Thursday, January 28, 2010

Aggies at Louisiana Tech

The Aggie men's basketball team has a huge conference game on Saturday, playing Louisiana Tech on the road.

The Bulldogs are one of the WAC's better team's this year, led by two real-deal players in shooting guard Kyle Gibson and center Magnum Rolle.

Five players average double-figure points for the Bulldogs, led by Gibson's 21.6 and Rolle's 13.8. Guard Jamel Guyton averages 12.4-points-per game while Olu Ashaolu (11.6) and DeAndre Brown (10.6) round out the scoring.

Gibson is a 6-foot-5 guard with range while Rolle is a long, athletic center who lead the team with 9.0-rebounds-per game and 49 blocks.

La. Tech stands in first place in the conference with a 6-1 league mark, while NMSU is a game behind the Bulldogs at 5-2. Both teams are coming off the Hawaii/San Jose State road trip, with both teams being beat in San Jose.

Louisiana Tech is 23-6 in its last 29 games and have won 12 straight at home.

The Aggies have been led by their one-two guard combination of Jonathan Gibson and Jahmar Young along with double-double machine Wendell McKines. The Aggies are 8-2 since McKines came back from being academically ineligible on Dec. 21. NMSU has been off a week straight heading into Saturday's contest.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


One area where the NMSU Aggie football team was fortunate in during the 2009 campaign was on the injury front.

Really, there wasn't a rash of banged up players like we saw in the previous seasons.

The secondary remained healthy and the linebacking corps, for the most part, remained intact. The defensive tackle position saw some bodies get moved in and out of the lineup, but defensive ends Donte Savage and Pierre Fils took every snap — at least it seemed that way.

The offensive line had some guys go down here and there. Still, you'd expect that to a degree along such a physical unit. On the surface, the health of the O-line was nothing out of the ordinary, perhaps even solid.

Todd Lee was hurt at receiver for a handful of games but, again, this group was pretty much healthy throughout. And running back Seth Smith played the second half of the season with an injured shoulder, yet he still ran hard and with a purpose.

This topic might seem obscure in late January — heck it probably is. But I wanted to blog about something and it popped into my mind.

The reason I do mention it is to simply address that the Aggies were fortunate in this area last year and it wasn't really talked about all that much. I've heard it from a handful of coaches in the past — the Aggies' starting lineup can compete with just about anyone. It's the depth that becomes an issue and building that depth is paramount in building a football team. Once guys start going down, their backups are exposed and the season typically wears down as the schedule winds down.

I think the Aggies have good depth on the offensive line and in the secondary. Outside of that, I'm not so sure. This is where years of recruiting pays off. This upcoming season, will the team remain as healthy as it did in 2009? If they do, it'll be a stroke of luck.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Another verbal, a possible scholarship offer and some clarification

The Aggies received another verbal commitment, this one coming from Dylan Lusk, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive guard from Centennial High School in Arizona.

Click here for some info on Lusk....

NMSU continues to add to its offensive line and has done a nice job building depth here.

I also hear that the team offered a scholarship to Rio Rancho High School wide receiver Adam Shapiro. At 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Shapiro just completed his senior season at RR.

Here's a story on Shapiro from this past summer.

Lastly, some clarification regarding recruits. Some have asked about David Grant, an offensive lineman who was thought to have verbally committed to NMSU. As it turns out, Grant will not be coming.

One player who still appears to be on his way, although not listed on some Web sites, is offensive lineman Randy Richards. From what I understand, Richards is still a part of this year's Aggie recruiting class.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Counting on freshmen

With much buzz from the fanbase, and National Signing Day right around the corner, lets discuss true freshmen and how much we can expect out of first-year players.

Lets take a look back at the last handful of years for Aggie football, and which true freshmen made positive impacts on the team.

The biggest, I can recall, was Davon House, who started the second half of the 2007 season at cornerback. He finished the season with 37 tackles, four interceptions, eight pass breakups and a memorable 100-plus yard touchdown return against the University of Idaho.

In 2008, defensive ends Pierre Fils and Dante Savage saw their playing time increase as the season went along.

In 2006, Joseph Palmer received playing time on the offensive line and Tonny Glynn started two games at running back after moving over from DB.

In 2005, wide receiver A.J. Harris made 39 grabs for 448 yards and four touchdowns.

Defensive end/linebacker Michael Brewer made 29 tackles in 2004.

It's not unusual for freshmen to be worked into the lineup slowly, gradually fed the playbook and, over time, grow into their role. Which of the recruiting class this year might be asked to step in and take the field fairly early on?

I think that two linebackers who have verbally committed — Anthony Joyner and Dylan Davis — will get a shot to play right off the bat. The linebacking unit is wide open and I would think fresh recruits would have an opportunity to make an impact.

What about at quarterback? I think this would also be a position with no real frontrunners to win the job and open competition taking place in camp. Jeff Fleming and Trevor Walls both played last year while Tanner Rust redshirted. That, and some first-year players are expected to be at camp as well — namely Andrew Manley. But who knows what new offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar likes in a quarterback? Again, I would expect an open competition at this position.

Pieces are expected to be added along the offensive line and some newcomers could get some looks. I'm not sure if that will include true freshman Davonte Wallace.

In the secondary, I would expect last year's starters to enter camp as the frontrunners, with prospects Charles Garrett and Darien Johnson being groomed for the future. There's depth at this position.

Johnson was a standout kick returner in high school. Special teams is an option for true freshmen to step in right away and flash their ability.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Will Martin

From what i hear, the Aggies are set to hire Will Martin as their new cornerbacks coach.

NMSU will make the announcement in the next day or so.

Martin is currently the defensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator at College of the Desert. Here's a link to the coaches profiles from the school. You have to scroll down to find Martin.

The Aggies interviewed five for the position but will end up going with Martin. Although this is his first real crack at a D-I coaching job, I understand he is hungry for the opportunity and ready to roll.

On the offensive side of the ball, the team settled on moving R. Todd Littlejohn to wide receivers coach. It was originally thought that he would coach running backs, although that plan has shifted.

As far as the next running backs coach is concerned, it will not be announced until the team gets the nod from the higher ups at NMSU to fill the position. Have no fear — that time will almost certainly come. But, until then, it will be a wait-and-see type deal. I do understand that the Aggies have it down to a couple candidates to fill the post.

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.

ESPN confirms Johnson commitment

Yesterday I blogged about Darien Johnson's verbal commitment to the NMSU Aggie football team.

Here's a link from ESPN with a quote from Johnson.

The Aggies are getting some recognition this offseason. It's nice for a change.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Aggies receive verbal from another 3-star DB

I hear the Aggies have received another verball commitment from another three-star defensive back, this one being Darien Johnson from Bishop Amat in California.

Here's a link for Johnson's page.

Here's a link to ESPN recruiting page, which indicates that the University of New Mexico also had interest in the DB.

Johnson was on the radar of other WAC teams Fresno State, Boise State and Nevada, as well as some Pac 10 schools. NMSU is building depth in its secondary.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Coaching news....From La. Tech

Reports are that Derek Dooley, Louisiana Tech's head coach, could be moving to take over Tennessee.

Here's a link to the Monroe News-Star article.

For the record, Dooley is La. Tech's head football coach, and athletics director. Talk about a double-whammy.

Dooley has been at Tech for three seasons and is the son of legendary Georgia head coach Vince Dooley. He got LT on track in his first campaign and in Year 2 the Bulldogs went to the Independence Bowl, beating Northern Illinois in the process. I predicted they would finish second in the WAC last year and they did not, finishing the season with a 4-8 record, 3-5 in conference play. Still, I believe he's a good coach who has built the program to respectability. We'll see how this plays out.....

Good news for Aggie football

In the wake of DeWayne Walker announcing that he will be back with the Aggie football team in 2010, I can't help but be happy.

Even if coach Walker did get an offer from the Seahawks and left, I wouldn't have had a hard time with it. Would it have been bad for Aggie football? I think so. But, and I've said it before, an NFL defensive coordinator job is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. And who knows where it would have led after that? If Walker did a standout job, he may have moved up the football ladder even further.

But that's neither here nor there. Walker will be back in 2010 and it will be a score for Aggie football. It looks like the Aggies will have a strong recruiting class coming in on Feb. 3. Walker staying ensures that the players will be here too and will buy into the program from the get-go.

Will he leave eventually? Most likely. But the hope is that he'll build the program to the point where he can take off. If the Aggies get to a bowl game and he leaves after that? Hey, he accomplished something that hasn't been done in a long time. He deserves to be rewarded for his efforts.

But lets just focus on the present day. He's here and the Aggie program will have a legitimate shot at growth. I'll make the argument that the recent reports with him and the NFL will help the program bring in better players. The perception out there is that coach has strong ties to the NFL level. And athletes follow that. It makes NMSU an attractive place to play football if the coach can make you a better player and possibly get you to the next level.

There will be renewed excitement in the program going into the 2010 season. I still think this team has a ways to go. But the optimism will continue to grow. Hey, it got me excited for the season. Spring ball is right around the corner.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Walker's coming back in 2010

Just got a text message from Tyler Dunkel confirming DeWayne Walker's return to Aggie football.

My text message read: can you confirm that DW is staying?

Dunkel replied: Yes he is.

Here's the link to the Sun-News story.

All's well that ends well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

OK, now I'm starting to bug out

OK, this is from Jason La Canfora, the guy who I said was usually right. Well, he reported that Walker was the lead candidate to go to the Seahawks. Now, he's saying differently. Check it.....

Found this interesting....

Seattle Times blog entry saying that the Seahawks were going to interview Redskings defensive coordinator Jerry Gray.

Here's the link.

My gosh, how many reports are out on this situation? This is on par with when Reggie Theus went to the NBA. And that was madness.

I just want to say this: lets get a verdict on this situation as soon as possible. I've enjoyed covering this story. But something concrete needs to come forward soon for all parties involved — the fanbase, Walker and NMSU.

And what will the reaction be depending on the outcome? What if Walker returns next year? What if he goes? How are people going to respond either way?

All's well that ends well....Lets hope this has a happy ending.

Spoke to Walker's agent....

His name is Don Yee.

He echoed much of what DeWayne said, although added an interesting comment about the Aggie football team. Click on this link to read the story.

Walker, Walker, Walker. What's next?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What to think about the Walker saga

If I were an Aggie fan, this whole DeWayne Walker situation would frustrate me. Talk about sitting in limbo.

Walker was adamant that he hasn't been offered a contract or had contact with the Seattle Seahawks. Still, something could be in the works. There's just too much internet fodder out there regarding Walker heading to the Seahawks for it not to have some grain of truth.

Walker spoke about interviewing candidates to fill his two assistant coaching positions this past week as well as recruiting responsibilities he and his staff still hold. He was fired up about the reports and speculation. But it's still out there whether he likes it or not.'s Jason La Canfora reported that Walker remains the Seahawks top candidate as defensive coordinator. La Canfora has his stuff together and is on the money nine times out of 10.

Outside of Walker, there really hasn't been a whole lot of names thrown around the take over as Seattle's coordinator.

From what I understand, the Seahawks still have interest in last year's defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. If he is retained, it may not even be as defensive coordinator. But he may get consideration there as well.

Either way, Carroll will have a say in the defense. That's his background and where he's most comfortable.

What do you think Walker's going to do? Will he be in Las Cruces next year? In Seattle? Some chatter....

One more verbal

I know that with whole coach Walker situation, reporting on verbals is a little out of place. But people still want to know, right?

Alright, it seems like the Aggies have received another verbal commitment, this one coming from Charles Garrett, a three-star defensive back from Los Angeles, Calif.

Here's Garrett's profile on

This kid seems legitimate. And, despite all the rumors and widespread speculation surrounding Walker right now, it doesn't seem to be effecting recruiting all that much. At least on the surface. Hopefully, these kids stay on board no matter the circumstances. These are just verbals after all.

Still hoping for a big-time receiver.....

Walker phone call

Spoken with DeWayne Walker and he said he hasn't been offered defensive coordinator position by the Seahawks. Here's the link to the online story posted at 2:30.

I'll have more on this later, just wanted to give everyone a heads up early....

Another verbal

I hear the Aggies received a verbal commitment from linebacker Anthony Joyner.

Here's Joyner's info on

NMSU has now gotten verbals from two linebackers — Joyner and Dylan Davis. I would assume that if both players fulfill their commitments, they'll have an opportunity to compete for playing time immediately.

Monday, January 11, 2010

More on Walker story

One thing I left out of my DeWayne Walker story was McKinley Boston's comments regarding replacements in case Walker does in fact take the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator position.

Me and Boston were talking in hypotheticals — that's what the majority of the conversation was because there is so much uncertainty revolving around Walker's status. Here's what the athletics director said about replacements:

“I've thought about it as the rumors have moved on,” Boston said. “I wouldn't put my head in the sand regarding the issue. But I also have not gotten to the point where I have a pen and paper in my hand and thought about ‘what ifs.’”

As of Monday, no one at NMSU knew much about Walker's thought process. I think most in the administration are taking a wait and see approach, including the assistant coaches on the Aggie staff. One of the only people who knows what's going to happen, perhaps the only one who truly knows, is Walker himself.

Still, his silence is not a good sign for Aggie nation. Either he's truly sorting it out in his head, or he cannot say anything until his deal with Seattle is a done deal. If he knew right now he was coming back to NMSU, he would have put that out on the table.

Lets deal with another hypothetical now: if Walker does in fact go to Seattle, where do you see the future of Aggie football? Where's it headed? It would clearly be suffering through a massive identity crisis. From Hal Mumme's Air Raid, to Walker's team-oriented approach, to now what? Initially, it will hurt, there's absolutely no denying that.

I will say this though also: If this job does open up, there will be candidates to fill the opening. Last year, there were a solid handful and there will be just as many this time around, if it does come to fruition. This is Division-I college football, and many want an opportunity to try their hand in the craft. With the Aggies' financial situation, can they do another full-fledged national search? Is it too late in the game to find a quality candidate to hire? Again, these are hypothetical questions, ones that we'll likely find out in the coming days.

This is part of the problem. There's so many questions, including questions about Walker himself. If I had to guess, I'd say he's not coming back to coach the Aggies. Most of everything points against it, from the outside reports, to the water-cooler conversations, to Walker's silence and NMSU's general uncertainty about his status.

We just want to know. Lets put an end to the speculation already with facts. That would really be great....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Text message from Walker

With reports coming out today that Pete Carroll resigned from his post as USC's head coach, I received a text message this evening from Aggie head coach DeWayne Walker.

For those unaware, there have been massive reports that Walker will follow Carroll to the Seattle Seahawks, where Walker would become the team's defensive coordinator. Up to tonight, coach Walker hadn't returned phone calls as of Friday afternoon.

The text message wasn't earth shattering. It simply read, “Nothing to report yet.”

I know, this is a little silly to be reporting. But it is noteworthy that Walker responded in some form or fashion. Frankly, I would've preferred if the word “yet” wasn't in the message. Interpreting between the lines, not yet, but eventually, something will go down.

Sportscenter reported tonight that USC linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. will follow Carroll to Seattle to be the Seahawks' linebackers coach. Norton interviewed for the Aggie head coaching position last year before the school elected to go with Walker as its head man. Norton's candidacy didn't appear serious, although it did draw attention simply for his name value.

On another side note, former Idaho quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of Montana. The fact that Smith was the QBs coach at Idaho is of slight significance. The fact that he interviewed for the Aggies' offensive coordinator position turns it up a notch. Smith apparently was an impressive candidate for the Aggie job, but the team wanted to go with Mike Dunbar, due to Dunbar's years of experience as a coordinator.

Martin Efedi

From what I'm hearing, the Aggies received another verbal commitment this weekend, this one coming from Houston, Texas defensive end Martin Efedi.

Here's some info on the 6-foot-4, 230 pound defensive end.

NMSU needed some more pass rushers at end to spell Donte Savage and Pierre Fils. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Aggies get another as the recruiting period continues to unfold.

The team has done well along both lines during the recruiting process and has landed some QBs. Again, some wide receivers would be nice. And a running back or two.

Oh, and keeping DeWayne Walker in town. That would be the biggest catch of all.....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Walker's situation

Well, it is now being reported that Pete Carroll has accepted the head coaching job with the Seattle Seahawks. If the other stone drops, it would mean that Aggie head coach DeWayne Walker would follow Carroll to Seattle to become the team's next defensive coordinator.

First off, nothing has been made official at this point. Much of this is speculation. Still, where there's smoke there's fire, and Walker and Carroll have been a tight connection through the years. If Walker does in fact leave, and again, I hate being premature, but simply from a hypothetical standpoint, this would be a devastating blow for Aggie football.

I thought coach Walker did a good job here in his first season. Yes, three wins for this team was a good job. It wasn't one with immense talent, yet still played hard and played together every week. Many of the losses were ugly, but I'll still point to the three wins as a reason for optimism.

If Walker were to leave at this point? This is still a talent-starved roster, one which must be rebuilt with the proper vision in mind. I thought the recruiting process was going in the right direction and I believed in how the team handled the interviewing process for its next offensive coordinator. Like any solid head coach, it had Walker's fingerprints on it. He was just beginning to mold the program. If he left, it would have to start over again?

That would be a tough pill to swallow. This past year was difficult, as the team battled through immense growing pains and scratched and clawed for production on a weekly basis. Frankly, many weeks were borderline unwatchable, yet could be stomached simply with the viewpoint that the program was headed somewhere with Walker in charge. To see him leave would be deflating.

For the record, I wouldn't blame Walker bouncing for an NFL coordinator position. Who wouldn't go? It's quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime deal. And it's gotta be a career goal of his. You gotta jump at the chance if it's there. We'll take a wait-and-see approach on this one. My mind tells me it's still a long shot. But my gut tells me he's heading the Seattle if Carroll gets the gig.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Walker on Boise State, National Title game; Idaho's amazing run

I spoke with DeWayne Walker on the phone yesterday.

Walker is in California, where he will be attending the National Title game tonight.

“I want to see it and learn from it,” Walker said. “I want to take a couple things from it. Even if I learn just two things from watching the game, that's two things I didn't know before.”

Walker was also in attendance at the Fiesta Bowl between Boise State and TCU. He spoke with great admiration for both programs.

“I looked at two head coaches (BSU’s Chris Peterson, TCU’s Gary Patterson) they have gotten their teams to play at a BCS level,” Walker said. “The structure of their football teams — it’s just that — they play to win as a team. Everybody’s on the same page, from the president, to the AD to the head coach to the coordinators and players.”

Still, Walker, who attended the game with his wife Zan, said he was pulling for the Broncos, a team the Aggies lost to on Dec. 5 by a final score of 42-7.

“We were on Boise State’s side, cheering for them,” Walker said. “It was good to see. That’s one of our conference rivals playing on a national stage.”


Watching the Humanitarian Bowl, I couldn't help but think that if Idaho can go to a bowl game, NMSU certainly can to.

The Vandals were a great story this year. Outside of their fanbase and locker room, nobody thought they would be in a bowl game. This was a team that struggled greatly in the WAC and didn't seem to be turning the corner.

Robb Akey did a great job getting his unit to believe. He's the king of optimism and spirit and it showed throughout the season. Remember when they came to Aggie Memorial Week 1 and got the victory? They really came out of nowhere.

But back to my original thought. The Vandals were not good the previous two seasons. Offensively, they put up some decent numbers, but couldn't stop anyone on defense. They were a non threat. Most thought Hal Mumme's Aggies were a notch above Idaho in the WAC pecking order.

To see them come out and go to a bowl game — let alone win in thrilling fashion — should give all Aggie fans hope. If Idaho did it, certainly NMSU can do it. One would think, anyway.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Earnest Wilson

Sorry about the lack of posts the last week folks. I went home for a few days and thought I'd write from their, but it just didn't happen. Things were constantly busy.

Anyway, former Aggie running backs coach Earnest Wilson was hired as offensive coordinator at Jackson State. Jackson is a SWAC school located in Mississippi. Here's a link to an article regarding his hire.

Coach Wilson was a solid coach for the Aggies and I was glad to see him get the nod at Jackson. He's been well traveled and this will be another stop on his career resume. Best of luck to him....