Monday, January 18, 2010

A look at NMSU recruiting

Has the Aggie football team done a nice job recruiting for the 2010 season? I think so.

The team is currently ranked in the middle of the Western Athletic Conference pack in recruiting rankings and could see an uptick before the Feb. 3 signing day.

NMSU has signed six three-star recruits, seven if you count Donyae Coleman, who played for the Aggies in 2009.

Lets weigh it across to board:

What we know

NMSU has bulked up in its secondary, a unit that I thought was relatively stable going into the ’10 season. Two three-star recruits have joined the party, in defensive backs Darien Johnson and Charles Garrett. This unit will have four senior starters returning and looks to have some prospects waiting in the wings.

I like what the team has at defensive end. Pierre Fils and Donte Savage proved they can be every down contributors last season, tallying 53 tackles apiece and combining for 13 sacks. They need reinforcements, however, and the hope is that some depth can develop behind them. Rob Williamson, a junior college transfer, might be the man for the job.

The offensive line, which battled last season, added some pieces this offseason and should continue to improve as well. Aundre McGaskey is a three-star prospect who played a season at Texas before transferring to the junior college ranks. He verbally committed to NMSU during the winter. Davonte Wallace is an El Paso high school player who looks to be coming to Las Cruces.

Up in the air

Two young linebackers are expected to come to NMSU in true freshmen Dylan Davis and Anthony Jordan. It's asking a lot for young players to contribute right off the bat, but the linebacker race is going to be wide open prior to the season. I think both will get an opportunity to show what they can do in fall practices. Four seniors — Jason Scott, Ross Conner, Sam King and Jamar Cotton — took the majority of snaps at the linebacker position last year. One player who will get a look in the spring and fall is sophomore B.J. Adolpho, who won Scout Team Player of the Year on defense last season.

Two quarterbacks look to be coming to New Mexico State — Matt Christian and Andrew Manley. From what I hear, Christian, a junior college transfar, is already on campus. Manley is highly touted coming out of Hawaii. NMSU currently has five quarterbacks on its roster, two of which played last year in Jeff Fleming and Trevor Walls. Christian and Manley, who aren't listed yet, will be in the mix and lets not forget about Tanner Rust, who redshirted last year as a freshman. Someone needs to emerge here under new coordinator Mike Dunbar.

We know there's a 1,000-yard rusher on this team in Seth Smith. If he could do it last year, on a team where he was one of the only threats, he can do it again. The coaching staff is also high on Marquise Dunn, a big back with power. He was a grey shirt last year, and could be a nice addition in 2010. What the team does need is a change-of-pace back to go along with the bruisers. Robert Clay showed ability during fall camp last year and James Hall Jr. had a good year as a redshirt freshman. Maybe one of them can fill the void. I actually feel pretty good about this position going into 2010, particularly when looking at the entire roster and what else needed to be addressed.

Areas that need help

Many are clamoring for a receiver — it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the Aggies need more production out of its passing game this year. Nothing's been done here yet, although the team is still in the mix for a few players. Hopefully, something is done by Feb. 3. NMSU received a verbal from tight end Jackson Kaka but, again, he's going to be a true freshman. More receptions from the tight ends this year will help. This still looks like a unit in transition.

The defensive tackle position remains a question mark for me. Dejuan Yates redshirted last year and should get a chance to produce. What happened to Branden Warner in 2009? He came in with a lot of fanfare but struggled with injuries and never made an impact. The team could use a lift from him in 2010. John Finau is the one returnee at this position who played extensively last year.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your rundown on the recruits, redshirts and returnees for next year. It is always hard to know just how folks are gong to turn out. Some hot prospects don't live up to expectations and some others blossom.

A quick look at the roster, and I believe there are 22 Seniors on the roster for next year. How many of thsoe are on scholarship? Could mean a good chance at recruitment for next year as well. There might be some numbers there.

What is the word on filling the coaching positions? Can you pry some info out of Coach Walker? He seems to play it pretty close to the chest.

Next year's schedule looks like we will be underdogs in three out of four non-conference games, but that all are within reach of an upset.

Based on returnees, including redshirts, what do you see as the prospects for next year? Is there a reasonable chance to improve on the three wins of 2009? I see three or four wins likely, with a chance at up to six if some things come together. I cannot help but think that with some more imaginative play calling on offense, a couple more wins would be possible.

IC said...

Any chance that LT takes a hit now that Dooley has left? That was the feeling here with our recruits during the DW rumors. If so, any chance other WAC schools could poach them away? A quick look at their recruits shows 10 players from TX and 2 more from MS, so they dont really have ties to the state. Unlike the 6 that are from LA. Maybe 1 or 2 could be ripe for the picking, esp the two WR's they have. 1 of them just happens to be a 3 star kid.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that the one or two of the QBs could end up at receiver.

Anonymous said...

You forgot about DT David Niaumatalolo.
He was a starter as a true freshman before leaving on a 2yr Mormon mission.

David should give us some help on the line and hopefully Warner will play to his potential.

I saw the 60 minutes special on Samoan FB.
Are we still actively recruiting the South Pacific for players?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Nick Paden (LB) returns to lead the WAC in tackles!

Anonymous said...

Good take on the class so far. I would like to see us add a large WR, but I don't think it will be the end of the world if we don't get one. There are a lot of WR on this roster and many are young. With better QB play and protection we will be fine in the passing game.

I like taking care of the O and D lines. I think we will be fine. I like the Q.B. outlook. RB looks solid.

I hope to see us land #1 WR (Ezell Ruffin) would do the trick. 2. RB Dwanye Garrett fits this bill. 3. Several more line prospects.

Also I hear we may be looking at a L.B. from Soccoro H.S. in NM and Chris Cless from goddard. Check it out.

Teddy said...

Anon 10:03
I certainly believe the team can improve on its three wins from last season. I'm thinking four-to-five wins is a realistic goal to shoot for. Last year I said the team would get four.

One would assume Dooley's loss will effect La. Tech in some form or fashion. This is a tough time to be leaving a program just prior to signing day. As far as NMSU interested in some of their players, I really don't know.

You mention moving some quarterbacks to wide receiver. Shifting guys around might not be a bad idea.

Possibly Donyae Coleman from DB back to receiver? Just a thought.

Niaumatalolo could be a sleeper. I would think they will give him a look at DT judging from the numbers at that position.

Paden is not currently listed on the Aggie roster.

I'm always into the Aggies recruiting New Mexico players. There is a limit to how you approach them, but going after some and having some as contributors on your team is good for representation and morale.

BOSS HOGG said...

Teddy get ready for some "BIG" recruiting news in the days to come, regarding a PAC-10 caliber DL recruit who is on his way to Las Cruces.

K Aggie '98 said...

This recruiting class is going to pay great dividends and I anticipate an immediate impact for the Ags. Most 3-star true freshmen and probably half of 2-star true freshmen have the talent to play a significant role on a WAC football team.
From the defensive standpoint, DW has said that his style of defense is based on building the D-Line and the Secondary; his recruiting thus far has followed this approach. Hopefully, Boss Hogg is right with his post about another D-Lineman in the class.
As for the offense, the O-line first recruiting approach and adding QB competition seems like a good call. I don't really understand the emphasis that critics (posting on this blog) are placing on getting a star WR. I think inappropriate use of the current WRs and putting the QBs in impossible situations (run, run, pass, punt) was more the problem. Do we really think that any opposing defense planned for JF or TW to pass on the first two downs (or ever throw a deep pass)? Apparently, DW sees the solution to the offensive woes in getting more protection for the QB, more QB competition and better offensive schemes (new OC). This will lead to more balance in the play calling and the current receivers will contribute given the opportunity. Short passes never work without the threat of the long pass. BTW, I will be buying my set of four season tix again.

Anonymous said...

K Aggie- I agree with 99% of your post! But, dropped balls were a major negative factor in our play last season. Off the top of my head I can recall 5 TD's that were dropped in the endzone alone! There were many momentum/drive changing drops as well. We most definitely need a guy that can make plays! Our current receivers are short and fast adding a tall fast guy is a major need. Couple this with the better schemes/protection we will do just fine!

Anonymous said...

I believe Trevor Walls has no plans of transfering. Many of the posters have suggested that Fleming and Walls should be moved to receiver. I cannot see Walls as a receiver maybe a tight end. Many people forget he was recruited by Akron and Kent State for basketball. He may not have the quickest feet but he can get going as you saw in last years spring game. I think he may suprise some people this spring. I saw him at a basketball game over the Christmas holiday. There were some kids getting his autograph. Great role model for our youngsters. I am sure he will do whatever Walker wants him to do.


Anonymous said...

Dropped balls were a factor, and it may be the chnage in coaches will lead to better work with the receivers in terms of technique.

I agree, however, that the scheme was a major contributor to the lack of success. It remains to be seen what Dunbar and company will do for the offense. The recruiting shows signs of promise. Let'snot forget that the list is of commitments, not signees. Hopefully we will hold on to the commitments and add a couple of more strong recruits on signing day.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most important recruits remaining to be resolved are the new assistant coaches. What is the word on filling those positions?

They, and te returning staff, can have a big impact on how well the new recruits as well as the returning players do this year. Can you share anything in this area?

Anonymous said...

Aloha from Hawaii

You landed Andrew Manley and even as a Hawaii fan, I can say, UH made a big mistake on letting this one go. He will be an impact player for NMSU in a year or two,mark my words.

David Niumatololo is another strong player. Enjoyed watching him in h.s. and he carried a 4.0 at NMSU before his mission.

Jackson Kaka is from the same school as Niumatololo. UH doesnt use a TE but they should have offer him a spot somewhere. Hes a good one.

Hopefully NMSU will keep up the good work and continue to recruit the islands. There are always plenty good players here that just want to get off the rock and play some ball.