Walker Announces 2010 Signing Class

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State head football coach DeWayne Walker announced the Aggies’ 2010 signing class Wednesday, Feb 3. Sixteen student-athletes signed a National Letter of Intent with the Aggies to attend New Mexico State University and play football beginning in 2010.

“I feel that we identified our needs in order to continue to compete in the Western Athletic Conference,” Walker said. “Comparing our talent level to other teams this past season, we were behind in several areas, and I thought offensively we were able to get the tools we needed to be successful. Defensively, I thought we have a great group of players that will be able to step in and fill some holes for us. Obviously, we would have liked to have taken a running back but with the number of scholarships we had we needed to address our immediate needs for now.”

The Aggies’ 2010 signing class is full of junior college transfers and high school student-athletes. The defensive line and offensive line were a focus for Coach Walker’s second signing class as head coach. The Aggies signed three defensive lineman and three offensive linemen. Also signing with NM State were three linebackers, two wide receivers, two quarterbacks, a defensive back, a safety and one tight end to round out the signing class.

“I think on the offensive line we got some good players in Aundre McGaskey, Dylan Lusk and Davonte Wallace, all of which we feel can come in and help us. I think we are starting an identity with the offensive line. We felt like we needed more depth and competition at the quarterback position and I think we got that with Matt Christian and Andrew Manley. I really feel that Manley was a guy that was under recruited and we stole a good quarterback in him. Christian comes from a school in Palomar College that has done a great job with quarterbacks in the past and we are anxious to throw him in the mix. At wide receiver, we always want to get a player from New Mexico every year and we feel that Adam Shapiro is going to develop into a very good player for us. Taveon Burke will give us the type of speed we need to stretch the field at the wide receiver position. Then we have Jackson KaKa at tight end a position that needed depth as well. So offensively, we really identified positions we thought we needed to upgrade our offense.”

“Defensively, we had to start with the front line and we feel we stole two tackles in Tommy Stuart and David Mahoney, who probably could have played at a lot of schools around the country. These two guys are two big bodies that will help us in the middle, an area that we felt needed attention. We took a high school player in Augafa Vaaulu, who we feel will give us some depth. At mike linebacker we took Frank Padilla, a bounce back from Fresno State, who played at the junior college level, that we feel will give us more size and speed in the middle of the defense. Then we have Shamar Gaines, another player that we feel we stole. He was a guy that is a big time player who can contribute immediately. Darien Johnson at cornerback was another player we felt could fit into our scheme and possibly play early for us.”

The Aggies signed a mixture of junior college and high school players, including seven junior college signees and nine high school players. Quarterback Andrew Manley ranks on the Rivals.com Top 100 list at No. 50. Two of the 16 signees in the 2010 class will be with the Aggies during spring practice (Matt Christian - QB and Frank Padilla - LB).

Taveon Burke, WR, 6-0, 175, Lancaster, Calif. (Antelope Valley College/Lancaster HS)
Burke was a standout wide receiver for the Antelope Valley Marauders in 2009. He caught 26 passes for 517 yards and six touchdowns in his one year with the Marauders. Burke averaged 19.9 yards per catch and 64.6 yards receiving per game. He was a second team all-conference selection in 2009. Burke would transfer to Antelope Valley College from the College of the Canyons where he played in 2008. While with College of the Canyons, Burke caught just one pass but returned six kickoffs for 242 yards, including a 91 yard touchdown return.

“Taveon is a person of high character, who works hard and understands what it takes to be successful at the Division I level. As a player, he is tremendous athlete, who can run. Taveon is a legitimate 4.3 40-yard runner.” Perry Jehlicka, head coach Antelope Valley College

Matt Christian, QB, 6-3, 220, San Diego, Calif. (Palomar JC/Carlsbad HS)
Christian played two seasons at Palomar Junior College, helping his team to an 18-6 record over those two years, including a win in the Golden Empire Bowl in 2008 and a Southern California runner-up honor in 2009. He started 11 games for Palomar, completing 191-of-326 pass attempts for 2,329 yards and 23 touchdowns. In 2009, Christian was named a J.C. Grid-Wire preseason All-America honorable mention selection, but as of the midway point in the regular season he was sidelined with a broken hand and was unavailable the rest of the year. He completed 18-of-31 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns (with no interceptions) in the Comets’ first two games. Also, he rushed for 26 yards on four carries. He played only in the first half of the Comets’ 55-0 season-opening victory at Southwestern, on Sept. 5, before giving way to two other quarterbacks who played the second half. Christian helped the Comets to a 31-0 halftime lead as he completed 10-of-16 pass attempts for 141 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. In 2008, Christian was selected as a second team All-Southern Division selection at quarterback as a red-shirt freshman and Player of the Game in the Golden Empire Bowl. On the season, he accumulated 1,580 yards in total offense, passing for 1,131 yards and 16 touchdowns (compared with only four interceptions) in 11 games and rushing for 249 yards (including 319 positive yards) and a touchdown. He had a 146.41 efficiently rating, completed 58.4 percent of his passes (104-for-178) and averaged 4.3 yards per carry.

In 2007, Christian signed with Fresno State out of high school and redshirted his first season with the Bulldogs before transferring to Palomar.

High School: Christian was named to the first team All-North County by the North County Times and was a first-team All-Avocado League selection as Carlsbad High School went 11-2 and won the 2005 CIF-San Diego Section Division I championship. He passed for 2,200 yards on the season with 19 touchdowns and only six interceptions, while rushing for four touchdowns. Christian also played for the North in the Alex Spanos All-Star Classic.

“Matt is a tough competitor that doesn’t like to lose. He manages the offensive huddle well and is the type of quarterback guys rally around. He was a first team all-conference selection and only played in four of our 13 games this past year. That’s the respect he earned from opposing coaches. On top of that, he is an intelligent player and has the ability to make plays.” Joe Early, Head Coach Palomar Junior College

Dylan Davis, LB, 6-0, 210, Ventura, Calif. (St. Bonaventure HS)
Davis played middle linebacker for the St. Bonaventure Seraphs. As a senior, Davis was named an all-league selection. He tallied 74 tackles, five tackles for a loss, four pass break ups, three sacks and two interceptions. As a junior, Davis was named an All-CIF selection, as well as an all-league and all-county pick. He was also named the team’s MVP as a junior. His statistics were outstanding his junior season as he recorded 131 tackles, six tackles for a loss, five sacks, seven pass break ups, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Davis was named an all-state selection as a sophomore.

“Dylan is the perfect football player in my mind. He can play in all areas and is tough as nails. He is a great player and a tough kid. Dylan will be a great addition to the New Mexico State program.” Todd Therrien, head coach St. Bonaventure High School

Shamar Gaines, S, 6-2, 205, Glassboro, N.J. (College of the Sequoias/Glassboro HS)
Gaines was a two year starter at safety for College of the Sequoias. In 2009, he was named a second team all-league selection after grabbing 61 tackles on the season, second on the team. Gaines also tallied four interceptions, 13 pass break ups, a blocked kick and a forced fumble. He also played on special teams. As a freshman, Gaines recorded 25 tackles, six interceptions and seven pass break ups for the Giants. He was named a first team all-league selection in his first season with College of the Sequoias.

“Shamar is a guy who can play on Sunday’s. He is a great hitter and athlete. I think New Mexico State got a tremendous steal in Shamar. He is a true football play and I feel he will be a great addition to the Aggies’ program.” Curtis Allen, head coach College of the Sequoias

Darien Johnson, DB, 5-9, 180, Puente, Calif. (Bishop Amat HS)
Johnson was a defensive back, wide receiver and kick return for the Bishop Amat High School Lancers. As a senior, Johnson rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown, while catching 30 passes for 382 yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Johnson recorded 46 tackles, an interception for a touchdown and two fumble recoveries. He also returned eight punts for 171 yards. He helped his team to a 10-2 record in 2009. Johnson was named an All-CIF selection as an athlete as well as an all-league pick and an all-area selection as a defensive back. In his junior season, Johnson tallied 43 tackles, three interceptions, five pass break ups and a fumble recovery, helping the Lancers to a 7-4 overall record. Johnson also returned two kick offs for 86 yards.

“This past season Darien grew up a lot. He’s an electric and explosive player that makes plays. He is also a player that is not afraid of the moment. Darien had a fantastic senior season. He was our go to guy on both offense and defense when we needed a big play.” Steve Hagerty, Head Coach Bishop Amat High School

Anthony Joyner, LB, 6-2, 215, San Diego, Calif. (Point Loma HS)
Joyner played linebacker and on special teams for the Point Loma High School Pointers. In 2009, Joyner tallied 110 tackles, averaging 8.5 tackles a game his senior season. He also recorded 12 sacks, six fumble recoveries and one interception as he helped his team to a 9-4 record overall. Joyner was named first team All-CIF as a linebacker, as well as the league defensive player of the year. He was also voted by his teammates as the ‘Iron Jock’ award recipient. As a junior, Joyner recorded 84 tackles, averaging 7.6 a game. He grabbed two sacks, an interception, a pass break up and a fumble recovery, as the Pointers went 6-5-1 on the season. He was voted a first team all-league selection as a junior and the Pointers’ Special Teams Player of the Year.

“Anthony is a super hard working player and probably one of the pound-for-pound toughest players I have ever coached in my 16 years with Point Loma High School. He is one of those players that will come in and compete for playing time and I think New Mexico State is getting a great player in Anthony.” Mike Hastings, head coach Point Loma High School

Jackson KaKa, TE, 6-4, 210, Kahuku, Hawai’i (Kahuku HS)
KaKa was a tight end and defensive tackle for Kahuku High School. As a senior, KaKa caught two passes for 24 yards and a touchdown, while tallying 25 tackles on the defensive line and on special teams. He was voted to the East team for the East versus West All-Star game. As a junior, KaKa was mainly a tight end for Kahuku High School. He caught 15 passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns on the season.

“Jackson is a great kid with a good work ethic. He is athletic, has good size and is still growing. He has good hands and is very aggressive on the field. Jackson started as a defensive tackle for us but we moved him over to the tight end position because of his hands. He was our best blocker on offense. He also started on our kickoff and special teams as one of our top tacklers. I think he has barely scratched the surface of his playing ability. I think he will grow a lot and be very successful at the next level.” Reggie Torres, head coach Kahuku HS

Dylan Lusk, OG, 6-3, 294, Peoria, Ariz. (Centennial HS)
Lusk played both offensive guard and nose guard for the Centennial High School Coyotes. As a senior, Lusk helped his team to a 13-1 record, as the Coyotes won the league title and made the semifinals of the state playoffs. Lusk recorded 51 tackles on the season at nose guard, including three sacks, and interception, three pass break ups and three forced fumbles. He also helped the Coyotes average 145.5 yards per game passing and 266 yards per game on the ground. Lusk was named a first team all-region, all-league and all-state player on defense and was ranked as one of the state’s top 25 players. As a junior, Lusk tallied six tackles and three sacks, while helping the Coyotes average 374.5 yards of total offense per game. He was named an all-league honorable mention selection, as the Coyotes won the state championship. As a sophomore, Lusk was a first team all-region and all-league selection for O’Conner High School.

“Dylan is one of the most intense and athletically gifted players I have ever coached. He is a hard working player who wants to win. He is the perfect football player for any coach.” Richard Taylor, head coach Centennial High School

David Mahoney, DL, 6-3, 300, Los Angeles, Calif. (LA Pierce/El Camino Real HS)
Mahoney played defensive line for LA Peirce from 2008-09. In 2009, Mahoney tallied 16 tackles, six tackles for a loss, five sacks, three pass break ups, five quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery. He led his team in sacks and quarterback hurries, helping the Brahmas to a 7-4 overall record. As a freshman at LA Peirce, Mahoney recorded six tackles, four tackles for a loss and three sacks, leading his team in sacks. Mahoney played linebacker and running back for El Camino Real High School. During his senior season, Mahoney tallied 57 tackles, two sack and two forced fumbles. He was named an all-league and all-area selection.

Andrew Manley, QB, 6-3, 215, Leilehua, Hawai’i (Leilehua HS)
Manley was a standout quarterback for Leilehua High School. As a senior, Manley passed for 3,143 yards and 35 touchdowns. He was named the 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year in Hawai’i. Manley was also named the 2009 Offensive Player of the Year by the Honolulu Advertiser, a 2009 All-OIA Red West team by the Honolulu Advertiser and a 2009 first team all-State selection by the Honolulu Star Bulletin. He also played in the Polynesia versus Mainland Game. As a junior, Manley threw for 3,676 yards and 31 touchdowns, while rushing for four touchdowns. He was named the 2008 Honolulu Star Bulletin Offensive Player of the Year and the 2008 Honolulu Advertiser Co-Offensive Player of the Year. As a sophomore, Manley was named the Honolulu Quarterbacks Club Male Prep Athlete of the Year and the OC16 Impact Player of the Game in the OIA Championship, helping Leilehua to a state championship.

“New Mexico State is getting the real deal in Andrew. When he came to us as a sophomore and led us to a state championship. As a junior, he took us right back to the state championship game and did it again as a senior without a real supporting cast. Andrew is a winner. Wherever he goes and whoever signs him their team will be a whole lot better because of the way he presents himself. He is a hard worker and will get his teammates to do the same.” Nolan Tokuda, head coach Leilehua High School

Aundre McGaskey, OT, 6-6, 305, LaMarque, Texas (Blinn College/LaMarque HS)
McGaskey played offensive tackle for the 2009 National Champion Blinn College Buccaneers. In 2009, McGaskey helped the Buccaneers win the national championship over Fort Scott, 31-26, in the Citizen’s Bank Bowl, completing an outstanding year where Blinn College went 11-1 overall and 5-1 in conference play. McGaskey also helped the Buccaneers win the SWJFC Championship over Navarro, 45-34. He was part of an offense that averaged 447.6 yards a game, rushing for 193.8 yards on the ground and 254 yards in the air. As a junior, McGaskey helped the Buccaneers win the SWJFC Championship over Navarro, 49-24, as Blinn tallied a 9-1 overall record and a 5-1 conference mark. McGaskey and the Buccaneer offense averaged 492 yards of total offense in 2008, 201.5 yards rushing and 290.5 yards passing.

Frank Padilla, LB, 6-2, 230, Clovis, Calif. (College of the Sequoias/Clovis East)
Padilla was a starting linebacker for College of the Sequoias in 2009. He only played one year for the Giants. Padilla tallied 26 tackles on the season, including one sack and four tackles for a loss. He was named a second team all-conference pick in 2009. Padilla transferred to College of the Sequoias from Fresno State in 2008. He did not play for the Bulldogs in his two years at the school.

“Frank is a hard working player, who is very talented and very athletic. He can bench well over 400 pounds. Frank has a noise for the ball and great linebacker instincts. He will be a great player for NM State. I think the Aggies got a good steal in Frank. He already has Division I experience and you can’t beat that.” Curtis Allen, head coach College of the Sequoias

Adam Shapiro, WR, 6-0, 175, Rio Rancho, N.M. (Rio Rancho HS)
Shapiro was a standout wide receiver for the Rio Rancho Rams. As a senior, Shapiro broke the state record with 93 receptions on the season, tallying 1,672 yards, while catching 14 touchdowns. He scored 84 points on the season, averaging 7.6 points per game. Shapiro was named a first team all-state, all-district and all-metro selection. He was also selected to play in the North/South All-Star game. As junior, Shapiro caught 17 passes for 350 yards and a touchdown reception.

“Adam is an outstanding worker with great vision and speed, all the tools that a great wide receiver needs. When he steps on the field he is a special player and focuses on what he needs to do in order to help his team win.” David Howe, head coach Rio Rancho High School

Tommy Stuart, DL, 6-3, 315, Westlake, Calif. (Ventura College/Westlake HS)
As a freshman with Ventura College, Stuart established himself as a dominate force on the defensive line for the Pirates. In 2009, Stuart recorded 48 tackles, six sacks, a pass break up and a fumble recovery. He also tallied a blocked field goal. For his efforts, Stuart was named a first team All-SCFA selection as he helped his team to a 7-4 overall record and a berth into the playoffs.

“Tommy is a dominating defensive tackle, who is unblockable one-on-one. He is a great young man, who is fun-loving off the field and a monster on the field. Tommy will be a great addition to the New Mexico State football team.” Jon Mack, head coach Ventura College.

Augafa Vaaulu, DT, 6-3, 280, Downey, Calif. (Warren HS)
Vaaulu played both defensive line and tight end for the Warren High School Bears. As a senior, Vaaulu tallied 51 tackles, eight tackles, an interception, a pass break up, a fumble recovery and three forced fumbles on the defensive line. As a tight end, he grabbed 10 receptions for 85 yards. Vaaulu was named a first team all-conference selection as both a defensive tackle and a tight end in 2009. He helped his team to a 10-2 overall record his senior season. During his junior season, Vaaulu recorded 60 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, while tallying 12 receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown catch. Vaaulu helped the Bears to an 8-4 overall record that season. He was named the league’s defensive player of the year in 2008 as well as a first team all-conference selection on offense.

“Augafa is a fantastic athlete and a fantastic person. I think New Mexico State is getting a quality football and a quality individual in Augafa. He was a tremendous football player for us and we think he will be the same for New Mexico State.” Chris Benadom, head coach Warren High School

Davonte Wallace, OG, 6-4, 250, El Paso, Texas (Irvin HS)
Wallace played both offensive guard and defensive line for the Irvin High School Rockets. As a senior, Wallace helped the Rockets record a 6-7 overall record, as the Irvin offense averaged 149.1 yards passing per game, 126.9 yards rushing per game and 276 yards of total offense that season. On defense, Wallace tallied 22 tackles, averaging 3.1 tackles per game. He was named an all-city selection and all-district pick as an offensive lineman. Wallace was also named an all-city preseason team selection. As a junior, the Rockets’ offense averaged 126.3 yards passing and 129.8 yards rushing in 2008. He also recorded 10 tackles and a blocked field goal.

“Davonte is one of the finest young men I have run across in my 18 years at Irvin High School. He is the most gifted all the way around as far as a lineman goes in my time here. He has the things you need to be a good lineman at the college level.” Clifford Olander, head coach Irvin High School

Walker also announced that Marquese Dunn and Justin Smith, who were signed in 2009 as gray shirts, have joined the team for the spring semester and will be looked to as impact players for the Aggies.

“We think Marquese Dunn will be a factor for us at running back and we will take a good look at him this spring. Justin Smith is another big body that we will be evaluating this spring.”

Maquese Dunn, RB, 6-2, 217, Pflugerville, Texas (Henderickson HS)
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.

Justin Smith, DB, 6-2, 190, Safford, Ariz. (Safford HS)
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.