Sunday, December 22, 2013

Replacing Austin Franklin, and a look at Aggie football recruiting

Wrote a story for Monday’s Sun-News print edition regarding Aggie football recruiting, and how the team can replace, or least try to fill in, for departed wide receiver Austin Franklin.

For the full story online, click here.

Here’s a segment of the story, where Aggie head coach Doug Martin has big words for Greg Hogan, who was a redshirt freshman last year at NMSU:

Such a question, in part, comes back to recruiting, and head coach Doug Martin believes the Aggies have done a good job in that particular area.

“We’re really upgrading the talent level here,” Martin said during a recent interview. “Speed, size, what we’re getting, the quality of player we’re getting. And I think the academics that we’re getting. We’re actually competing with the Ivy League (schools) on some players. We’re doing very well in that competition. I think we’re getting a better-quality player.”

Martin said he wants to see specific upgrades at the quarterback and running back positions.

“We need guys in the backfield that are explosive,” Martin said. “We need more speed in the backfield. Guys that can make people miss in the open field.”

Martin made sure to point out the wide receiver unit a season ago was deep in personnel. The head coach also mentioned specifically wide receiver Greg Hogan, a 2013 redshirt freshman who the head coach described as a “phenomenal talent.”

“He’s gonna be a lot of fun to watch. He’s an Austin Franklin-type guy, but bigger,” Martin said. “And probably a little faster than Austin. He’s going to be a guy that’s going to be really fun for us to look at.”

High praise a redshirt freshman, although perhaps Hogan and some other newcomers can bring some juice to the Aggie offense.


Martin also said the team wouldn’t replenish the defense - at least not substantially - with junior college players.

The Aggies had a pretty good run of success recruiting through the junior college ranks under head coach DeWayne Walker, although Martin would prefer to build the program recruiting primarily high school players.

Martin said the team would sign three to four junior college players at the most. If those three or four signees are Trashaun Nixon-type players, then that would seem ideal for the Aggies.

Martin said the Aggie defense will likely be a young outfit next season but, “They’ll be fast, and that’s what we’re after.”


Aside from Hogan, Martin said he has high hopes for redshirt freshman offensive tackle Thomas McGwire. Martin said McGwire could very well step in and start for Davonte Wallace, who was a four-year starter at left offensive tackle.


Some tidbits that were reserved for the blog:

Martin said the team could redshirt former Aggie quarterback Travaughn Colwell, who was used throughout the offense last year as the team tried to find ways to get him the football.

Ditto for running back Brandon Betancourt, who suffered a season-ending foot injury Oct. 26 against Abilene Christian.

“If we’ve got enough depth in here where we could put those guys on a redshirt, and build some more depth down the road, that would be a good help too," Martin said. "So that’s something that will come under consideration as we keep moving forward.”


The Aggies will also have to fill a void at punter, where Cayle Chapman-Brown was a very good player the past two years, although just completed his senior year of eligibility.

Martin said the Aggies wouldn’t use a scholarship this offseason on a punter, and are looking at Brock Baca as a candidate for the spot this season.

“Brock Baca has been punting and is actually pretty good. He’s a guy we could use next year,” Martin said. “And we’re going to try to keep bolstering the kicking process through our walk-on program. We really did a great job getting walk-ons in here last year. Some of them are going to be guys that we are going to put on scholarship in the future. I think that’s a good way for us to keep evaluating kickers and punters. You can get them in here, watch them for a year and see if they can really do it under pressure.”

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

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