field, capable of making a huge play at any moment. Dampier is extremely elusive and shifty on the field, avoiding tackles and picking up numerous yards with his legs. He also has a big arm and throws especially well on the run. Devon is a true dual-threat and could earn reps as soon as next season.

QB Aidan Armenta

Aidan is another quarterback in this class and has just as much talent. He is a pocket-passer who has a cannon for an arm. Armenta has a strong arm with noticeable accuracy on deep balls, hitting players in stride. He looks like he can make any throw on the field and can even extend plays with his legs by scrambling out of the pocket. Aidan’s arm talent will have no issue translating to the college level.

Transfer QB Dylan Hopkins

Dylan transfers in from UAB to play quarterback. He appears to have a strong command of the offense, and is capable of beating teams with both his arms and his legs. Hopkins looks competent in the RPO game and has a big arm to make throws downfield. He extends plays by scrambling around the pocket and can pick up yards on the run as well. Dylan looks to be the front-runner to be the starting QB going into spring practices.

Transfer QB David Charles Tabscott

David Charles, or DC, joins the club from Appalachian State. He does a great job dropping back in the pocket and reading the defense to make the proper throws. Tabscott has an easy throw motion and a rocket arm, allowing him to make every necessary throw. He is used to mostly working out of the shotgun and can throw on the run as well. David Charles can definitely make an impact on the field right away if he earns some snaps.

JUCO RB Dorian Lewis

Dorian is a junior college running back coming to New Mexico. He is a short, compact back with a low center of gravity and great balance when he runs. Lewis can be a downhill runner or bounce outside the tackle box for big runs. He runs effectively all over the field and has plus vision to find the open holes in the defense. Dorian should add another talented back to the Lobo running game next season.

Transfer RB Andrew Henry

Andrew transfers in to play running back for the Lobos. He is dangerous with the ball in hands, and can line up as a traditional running back, but it also able to take snaps in a wildcat formation. Henry is extremely difficult to tackle due to his quick cuts and power, causing defenders to miss or bounce off of him. He can likely also use those skills to return punts because he can pick up touch yards in traffic. Andrew should be quite an asset to the offense next year.

WR Evan Wysong

Evan is the younger brother of a current Lobo and was the top player in New Mexico this past year. He is a pure athlete who lined up all over the field and was a threat to score every time he touched the ball. Wysong combines plus game speed with great vision and a strong understanding of what everyone on the field is doing. He is dangerous anytime, but especially once he gets into space where he can make people miss easily. Evan should have no issue seeing the field and making an impact next year.

WR Nic Trujillo

Nic is another local talent coming to the Lobos. He is a versatile player who can do a lot of different things on offense. Trujillo makes smooth, effortless cuts while running full speed and can cause defenders to miss with ease. He can catch deep balls, passes in the flat, return kicks, and even takes handoffs. Nic looks like he can add a new dimension to the offense once he sees the field.

JUCO WR Alex Murrell

Alex is a wide receiver out of junior college New Mexico signed. He is a tall, strong receiver who is great at catching passes on the sidelines or on jump balls. Murrell uses his body well, getting position against defenders and adjusting to the pass when it’s in the air. He is a proficient route-runner who does a good job finding the holes in the zone. Alex should be able to see the field next year and help plug holes on the offense.

JUCO WR Duke Miller

Duke is another junior college wide receiver. He has an apparent ability to create separation and make plays. Miller has great football and releases and knows how to set up cornerbacks exceptionally well. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he is dangerous with breakaway speed. Duke should come in and help make the Lobo offense more dynamic.

JUCO WR Desna Washington

Desna joins the Lobos after some very productive years on the juco circuit. Fast and physical, he finds different ways to get open because cornerbacks don’t match up well with him physically. Washington has a wide catch radius and does a nice job finding the soft spots in the zone. He does a fantastic job getting up to get balls and is a threat in the endzone. Desna could be a focal point of the offense next season.

Transfer WR Ryan Davis

Ryan transfers to the team after playing at UAB. He is a speedy receiver with great hands, especially in the middle of the field in traffic. Davis isn’t just a short-yardage receiver, he can break free for deep routes and big gains. He is also a willing blocker in the run game, finding defenders to put a hit on. Ryan will settle in nicely as a slot receiver in the New Mexico offense.

Transfer WR Jeremiah Hixon

Jeremiah is another transfer, coming over from Alabama State. He is quick and versatile, able to be used as a traditional receiver as well as a rusher in some instances. Hixon does a great job finding the holes in the defense and bursting through them before players can get into position. He is also a weapon in the return game, consistently dodging defenders and breaking through tackles. Jeremiah should find a role next season to give the Lobos offense a boost.

Transfer WR Caleb Medford

Caleb is the third transfer wide receiver in this class, coming from TCU. He is a big, tall receiver who is a true deep threat down the field. Medford does a nice job finding another gear after making the catch, using his long strides to outrun defenders. He has no issue snagging balls in the air, out jumping cornerbacks with his big height advantage. Caleb will definitely be a big target in the endzone or down the sideline for the Lobos going forward.

JUCO TE Everett Hunter

Everett is a junior college player coming to New Mexico to play tight end. He is a big, tall target who can make an impact in the passing game. Hunter does a nice job making difficult catches in traffic and bowling over defenders for extra yards. He can line up out wide and create mismatches due to his size. Everett should develop into a reliable passing target for the Lobos.

Transfer TE Magnus Geers

Magnus is another tight end in this class. He transfers in from Temple but is originally from Switzerland. Geers is extremely physical, initiating contact and mixing things up at the line of scrimmage. He is a willing blocker, and his size allows him to gain an advantage over the defense. Magnus should continue to develop and will add nice depth to the position next fall.

OL Matthew Toilolo

Matthew is a big offensive lineman in this class. He uses his size well and puts extra force into his blocks to knock defenders off course. Toilolo is surprisingly nimble on his feet and keeps his eyes moving to go from block to block depending on how the defenders are attacking. He is formidable in the run but his true strength appears to be pass protection because of how he can move laterally. Matthew mostly plays guard and that is likely his future home in college as well.

JUCO OL Devon Smith

Devon is a JUCO player coming to bolster the offensive line. He has a long, athletic frame and is quick to initiate contact after the snap. Smith displays sound footwork and squares up well on his blocks, both of which neutralize pass rushers. He executes his assignments well, whether it is run-blocking or pass protection. Devon looks like a good fit at tackle and should see the field right away next season.

JUCO OL Reese Steele

Reese comes to the Lobos to help restock the offensive line. He is a stout lineman who executes his assignment on every play. Steele moves around the line with relative ease, sliding around in protection and getting out of the pocket as a lead blocker. He has surprising quickness and has no trouble finding defenders to hit. Reese looks like he will be an asset at guard, where he can specialize in run blocking.

JUCO OL Ikani Tuiono

Ikani is another JUCO offensive line signee. He explodes out of his snap and displays impressive strength as he drives players back. Tuiono squares up well on his blocks, and has enough burst to get into position before defenders can get by him. He is used to pull and can also get in the second level on his blocks. Ikani is another player who profiles best as a guard at the D1 level.

Transfer OL Sam Telesa

Sam is an o-line transfer from Georgetown. He is tenacious once the ball is snapped, seeking out players to block and impact the play. Telesa is strong and aggressive, knocking players down and driving them back to help running backs. He moves very fluidly in pass protection, with nimble feet as he moves laterally. Sam could blossom as a tackle for the Lobos if all goes well.

JUCO DL Hunter Rapolla

Hunter is a defensive end with great size. He is a determined pass rusher who doesn’t give up and plays through the whistle. Rapolla runs past tackles with his speed, but he can also outmaneuver them using a swim move and quick change of direction. He has the ability to drop back into coverage and does a nice job staying active to be in the proper position. Hunter looks like a well-rounded player who will boost the playmaking ability of the New Mexico defense.

Transfer DL Gabriel Lopez

Gabriel transfers in from Washington State to seek a fresh start. He is aggressive off the line and has a high motor that allows him to get in the backfield quickly. Lopez races past blockers and is a skilled tackle who doesn’t let the quarterback go once he gets his hands on them. He can also shift inside and eat up blocks to shut down the run game. Gabriel is a versatile lineman who does a lot of things well for the Lobo defense.

LB Jayden Wilson

Jayden comes to the Lobos from Texas. He appears to be a smart player, diagnosing plays as they happen and shooting through the gaps to stop the play from getting going. Wilson is a fierce tackler who is always moving on the field, which results in being in the proper position more often than not. He can hold his own in coverage as well, thanks to his awareness and physical abilities. Jayden should fit in well with the Lobo defense and be an asset down the line.

JUCO LB Dimitri Johnson

Dimitri is another junior college player in this New Mexico class. He slides into position to stop the run thanks to his ability to diagnose plays. Johnson is a great tackler, getting his lower body into hits to drive down as he wraps players up. He is able to drop back into coverage, reading the quarterback's eyes and shading over to get his hands on the ball. Dimitri looks like a complete middle linebacker joining the Lobo defense.

JUCO LB Mihalis Santorineos

Milhalis is another linebacker joining the roster from junior college. He covers a lot of ground near the line of scrimmage, racking up as many tackles as he can. Santorineos bolts into the backfield to bring down the quarterback, thanks to his instincts and speed. He does a nice job in zone coverage in the flat, keeping players in front of him and making sound tackles in the open field. Milahlis is versatile and can line up at MLB, WLB, or on the line of scrimmage.

DB Hunter Wiggins

Hunter was a signing day surprise in this class, and a talented one at that. He covers a ton of ground as a deep safety and can close in on the ball to come down with a deflection or interception. Wiggins is sensational at tracking balls and jumping routes to keep receivers from completing a catch. He is also a physical tackler who takes good angles to the ball. Hunter should play from day one and could be a replacement at safety for Adari Haulcy.

DB Edward Blacklock

Edward is a defensive back who comes out of Texas. He is versatile, able to play in many spots in the secondary. Blacklock tackles well in space and has the speed to match running backs and track them down. He is also capable in coverage, pressing receivers at the line of scrimmage and not letting them gain separation when running routes. Edward can play corner or safety and may even do best at a hybrid position with elements of each.

DB Skylar Cook

Skylar is a two-way player coming to the team as a defensive back. He is a high-motor player who always seems to get his hands on the ball or make a play. Cook is not afraid to get physical and looks like a natural stepping up to stop the run. He is also skilled in coverage, tracking the play well and timing his jumps to high-point the ball. Skylar looks like an all-around safety, which bodes well for the Lobos.

DB Dereck Moore

Derek is another defensive back in this class. He is a violent hitter and tackles well in the open field. Moore is able to cover a lot of ground on the field thanks to his constant energy and long strides. He seems to be at his best as a safety play closer to the line who can offer support in the run game. Derek should be a player who can earn reps on special teams early in his career.

JUCO DB Aaron Smith

Aaron enters the fold after coming in from junior college. He does well sitting in the back of a defense and watching plays unfold to know how to react. Smith is great in coverage, matching the speed of receivers, and is often able to out-jump them to get a hand on the ball. Also, he can play near the line of scrimmage, executing fierce tackles to stop the ball carriers in their tracks. Aaron will make the defense better next season in whatever role he ends up playing.

Transfer DB Marvin Covington

Marvin is a defensive back who began his career at TCU. He is a physical corner who is able to stick close to defenders and press them at the line of scrimmage. Covington does a nice job not falling for receivers' moves, instead watching their midline and staying close. He also has great instincts and regularly jumps routes to make a play on the ball. Marvin could step into a role on the two-deep right away next season if he keeps developing.

Transfer DB D’Arco Perkins McAllister

D’Arco is another TCU transfer entering the secondary. He is aggressive and fast, flying all around the field to make plays. McAllister is impressive, racing in to make a tackle, featuring great closing speed and sound technique. He takes good angles to the ball carrier and fills the gaps right away. D’Arco looks like a natural fit as a safety who plays up in the box to stop the run.

Transfer DB Bryson Washington

Bryson is the third defensive back transfer, and he is joining the team from Oklahoma. He was a two-way standout in high school, which allows him to be a hard-nosed runner who isn’t afraid of contact. Washington is an extremely physical tackler and is good at bringing players down on the run. He looks great as the last line of defense due tot his ability and situational awareness. Bryson should step into a free safety positon with no issue.

Team Writer Thoughts:

This appears to be a make-or-break year for Danny Gonzales at UNM. The rebuild plan by bringing in a local guy to coach has not gone according to plan. This is a really good class that Gonzales and company have signed, and if the Lobos can turn a corner this season and improve, this could be the class that carries UNM to a conference championship in a few seasons.

The main pickup in this class is without a doubt Bryson Washington, who transfers in from Oklahoma. Washington is tall, at 6-foot-2, at the defensive back position. He seems to fit the mold of being the Lobo-back in the 3-3-5 defense, even without Rock Long at the defensive coordinator position. Washington’s length and speed with allow him to cover ground in a hurry. Expect him to either be in the starting lineup on opening day against Texas A&M, or not long after. He is that good of a player.

The big sleeper pick in this might very well be Evan Wysong, the younger brother of current Lobo Luke Wysong. Evan has as much speed as his brother, which will be coming in handy in the Lobos new up-tempo offense. Once gotten the ball in space, watchout he will make many people miss and has the speed to outrun everyone.

The group that added the most talent was the quarterback spot. Devon Dampier should get Lobo fans giddy because of his explosiveness with his legs and the strength of his arm. He could be the face of Lobo football for years to come. Aidan Armenta is a really great pocket passer, with a strong arm, and is a local kid which Lobo fans love to have. Dylan Hopkins, a transfer from UAB, appears to have the upper hand in taking over the reigns as the starter in 2023. Hopkins is a dual threat quarterback and comes as a package deal with offensive coordinator Byrant Vincent. Hopkins led UAB to back-to-back bowl victories as their starter.

This class has a ton of potential, as has many other Danny Gonzales recruiting classes, the question will be getting them to mesh well enough quickly to make a difference in the win/loss columns.

Quick Hits:


Mike: Washington, Wiggins

Adam: Washington, Wiggins

Talented enough to play right away:

Mike: Washington, Wiggins, Dampier

Adam: Washington, Wiggins, Smith

Sleeper Recruit:

Mike: Wysong, Trujillo

Adam: Wysong, Wilson

Best unit:

Mike: Quarterback, Wide Reciever

Adam: Quarterback, Defensive Back


New Mexico took a new strategy to the class of 2023 and on paper, things went according to plan. They won’t appear at the top of the recruiting rankings anytime soon, but they are finding the players they want, and there is a lot to be said for that. This class is filled with local stars and under-the-radar types of players who are good bets to perform better than their rankings. They also balanced things out with a great deal of junior college and transfer talent, hoping many of them can play right away. There is a lot to be said for executing the plan, and it will be interesting to see if it will work for them.

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