Head Coach DeWayne Walker
We're very excited about this class. I feel like our coaches did a very good job. We identified our needs on both sides of the ball. Offensively we got a couple of quarterbacks I think will come in and compete right away. I thought we got a couple offensive linemen that will help beef up our offensive line. We got a speed receiver, we took a young tight end, we have a bunch of senior tight ends this season. Defensively I feel like we weren't very strong up the middle. We got two big tackles. We've got a mike linebacker that'll be here in the spring and we have a free safety that we're very excited about and we took a high school corner. Overall I think we really accomplished what we set out to get the type of players we need to keep building this program.
Coach Walker's thoughts on each signee
Taveon Burke, WR, 6-0, 175, Lancaster, Calif. (Antelope Valley College/Lancaster HS)
Taveon Burke a receiver from Antelope Valley College, 10.6 100 meters. That's big for us. We didn't feel like we had any deep threats last year to get vertical. Hopefully we can continue to build speed at that position but it's a start. We're hoping he'll be an impact player in our vertical game right away.
Matt Christian, QB, 6-3, 220, San Diego, Calif. (Palomar JC/Carlsbad HS)
Matt Christian, quarterback from Palomar College, again we want to create more competition at the quarterback position. That's was something we wanted to do and we're very fortunate to get a quarterback that will bring some competition to that position.
Dylan Davis, LB, 6-0, 210, Ventura, Calif. (St. Bonaventure HS)
Dylan Davis a young linebacker from St. Bonaventure HS, I don't know if you guys know, that's one of the most reputable high schools in Southern California. They have great players every year and we're very fortunate to get a very promising young linebacker.
Shamar Gaines, S, 6-2, 205, Glassboro, N.J. (College of the Sequoias/Glassboro HS)
Shamar Gaines a free safety from College of the Sequoias. He's from the New Jersey area, he's a guy that kind of just fell to us. He was highly recruited out of high school. After his first year at College of Sequoias he had some work to do academically and a lot of the big schools fell off of him, we stayed with him through the process and we think he has a real good chance of getting it done. We feel very very lucky, really he's a BCS-type player we think.
Darien Johnson, DB, 5-9, 180, Puente, Calif. (Bishop Amat HS)
Darien Johnson is a little corner from Bishop Amat High School, it's the same high school that David McCutcheon went to, he played in the NFL 8 to 10 years. He's a really good player, a good man-to-man type corner which is our style we play on defense. It was good to get a young corner that we can develop with our experienced corners with Davon House and Jonte Green.
Anthony Joyner, LB, 6-2, 215, San Diego, Calif. (Point Loma HS)
Anthony Joyner, another young linebacker from the San Diego area. I really feel we're building our linebacker corps the way at some point we can build our whole football team, with high school players. I know we've taken some JC guys. I look at the JC guys like free agents and the high school guys like draft picks. Right now we just have to kind of stop-gap with some of the JC players but at some point we hope we can build this football team with high school players.
Jackson KaKa, TE, 6-4, 210, Kahuku, Hawai’i (Kahuku HS)
Jackson KaKa was a kid that I identified over the summer working a camp. He was under recruited, 6'4", 220 pounds, I think he's an exceptional pass catching tight end. I think we stole one. I think his better years are ahead so I think we got us a steal there.
Dylan Lusk, OG, 6-3, 294, Peoria, Ariz. (Centennial HS)
Dylan Lusk, an offensive lineman from the Arizona area. He's a nasty guy. Very nasty. I wouldn't be surprised if he comes in and competes as a true freshman. He fits the style of his coach. Both guys are nasty. I know Lenzmeier is very happy that Dylan decided to sign with us.
David Mahoney, DL, 6-3, 300, Los Angeles, Calif. (LA Pierce/El Camino Real HS)
David Mahoney, I tell you what, we beat a Pac-10 school, Washington State, for this kid. When you look at the trips he took, I don't know how we got this guy to be honest with you. You can thank Mike Rutenberg and Coach Williams and myself. We did a great job with this kid. This guy is a special football player. We are very lucky to get David Mahoney.
Andrew Manley, QB, 6-3, 215, Leilehua, Hawai’i (Leilehua HS)
Andrew Manley, a quarterback from Hawai'i. He was a state player of the year. He's another guy I'm shocked that didn't have more scholarship offers. He's 6'4", 225 pounds. Physically he can play Division I football right now. We just have to wait and see if he can handle the mental part of it. Another quarterback we're going to throw in the mix.
Aundre McGaskey, OT, 6-6, 305, LaMarque, Texas (Blinn College/LaMarque HS)
Aundre McGaskey, another kid from the Texas area, 6'6", 310. What else should I say? When you can line him up along with Sioli Fakalata and some of the other returning offensive linemen that we have. I just think that we did a good job identifying some pieces with the offensive line that's going to help our running game and our passing game.
Frank Padilla, LB, 6-2, 230, Clovis, Calif. (College of the Sequoias/Clovis East)
Frank Padilla, that was one position that I was real concerned with through the whole recruiting process. We needed a veteran mike linebacker and I knew we had to go to the JC ranks. Most of the big-time mike linebackers from the JC ranks get BCS scholarships. We just kept digging in the trash I guess you could say. We're hoping Frank can step right in and be our starting mike linebacker. He was a transfer from Fresno State and he played at College of the Sequoias.
Adam Shapiro, WR, 6-0, 175, Rio Rancho, N.M. (Rio Rancho HS)
Adam Shapiro, a wide receiver from Rio Rancho. When I first took the job I wanted to take at least one New Mexico kid every year. In our eyes he was the best one available. I just think with some development this guy is going to be a good football player. Good size, good speed, really good hands. We're very happy that we had a chance to get Adam.
Tommy Stuart, DL, 6-3, 315, Westlake, Calif. (Ventura College/Westlake HS)
Tommy Stuart, I'm glad today was signing day because if we had to go another week we probably wouldn't have had a chance to sign this kid. A lot of the BCS schools, Oregon State, a lot of people were starting to come on this kid late. His high school coach was very influential with making this kid stay with his commitment to New Mexico State. He's another 300 pounder who we're going to need along with Mahoney, to help us our run defense in the conference.
Augafa Vaaulu, DT, 6-3, 280, Downey, Calif. (Warren HS)
Augafa Vaaulu, he's a young kid from Warren High School, another defensive tackle, 6'3" 280 pounds. As you can see we want to beef up our tackle position on defense. I feel like we've got some pretty good ends right now. This time next year we'll probably recruit more ends. I just felt like this recruiting class we had to do a good job at the tackle position and he'll create some depth for us in his freshman year.
Davonte Wallace, OG, 6-4, 250, El Paso, Texas (Irvin HS)
Davonte Wallace a kid from El Paso, we identified him last summer in our camp. He's a 6'4", 255 pound athlete. He's going to need to gain some weight but he's a kid we can develop and we think he's going to have a great career before he's done playing college football.
We feel real good, we lost some guys in the end that were some very good football players but at the same token I feel like we stole some kids too. We're very happy with our class.
On which players he thinks can step in and contribute immediately
Guys that we really hope will come in and do that, obviously Taveon Burke we need his speed on the field right away. Matt Christian, we brought him in to compete, not to be a backup. Shamar Gaines, we'd like him to come into compete with our two safeties right off the bat. David Mahoney, in our conference you've gotta stop the run and with his athletic ability and his pedigree, we expect him to do some good things for us. Andrew Manley, even though he's a high school kid, he's a prolific thrower that comes from a program that ws very successful throwing the ball. We're going to throw him in the competition at quarterback. Aundre McGaskey, the 6'6" 300 pound tackle. He's an NFL tackle. We can get a couple more pieces with our offensive line and hopefully he's one of the answers for us. He's gonna definitely strengthen our line. Frank Padilla, he's our mike linebacker. He's a veteran that's going to help beef up the middle part of our defense. Tommy Stuart, he's another kid that's another big body at tackle that we need to come in and play for us right away. Those are the guys we're looking at and most of them are JC guys, that's why we recruited them, to come in and play for us right away. There's always some surprises with some of the high school guys. I would say the quarterback Manley would have a chance, and maybe the little cornerback Johnson, he may be able to come in and provide some depth for us. He's also a punt returner and kick returner too. We'll just see what these guys do in training camp.
On the Aggies' secondary
We have the whole secondary back. That's always a good thing. In our conference you have some really good throwing teams. I think with Gaines in particular, he's a guy that we would like to see put heat at that position right away. You always like develop young corners so with Darien Johnson, if he can come in and beat out [Lorenzo] Caldwell for the fourth corner spot I think that would be good for him as well as play special teams.
On the differences between the recruiting process last year and the recruiting process this year
It's a lot different. Having a chance to evaluate properly. We brought in Trent Baalke last year who's with the 49ers, their player personnel director, and some of my experiences and Coach Lindsey's in terms of how you should evaluate players. We didn't rush, we didn't guess on guys. We watched tape and we evaluated and we had staff votes and we offered and then we tried to close the deal. We did it the right way and we got the guys we were supposed to get.