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.