First off, the direction New Mexico State is looking to go in is clear.
The general sentiment is that the Aggies' needed to add bodies on the lines of scrimmage and they did that.
Eleven of the 24 new scholarship players are either offensive or defensive lineman.
On offense, the added personnel — O-lineman, two new tight ends and a running back (the team could bring in another runner in the coming weeks) — indicates that the Aggies are going to rely on the run more often in 2012.
Here's a quote from DeWayne Walker when asked about that:
“Having more running backs, probably more by committee, it will allow us to establish the run a bit more. Which will help protect our defense, and our starting quarterback.”
• Speaking of quarterbacks, the team brought in Andrew McDonald and I wouldn't be surprised if he competes for playing time in 2012.
McDonald comes from Santa Ana College.
• We've been saying it for weeks — the Aggie defense is going to look a lot different in 2012.
A new coordinator in David Elson.
New defensive linemen up front.
The addition of two linebackers in TraShaun Nixon (Ventura College) and Robert Wagner (Colony High School, Calif.) — Wagner is the brother of former Utah State standout Bobby Wagner. He did not follow in his brother's footsteps.
And a brand new starting defensive backfield. Walker said incoming defensive backs Cameron Fuller (cornerback, Contra Costa College) and Dele Junaid (safety, Eastern Arizona College), “will come in and compete right away from starting jobs.”
• There is a new punter on the team in Australian-born Cayle Chapman-Brown, who attended Snow College last year.
Walker said the following about the kicker position: “We're going to try and get creative at that position. We're going to look and see if we can find another kicker as well.”
• There were no New Mexico athletes in this year's signing class. The program tried to get quarterback Cole Gautche, although he followed former Aggie offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier to the University of New Mexico instead.
• Walker said defensive tackle Augafa Vaaulu could be in trouble again academically.
“It does not look good,” the head coach said.
That's not good. What was he doing when he wasn't playing football last year?
Hopefully the Aggies don't have any more academic casualties that hurt them in 2012.
• The Aggies also announced the hiring of Romeo Bandison as their new defensive line coach.
Bandison had previously worked under Dan Hawkins at Boise State and then Colorado.
• A full list of NMSU's 2012 signees:
2012 NM State Football Signing Class
TraShaun Nixon, OLB, 6-1, 225, Oxnard, Calif. (Ventura College/Hueneme HS)
Cameron Fuller, DB, 5-11, 160, Berkeley, Calif. (Contra Costa College/Berkeley HS)
Nicholas Oliva, DE, 6-6, 252, Saugas, Calif. (College of the Canyons/Valencia HS)
Andrew McDonald, QB, 6-2, 215, Newport Beach, Calif. (Santa Ana College/Newport Harbor HS)
Alfred Sharp, OT, 6-5, 285, Cleveland Heights, Ohio (Iowa Western CC/Cleveland Heights HS)
Kalvin Cruz, DL, 6-2, 275, Littleton, Colo. (Ventura College/Columbine HS)
Kevin Laudermill, DT, 6-3, 300, Los Angeles, Calif. (West Los Angeles/Manual Arts Senior HS)
Perris Scoggins, TE, 6-4, 238, Fontana, Calif. (Mt. San Jacinto College/Summit HS)
Akeelie Mustafa, RB, 5-10, 183, Compton, Calif. (Santa Ana College/Cypress HS)
Dele Junaid, DB, 6-3, 195, Fresno, Texas (Eastern Arizona/Hightower HS)
King Davis III, QB, 6-1, 175, Mesquite, Texas (North Mesquite HS)
Zach Jones, TE, 6-4, 245, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Thunder Ridge HS)
Thomas Shepard, DE, 6-4, 225, Denver, Colo. (Denver South HS)
Peter Foreman, OL, 6-4, 310, Houston, Texas (St. Thomas HS)
Cayle Chapman-Brown, P, 6-5, 230, Sydney, Australia (Marist College Kogarah/Snow College)
Dada Richards, OL, 6-3, 319, Oakland, Calif. (Diablo Valley College/Pittsburg HS)
Dominique Love, DB, 6-1, 180, San Diego, Calif. (Bishop’s HS)
Isaiah Folasa, OL, 6-3, 335, Corona, Calif. (Santiago HS)
Inuka Rhaheed, OL, 6-2, 305, Ft. Pierre, Fla. (Westwood HS)
Robert Wagner, LB, 6-2, 225, Onatrio, Calif. (Colony High School)
2012 Gray Shirt Signees
Abram Holland, DT, 6-2, 260, Rio Rancho, N.M. (V. Sue Cleveland HS)
Gary Issacson, WR, 6-0, 188, San Diego, Calif. (West Hills HS)
Awarded Scholarships after 2011 season
Mark Brown, DT, 6-0 292, West Palm Beach, Fla. (Palm Beach Gardens HS)
Mike Kaiser, LS, 6-1, 220, Carlsbad, Calif. (La Costa Canyon HS)
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