Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - NM State head football coach DeWayne Walker announced the Aggies’ 2009 signing class Wednesday afternoon. 18 student-athletes signed a National Letter of Intent with the Aggies to attend New Mexico State University and play football beginning 2009. NM State also signed four student-athletes to gray shirt scholarships, which allows those student-athletes to be on full scholarship beginning the spring semester of 2010 and awarded three scholarships to student-athletes that were with the team in 2008 and a scholarship to a student-athlete, who was a 2008 gray shirt signee.
"When I arrived in Las Cruces we already had six very good players committed," Walker said. "As we began recruiting our comfort zone was the state of California and we felt that our connection there would allow us to put together a solid recruiting class for the first year. I feel we have met our needs on the defensive line, defensive back and offensive line. I thought our coaching staff did a great job identify talent."
The Aggies’ 2009 signing class is full of junior college transfers and high school student-athletes. The defensive line and offensive line was a main focus for coach Walker’s first signing class as head coach. The Aggies signed six defensive linemen and four offensive linemen. Also signing with NM State were five defensive backs, four wide receivers, three running backs, two quarterbacks and one tight end to round out the signing class.
The Aggies signed a mixture of junior college and high school players, including twelve junior college signees and eleven high school players. Also in the signing class are two players in the Rivals.com Top 100 list, quarterback Tanner Rust (No. 41) and defensive back Eric Hunter (No. 78). Seven of the 18 signees in the 2009 class will be with the Aggies during spring practice.
2009 NM State Football Signees
|2009 NM State Signing Class|
|Name||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Hometown||Previous School/High School|
|Marcus Allen||WR||6-0||190||Newman, Calif.||Modesto JC/Orestimba HS|
|Dwayne Barton||OL||6-4||285||Detroit, Mich.||City College of San Francisco/ Oak Park HS|
|William Bullock||WR||6-3||205||Manhattan, Calif.||El Camino College/ Mira Costa HS|
|Lorenzo Caldwell||DB||6-1||190||Fontana, Calif.||Cerrios JC/ Kaiser HS|
|Robert Clay||RB||5-10||190||New Braunfels, Texas||Canyon HS|
|Ruben Escarsega||OL||6-4||300||El Paso, Texas||NMMI/Del Valle HS|
|Vincent Federico||DL||6-4||290||West Covina, Calif.||Mt. Sac JC/Bishop Amat HS|
|John Finau||DL||6-0||290||Long Beach, Calif.||El Camino College/ Dominguez HS|
|Jeff Fleming||QB||6-4||195||Fullerton, Calif.||Fullerton College/Brea Olinda HS|
|Jonta Green||DB||6-0||174||St Petersburg, Fla.||Benedict College/Lakewood HS|
|James Hall, Jr.||RB||5-8||170||Las Cruces, N.M.||Las Cruces HS|
|Eric Hunter||WR/DB||5-9||180||Los Angeles, Calif.||LA Jordan HS|
|Rex Meikel||DL||6-3||275||Yucaipa, Calif.||Yucaipa HS|
|David Quiroga||WR||6-1||205||Chino Hills, Calif.||Ayala HS|
|Tanner Rust||QB||6-2||195||Lakewood, Calif.||El Capitan HS|
|Ronny Torres||TE||6-4||230||Clovis, Calif.||Fresno City College/Clovis HS|
|DJuan Yates||OL/DL||6-2||280||Thousand Oaks, Calif.||College of the Canyons/ Thousands Oaks HS|
|Mike Yocius||OL||6-4||295||Cary, Ill.||Fork Union Military Academy.Cary-Grove HS|
|2009 Gray Shirt Signees|
|Marquese Dunn||RB||6-2||217||Pflugerville, Texas||Henderickson HS|
|Justin Smith||DB||6-2||190||Safford, Ariz.||Safford HS|
|Jake Swenson||OL||6-6||305||El Paso, Texas||Montwood HS|
|Reuben Thomas||DB||6-0||158||Pasadena, Calif.||Muir HS|
Marcus Allen – WR
Newman, Calif. (Modesto JC/Orestimba HS)
Modesto Junior College: Allen was a standout wide receiver for Modesto Junior College in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, Allen led his team in receptions with 58 for 1,131 yards and 12 touchdown catches. He averaged 19.5 yards a catch and 113.1 yards receiving per game. He was named a first team all-Region selection in 2008. He also carried the ball nine times for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Allen also returned four punts for 15 yards and one kick off return for 10 yards. In 2007, Allen caught 46 passes for 846 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 84.6 yards a game.
High School: Allen led the Warriors of Orestimba High School in receptions in 2006 with 43 catches for 1,052 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also passed for two touchdowns. Allen played on the defensive side of the ball as a linebacker. He tallied 41 tackles with 10 sacks in his senior season. As a junior, Allen caught 39 passes for 863 yards and six touchdowns, while recording 46 tackles and seven sacks.
"Marcus is very explosive after the catch. He is the school record holder for receiving yards and touchdowns in a season and for a career. We have been playing football at Modesto Junior College for 88 years. It is obvious that Marcus is a special athlete. He will be difficult to replace." Sam Young, Head Coach Modesto Junior College
Dwayne Barton – OL
Detroit, Mich. (City College of San Francisco/ Oak Park HS)
City College of San Francisco: Barton was a standout offensive lineman and tight end for City College of San Francisco from 2007-08. He helped the Rams tally a 19-4 record during his two years, including the 2007 California State Championship with a 12-1 record. In 2008, Barton was named to the Southern California Grid Wire Top-100 list for junior college players. In 2007, Barton helped his team to a bowl game, losing to Delta College.
High School: Barton played both offensive line and defensive line for Oak Park High School. As a senior he was named to the all-North team, helping his team to a league championship and a spot in the second round of the state playoffs. Barton also played basketball for Oak Park High School.
"Dwayne is an extremely hard worker with very quick feet and hands. He was by far our best pass blocker, team captain and a great leader. We will miss him. Dwayne was an all-league performer and consistently graded out as the best lineman. He has great character, helped develop some of our freshmen lineman. Dwayne was also a starter in our National Championship team from 2007." Eduardo Nuno, Offensive Line Coach, City College of San Francisco
William Bullock – WR
Manhattan Beach, Calif. (El Camino College/Mira Costa HS)
El Camino Junior College: In his final season at El Camino Junior College, Bullock led the Warriors to a 10-1 overall record. He earned a spot on the offensive Southern California first team after posting 800 aerial yards on 43 catches. The wide receiver found himself in the end zone five times throughout the season and averaged 88.9 yards per game. Additionally, he averaged 18.6 yards per carry with his longest rout being 58 yards. Bullock also ranked third on the team in scoring with 30 points.
High School: As a senior, Bullock ranked second for the Mustangs in receiving yards with 622 from 29 catches, while leading the team with 12 touchdowns. His longest grab of the season was 71 yards and he averaged 21.45 yards per catch. Bullock helped the Mustangs to a 10-2 overall record, while posting a flawless 6-0 home record and a 4-1 Bay League record.
"Will is one of the fastest receivers that I had in my three seasons at El Camino College. He has great hands, is an extremely hard worker and is the type of player that always wants to get better. He asks questions all the time and is very coachable. I think he is another great fit at NM State. He is definitely going to add a vertical stretch to their game." David Canales, El Camino College Assistant Coach
Lorenzo Caldwell – DB
Fontana, Calif. (Cerrios JC/Kaiser HS)
Cerrios Junior College: Caldwell was Cerrios’ top defensive back in 2008. He tallied 48 tackles on the season and three pass break-ups. As a freshman in 2007, Caldwell appeared in all nine games and finished the year with 21 tackles (13 solo) and one pass break-up. He registered a season-high five tackles in the final game of the season against Pasadena City College, while he opened the year with four tackles against Compton College.
High School: Caldwell was a first team all-Sunkist League selection as a senior after recording 72 tackles and three interceptions, while helping his team to a league championship. Caldwell was a member of the football, basketball and track and field teams at Kaiser.
"Lorenzo was a two-year starter for us. He has great size for a corner and can play safety. He also has a ton of upside. Lorenzo is a very respectful, hard working and tough young man that will come to play every week." Frank Mazzotta, Head Coach Cerrios Junior College
Robert Clay – RB
New Braunfels, Texas (Canyon HS)
High School: Clay was the Canyon High School Cougars’ starting running back in 2007 and 2008. He was an all-District selection his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. As a senior, Clay earned all-Region honors after rushing for 1,220 yards on 151 carries and nine touchdowns. He also caught two passes on the season. As a junior, Clay carried the ball 120 times for 1,180 yards and seven touchdowns, helping his team to the state playoffs. During his sophomore season, Clay was a 1,000 yards rusher with over 10 touchdown carries. He also played on the defensive side of the ball as well at linebacker.
"Robert is one of the hardest working athletes I have had in the 30 years I have been coaching football. He developed himself into a great football player with his hard work and determination. Robert is a tremendous young man and as a junior was elected a team captain on a team with mostly seniors. He really earned the respect of his teammates." Les Davis, Head Coach Canyon High School
Ruben Escarsega - OL
El Paso, Texas (NMMI/Del Valle HS)
New Mexico Military Institute – Escarsega played two seasons for the Broncos. In 2007, he played 11 games at guard. Escarsega then made the switch from guard to offensive tackle in 2008, earning first team all-conference honors, accumulating the most first-place votes. In two seasons with the Broncos he did not allow a sack.
De Valle High School – Escarsega was the De Valle High School Conquer’s starting tackle in 2005 and 2006. He helped his team to a bi-district championship in 2005 and a spot in the first round of the state playoffs in 2006. Escarsega was a two-time first team all-district selection, a first team all-City selection as a senior and an all-State honorable mention selection in 2006. During his senior season, Escarsega was selected to the state All-Star game where he was named the offensive line MVP for the East. He did not allow a single sack in his two year’s as a starter.
"Ruben is a big kid with very good feet. He is a quality student as well. NM State is getting a really good player as well as a great kid." - Jeff Lynn, Head Coach New Mexico Military Institute
Vincent Federico – DL
West Covina, Calif. (Mt. Sac JC/Bishop Amat HS)
Mt. Sac Junior College: Federico played one season at Mt. Sac Junior College in 2008 on the defensive line. He was named first team all-Conference and first team all-California Junior College for his efforts. On the season, Federico recorded 40 tackles, 16 of those solo efforts, as well as six sacks, six pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and two quarterback hurries.
University of New Mexico: Federico originally signed with the New Mexico Lobos in 2006, redshirting his first season with the Lobos before transferring to Mt. Sac Junior College in 2007.
High School: Federico was a three-year starter on the defensive line for Bishop Amat. He was named a first team All-Serra League, All-San Gabriel Valley and All-CIF defensive tackle his senior season. He was named the Lancers’ defensive player of the year with 51 tackles and five sacks and elected to the Bishop Amat Hall of Fame. He also played offensive tackle and was named an all-Serra League selection in wrestling in 2005 in the heavyweight class.
"Vincent is a great young man and a family man. He is a solid player, who gives you 100 percent on every play. We are extremely proud of Vincent. He has a lot of untapped potential." Robert Jastrab, Head Coach Mt. Sac Junior College
John Finau - DT/NG
Long Beach, Calif. (El Camino College/Dominguez HS)
El Camino College: Finau assisted El Camino College to a 10-1 overall record and received all-state honorable mention honors for his efforts during his sophomore year. He recorded 47 tackles, 14 for losses, three sacks and one fumble recovery. As a freshman, Finau helped lead the Warriors to a 2006 California State Championship with a record of 12-2. He recorded 28 tackles, four tackles for losses, had three quarterback sacks and one interception.
Dominguez High School: As a senior, Finau led Dominguez High School to a San Gabriel Valley League Championship and to a California Interscholastic Federation Championship. He was an all-league selection after posting an overall record of 14-1.
"John has a tireless motor. He will always come out and work as hard as he possibly can. He is explosive to the ball and he understands what he has to do in order to be successful. He leads by example and I believe he is going fit in well with coach Walker’s philosophy, not only because of his attitude, but also because of his work ethic. NM State is a great fit for him and I think he is going to be successful as he helps rebuild the program." David Canales, El Camino College Assistant Coach
Jeff Fleming – QB
Fullerton, Calif. (Fullerton JC/Brea Olinda HS)
Fullerton Junior College: Fleming spent two seasons at Fullerton Junior College, one as their starting quarterback. As a red shirt freshman, Fleming led his team to a 9-1 record, including a perfect 6-0 in conference play. In 2008, he threw for 1,900 yards and 24 touchdowns, completing 60 percent of his pass attempts. He helped Fullerton average just over 330 yards per game of total offense, while scoring 35.4 points a contest. Fleming was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year in 2008 as well as team MVP.
High School: Fleming was the Brea Olinda High School starting quarterback for two seasons. During his senior season, Fleming threw for 1,125 yards and nine touchdowns, while rushing for 153 yards and one touchdown. He averaged 112.5 yards passing per game. As a junior, Fleming tossed 14 touchdown passes for 1,745 yards, averaging 174.5 yards a game.
"Jeff is a great young man. As a player I feel that his best days are ahead of him. It seemed like from week to week, Jeff continued to get better as a player. He is extremely competitive and a true team leader." Tim Byrnes, Head Coach Fullerton Junior College
Jonta Green – DB
St. Petersburg, Fla. (Benedict College/Lakewood HS)
2008 (Sophomore): Green redshirted his first season with the Aggies.
Benedict College: Green played one season at Benedict College at defensive back as well as a kick returner. In 2007, Green recorded 41 tackles, including 16 solo efforts. He also tallied one sack, four interceptions and two pass break ups. Green also recorded one kick off return for 33 yards. He helped the Benedict defense hold their opponents to 328.9 yards per game.
High School: Green played both defensive back and running back for Lakewood High School. During his junior season, Green played defensive back and collected 40 tackles and four interceptions on the season. His senior season, Green made the move to running back where he tallied 950 yards rushing and six touchdowns. He also returned three kick offs for touchdowns. Green was named an all-District selection his senior season. He also ran track, making it to the state championships in the 100-meter dash, the 4x100-meter relay and the 4x400-meter relay.
James Hall, Jr. – RB
Las Cruces, NM (Las Cruces HS)
High School: Hall played as a running back and left cornerback for the Bulldogs. Hall had 4,775 rushing yards during his career, putting him second all-time in New Mexico history. He holds the state record for touchdowns in his career with 76 as well. As a running back in 2008, Hall had 221 carries for 2,047 yards and 29 touchdowns. He gathered 19 receptions for 293 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver. On kick returns, Hall had eight returns for 158 yards and three punt returns for 78 yards including a 74 yard touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, he had 45 solo tackles and 36 assisted tackles. Hall had two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries for the year. He also blocked a field goal during the season. In 2008, Hall was named Prep NM.com Offensive Player of the Year and first team All-Southwest as a running back, cornerback and has a punt returns. He was named first team all-state as a cornerback, running back, and special teams. Hall was also named all-district as a cornerback and running back and named as a 2008 South All-Star. In 2007 he was named first team all-state and all-district and was a NM Preps Mr. Football finalist. Hall has been a starter for Las Cruces High since his sophomore season in 2006. He helped his team to a state championship and a perfect 13-0 record in 2008.
"James has been a major contributor to our program over the last three years and has started for us since his sophomore year (an accomplishment in itself). As his numbers have increased over the last three years (from 1020 yards rushing to 1750 to 2035), so has our team’s success. Fittingly, James’ senior season finished with an undefeated state championship. Our program has won four state championships in the last 10 years and we have never had a harder working, more dedicated, more humble, quality individual come through than James Hall, Jr. He is the epitome of what a student-athlete is." Jim Miller, Head Coach Las Cruces High School
Eric Hunter – WR/CB
Los Angeles, Calif. (LA Jordan HS)
High School: Hunter was a star wide receiver and defensive back for Jordan High School. During his senior season, Hunter caught 45 passes for 624 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 14 yards per reception. He also ran the ball 11 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Hunter recorded 57 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Hunter also returned seven punts for 153 yards and 11 kickoff returns for 167 yards, averaging 16 yards a return. As a junior, Hunter caught 32 passes for 512 yards, averaging 16 yards a catch, while recording four touchdowns. He carried the ball 10 times for 85 yards and returned six kickoffs for 77 yards. Defensively, Hunter tallied 17 tackles, 14 solo efforts along with three interceptions. He was a three time all-City selection, preseason all-State selection in 2008 and the Eastern League Defensive Most Valuable Player.
"Eric has an instinct for the ball on both the offensive and defensive sides. He is an exceptional athlete who catches the ball well and can hit. Eric has that big play ability at any time on the field." Elijah Asante, Head Coach LA Jordan High School
Rex Meikel – DL
Yucaipa, Calif. (Yucaipa HS)
High School: Meikel was a starting defensive lineman and offensive lineman for Yucaipa High School. In 2008, he tallied 69 tackles on the defensive line, including 34 solo efforts. Meikel also tallied six sacks, six tackles-for-a-loss, four forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Meikel was named a second team all-League selection in 2008 and played in the state All-Star game as well. As a junior, Meikel recorded 38 tackles (27 solo). He was also the teams punter, averaging 36.5 yards a punt. As a junior, he was named a first team all-League selection at the defensive line position.
"Rex has been an outstanding player for us. He has been our strongest kid on the team and anchored our defensive line for the last two years. NM State is getting a quality player in Rex." John Hallenbeck, Head Coach Yucaipa High School
David Quiroga – WR
Chino Hills, Calif. (Ayala HS)
High School: Quiroga is a product of Ayala High School and concluded his four-year campaign as a highly decorated athlete. As a senior, the running back and wide receiver was named the Sierra League Most Valuable Player, one of the Inland Empire’s Top 10 players by the Los Angeles Times, named First Team All-CIF Central Division and the team’s offensive MVP. He rushed for 670 yards on 100 carries and scored nine touchdowns, caught 36 passes for 475 yards and five touchdowns and returned 12 kicks for 300 yards. Quiroga also had 75 tackles and three interceptions for 70 yards. He tallied 1,514 all-purpose yards. He also ranked 12th in Southern California in receiving yards and seventh in the total receptions and in the state of California, Quiroga was 22nd in receiving yards and eight in total receptions. Nationally, Quiroga was in the top-100 for receiving yards. As a junior, Quiroga recorded 72 receptions for 1,096 yards and 10 touchdowns. He carried the ball 51 times for 282 yards and scored four times. Had eight kickoff returns for 203 yards. He totaled 1,581 all-purpose yards and scored 14 touchdowns. Quiroga led the Sierra League in receptions, reception yards and total touchdowns. He was honored by the National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame as an all-San Bernardino County Football Team selection (one of two juniors selected).
"David is the most competitive player that I have had the pleasure to coach in my 17 years. He was a vital asset in turning this program around. He is a hard worker and really loves the game. I think he is going to be very helpful to NM State and coach Walker as they build their program. David understands what it is like to rebuild a program and make it successful." Tom Inglima, Head Coach Ayala HS
Tanner Rust – QB
Lakewood, Calif. (El Capitan HS)
High School: Rust was a standout quarterback for El Capitan High School. In 2008, Rust threw for 2,700 yards and 28 touchdowns passes, while rushing for 385 yards and four touchdowns. Rust was named the Grossmont North Player of the Year, the all-Area East Player of the Year, an all-Section second team member, a San Diego Hall of Champions first team selection, a National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete and to the first team all-Area Academic first team. As a junior, Rust passed for 3,200 yards and 32 touchdowns, while rushing for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He earned second team all-State honors, as well as the Grossmont North Player of the Year, the all-Area East Player of the Year and was an all-Section first team member. Rust was also an all-Academic selection as a junior. During his sophomore season, Rust was the team’s back-up quarterback and the team’s punter. As El Capitan’s punter he ranked third in the county in punting average and earned all-CIF punter honors. At quarterback he threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns at the back-up position.
"Tanner is just an all around great young man. In the classroom, Tanner is top notch. As a football player he is a great athlete and the ultimate competitor. In 2008 he actually willed our team to win and took the team on his back and carried us to victory. NM State has a heck of a football player and I’m extremely happy that Coach Walker recruited Tanner." Ron Burner, Head Coach El Capitan High School
Ronny Torres – TE
Clovis, Calif. (Fresno City College/Clovis HS)
Fresno City College: Torres helped Fresno City College to a 7-4 overall record as a senior and a 14-8 career record, along with back-to-back third-place Central Valley Conference finishes. Running a double tight formation, Torres held the line for the quarterback to throw for 2,227 yards, which included 18 touchdowns. Torres also assisted the quarterback into being the team’s second leading rusher as he carried the ball 98 times for 341 yards and ran in a pair of touchdowns. Personally, Torres caught two passes for 29 yards and returned a trio of kickoffs for 30 yards. All together, FCC recorded 4,032 yards on 755 plays and recorded 201 first downs.
High School: Torres was a 2006 graduate of Clovis High School where he led the Cougars to 7-6 overall record his senior season. He played in four games before being sidelined by an injury, Torres threw for 945 and six touchdowns. Throughout his four-year campaign, he was the starting quarterback as a junior and senior and the back up quarterback as a freshman and sophomore.
"To be honest, his stats don’t reflect the level of job he did for us. He was a quarterback out of high school, but we moved him to tight end because of his strength. He is a hard worker and a quality athlete and person. I believe he is going to be a great addition to the NM State program." Tony Caviglia, Head Coach Fresno City College
DJuan Yates – DL
Thousand Oaks, Calif. (College of the Canyons/Thousand Oaks HS)
College of the Canyons: Yates, a standout defensive lineman for the College of the Canyons was named to the defense all-conference second team after assisting the Cougars to a solid 12-1 record. One of two solid forces inside the line, the defensive lineman capped off the season with 21 tackles. Emerging in the latter part of the season, Yates led the way for the Cougars against Mt. SAC, in the championship game, with three tackles, three tackles for-a-loss and a quarterback sack. Over his two year campaign, Yates helped the Cougars compile an overall record of 19-4.
High School: Yates was a 2007 graduate of Thousand Oaks High School, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where he lettered in football all four years. As a senior, Yates led the Lancers to a 7-4 overall record and a 5-2 Marmonte section record after racking up 23 tackles, which ranked him ninth on the team.
"Yates did an amazing job for us during his time here. He is a big time player and his stats don’t reflect what he did for this team. NM State did a great job recruiting Yates and we are excited for his opportunity. Yates understands that it is an honor and a privilege to play for coach Walker and we are very proud of him." Garett Tujague, Head Coach College of the Canyons
Mike Yocius – OL
Cary, Ill. (Fork Union Military Academy/Cary-Grove HS)
Fork Union Military Academy: Yocius was a one year starter for Fork Union Military Academy in 2008 at the right guard position. He started all 10 games for FUMA, recording three pancake blocks a game and allowing no sacks. Yocius helped FUMA throw for 300 yards and game and run for 200 yards a contest in 2008.
High School: Yocius was a starter on the Cary-Groves High School team for two seasons on the offensive line. He was named an all-Conference selection, all-Area selection and honorable mention all-State in 2007. In 2007 he helped the Trojans to an overall record of 9-2, an undefeated record of 5-0 in conference play and a spot in the second round of the state playoffs. Over the course of his career Yocius helped his team to a 31-4 record as starter. Yocius was also a member of the honor roll at Cary-Grove.
"Mike is a hard working young man that gives 100 percent both on and off the field. He is a stand up guy and NM State is getting an outstanding football player and person." Frank Arritt, Fork Union Military Academy
Gray shirt Signees (A gray shirt is a student-athlete that signs a National Letter of Intent, but will start attending school as a scholarship student-athlete in January of 2010.)
Maquese Dunn – RB
Pflugerville, Texas (Henderickson HS)
High School: Dunn was the Henderickson High School starting running back for two seasons. During his career, he rushed for over 2,000 yards. As a senior, Dunn ran for 1,063 yards and 13 touchdowns, while recording a season-high 175 yards rushing against McCallum HS. Dunn also caught 22 passes for 524 yards and five touchdowns. He led his team in scoring and holds the school record for most points scored in a single-game (30 pts). Dunn was also the teams kickoff return specialist, returning eight kicks for 220 yards. He was named a two-time all-District selection and the offensive MVP in 2008. Dunn also participates in basketball, where he leads the team in points per game and rebounds.
"Marquese is a true team player in a system that does not focus on just one player. He is an exceptionally versatile athlete. We put him all over the field and made teams find him. NM State is getting a solid student-athlete in Marquese." Chip Killians, Head Coach Henderickson High School
Justin Smith – DB
Safford, Ariz. (Safford HS)
High School: Smith was the Safford High School starting quarterback and defensive back from 2006-08. He was named a first team all-State selection at the defensive back position in 2008 and a second team all-State selection in 2007. He was also a first team all-Region selection in 2007 and 2008 on both sides of the ball, as well as the Offensive Player of the Year in 2008 at quarterback. In 2008, Smith threw for 1,312 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 1,186 yards and 17 touchdowns, helping his team to a 7-4 record. Defensively, Smith recorded 133 tackles, 77 solo efforts and three interceptions. As a junior he tallied 86 tackles and six interceptions. Smith also ran track helping his team to a state championship in 2007 and earned the state title in the 110-meter hurdles.
"Justin has the work ethic and ability to reach the highest of levels in the game of football. He is a great tackler and his passion will carry him far. He was our go to guy this past season. New Mexico State is getting a great student and football player in Justin." Chenelle Jones, Head Coach Safford High School
Jake Swenson – OL
El Paso, Texas (Montwood HS)
High School: Swenson was a starter on the offensive and defensive line for Montwood High School in 2008 and played on the defensive line in 2007. During his senior season, Swenson helped the Rams offense rush for over 2,000 yards on the ground and throw for over 1,500 yards thru the air. He was also a member of the field goal and extra point teams. On the defensive side of the ball, Swenson recorded over 10 sacks and 69 tackles on the season. He was named a first team all-District selection and a first team all-City pick as well. Swenson also played in the Senior All-Star Football Classic as a senior. As a junior, Swenson played on the defensive side of the ball, recording 31 tackles and six sacks. He was named a second team all-City selection and a first team all-District pick.
"It’s a great opportunity for Jake. He’s got huge potential at the next level. He’s a tough guy up front and he has great potential for the next level. He had a good performance in the playoffs this year against good teams and his future is on the offensive line at the next level." Chuck Veliz, Head Coach Montwood High School
Reuben Thomas – DB
Pasadena, Calif. (Muir HS)
High School: Thomas played defensive back, running back and quarterback for Muir High School. As a senior, Thomas threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 86.9 yards rushing a contest. He also caught nine passes for 152 yards, averaging 16.8 yards a reception. On the defensive side of the ball, Thomas tallied 17 tackles and five interceptions. He was also the team’s punter, averaging 35.1 yards a punt. Thomas earned Pacific League Player of the Year honor in 2008, as well as first team all-Pacific League, first team all-CIF and first team all-San Gabriel Valley. Thomas also returned punts and kick-offs for Muir High School. As a junior, Thomas threw for 1,313 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging 131 yards a game. He recorded 830 yards on the ground, rushing for 13 touchdowns. He also tallied five tackles on the defensive side of the ball. Thomas was also the team’s punter, kicking 11 punts for an average of 32 yards an attempt. He was named a first team all-Pacific League selection.
"Reuben is a leader on and off the field. He is one of the most competitive players I have been around during my time coaching football. He is also an extremely hard worker and should be a great player for NM State football." Antyone Sims, Offensive Coordinator Muir High School
The following student-athletes were awarded scholarship after the 2008 season.
Pierre Fils - DE
Ramsely, N.J. (Don Bosco HS/Folk Union Prep)
2008 (Freshman): Fils played in 10 games for the Aggies on the defensive line in 2008, recording 12 tackles. Against Utah State (11/29), Louisiana Tech (11/22), Fresno State (11/15) and Nevada (10/11), Fils tallied two games in each of these games. He recorded at least one tackle in seven of the nine games he played in.
Fork Union Military Academy: Fils played at Fork Union Military Academy in 2007.
High School: Fils led Don Bosco Prep High School to the New Jersey state championship in 2006. He was a second team all-league linebacker and he also lettered in basketball for the Ironmen.
Donte Savage - DE
Portland, Ore. (Fork Union Prep)
2008 (Freshman): Savage played in nine games as a true freshman on the defensive line in 2008. On the season, Savage recorded 11 tackles, three tackles-for-a-loss and two sacks. In his first game as an Aggie, Savage recorded two tackles, two tackles-for-a-loss and two sacks versus Alcorn State (10/4). He tallied a season-high three tackles against Nevada (10/11) and Utah State (11/29). Savage also recorded two tackles against Fresno State (11/15).
Fork Union Military Academy: Savage played one season at Fork Union Military Academy in 2008, helping them to a 10-2 record.
High School: Savage was a first team all-state linebacker as a junior and a senior at Jefferson High School in Portland, Ore. He played in the North/South Lee Shwab Bowl as a senior and led the Democrats to the second round of the state playoffs.
Numi Lolohea - LB
Evlass, Texas (Trinity HS)
2008 (Freshman): Lolohea red shirted in 2008.
High School: Lolohea led his Trinity High School football team to the 2007 district and state championship with a 15-1 record. He was an honorable mention all-state selection and a first team all-district linebacker for the Trojans.
The following is a student-athlete that signed a scholarship agreement in 2008 and gray shirted this past season.
Joe Cordova - WR
Marietta, Ga. (Blessed Trinity Catholic HS)
High School: Cordova played three seasons at wide receiver for Blessed Trinity Catholic High School. He helped his team to a region championship in 2005 and a record of 7-3 in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Cordova was a two year letter winner in football, a three year letter winner in lacrosse and one year in track & field. In 2007, Cordova recorded 12 catches and three touchdowns, earning all-Conference honors and setting a school record for most touchdown catches in a single-season.