Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State head football coach DeWayne Walker announced the Aggies’ 2011 signing class Wednesday afternoon. Nineteen student-athletes signed a National Letter of Intent with the Aggies to attend New Mexico State University and play football beginning in 2011.
The Aggies’ 2011 signing class is full of junior college transfers and high school student-athletes. The defensive line and offensive line were a focus for Walker’s third signing class as head coach. The Aggies signed two defensive linemen and five offensive linemen. Also signing with NM State were one linebacker, three wide receivers, one quarterback, four defensive backs, two running backs and one tight end to round out the signing class.
“As it turns out we were a little offensive heavy at the wide receiver and offensive lineman positions and we took more running backs then expected but in our conference we have to score points so we had to take more play makers on the offensive side of the ball,” Walker said. “Defensively, we tried to use a little more strategy to find guys to blend in to bump up the number of players we have with game experience. We may take a defensive lineman and a linebacker after signing day. I feel like we did a good job of meeting our needs in this signing class.”
The Aggies signed a mixture of athletes, including nine junior college signees and 10 high school players. NM State will also welcome gray shirts Adam Shapiro, Daniel English and Jackson KaKa who signed in 2010 but will be with the team this spring. Two of the 19 signees in the 2011 class will also be with the Aggies during spring practice (Sean Brown – DE and Andrew Kersten - OL).
Kemonte Bateman, WR, 6-1, 185, Los Angeles, Calif. (Pasadena JC/Crenshaw HS)
Pasadena JC: Bateman was a two-year starter at Pasadena Junior College at the wide receiver position. In 2010, Bateman was fifth on the team in receiving with 18 catches for 253 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 14.1 yards per catch and 31.6 yards per game. Bateman also returned punts and kickoffs for Pasadena JC, leading the team in punt returns with 18 returns for 118 yards, averaging 11.8 yards per return, scoring one touchdown. He was third on the team in kick returns with 147 yards on nine returns, averaging 16.3 yards per return. As a freshman, Bateman was second on the team in receiving with 37 catches for 522 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 14.1 yards per catch and 58.0 yards per game. On special teams, Bateman returned three kicks for 48 yards, averaging 16 yards per return. He was named a first team Southern California Football Association, Southern Conference selection in 2010.
“Kemonte is a hard worker, a great leader and a good blocker. He really has a great ability to catch the football wherever it is thrown. He was always the first to practice and the last to leave. I think New Mexico State is getting a great football player and an even better person.” Dennis Gossard, Head Coach Pasadena Junior College
Brandon Betancourt, RB, 5-11, 185, Las Cruces, N.M. (Mayfield HS)
High School: Betancourt played running back for the Mayfield High School Trojans, helping his team to a New Mexico State Championship in 2010. As a senior he was named first team all-tournament (New Mexico State Championship), first team all-district running back, first team all-state running back (New Mexico) and was selected to the New Mexico North/South All-Star Team. During the 2010 season, Betancourt rushed 1,334 yards and broke three Mayfield High School football records: most rushing yards in a football game, most rushing yards per carry and rushing yards per game. He also had 12 touchdowns. During his junior year as a Trojan, Betancourt rushed 1,300 yards, rushed 96.2 yards per game and had 137 receiving yards. Betancourt had 20 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. The Trojans were also the state runners-up for the 2009 New Mexico State Championship. Betancourt was a starter for the Trojans for two years.
“He is an outstanding young man. He’s got a life plan and great goals for himself and he’s one that actually goes out and tries to achieve his goals.” Jim Bradley, Head Coach Mayfield High School
James Calhoun, WR, 5-11, 180, Riverside, Calif. (Riverside JC/North HS)
Riverside JC: Calhoun played two seasons at Riverside Junior College at wide receiver and defensive back. He also returned punts and kickoffs on special teams. In 2009, Calhoun caught 10 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Calhoun intercepted four passes for 111 yards and a touchdown return. He also tallied 69 tackles and seven pass break-ups. He averaged 6.4 yards per punt return and 23.2 yards per kickoff return. Calhoun also led his team in all-purpose yards in 2009. He was named a first team Southern California Football Association, Central Conference selection. As a freshman in 2008, Calhoun would rush and pass for a touchdown, rushing for 212 yards, averaging 9.6 yards per carry. He also caught three passes for 10 yards. At defensive back, Calhoun intercepted four passes for 109 yards and a touchdown return, while recording 42 tackles, seven pass break-ups, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. He also returned 18 punts for an average of 17.6 yards. Calhoun was named a second team Southern California Football Association, Central Conference selection in 2008.
Houston Clemente, OL, 6-1, 285, Honolulu, Hawai’i (St. Louis HS)
High School: Clemente played offensive guard for St. Louis High School as a starter over the past two seasons. In 2010, Clemente helped his team to an 11-1 record and the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA State Championship. He was selected as an honorable mention All-Star selection. Clemente helped his team total 4,933 offensive yards in 2010, throwing for 2,957 yards and rushing for 1,976 yards, while recording 63 offensive touchdowns. He was named a first team All-ILH as well as a third team all-state selection in 2010. Clemente was also a scholar-athlete.
Travaughn Colwell, QB, 6-3, 185, Manvel, Texas (Manvel HS)
High School: Colwell was a two-year starter for the Manvel High School Mavericks at quarterback. As a senior, Colwell threw for 1,117 yards and 18 touchdowns, completing 77-of-153 with only four interceptions. He completed over 50 percent of his pass attempts. Colwell also rushed for 524 yards on 106 carries, reaching the end zone six times on the year. He was responsible for 23 touchdowns on the season. He was named a unanimous first team all-district selection in 2010. As a junior, Colwell threw for 523 yards and five touchdowns, completing 29-of-77. He also rushed for 360 yards and two touchdowns. For his efforts, he earned second team all-district.
“We are extremely excited that Travaughn has chosen NM State. You could not have a better kid and player. He is a phenomenal athlete and an even better leader. He put us on the map here at Manvel High School.” Kirk Martin, Head Coach Manvel HS
Andy Cunningham, OL, 6-4, 290, Frisco, Texas (Frisco HS)
High School: Cunningham played on the offensive line at center, guard and tackle for Frisco High School as a starter the past three seasons. In 2010, he helped the offense rush for 2,175 yards and 23 touchdowns, while passing for 627 yards and four touchdowns. Cunningham was part of an offensive line that allowed just 11 sacks on the year. He also played basketball and threw the shot put and discus in track and field.
“Andy has a lot of room to grow as a football player. The thing I like about Andy is that he is an athletic kid for his size. Andy is extremely smart and I think that will be a real positive for him at the next level.” Vance Gibson, Head Coach Frisco HS
Anthony Edwards, DB, 6-0, 185, Lancaster, Calif. (Antelope Valley College)
High School: Edwards was a starting defensive back during his two years at Antelope Valley College. During his sophomore season in 2010, Edwards was a team captain. He had 43 tackles and four interceptions as well as five pass break ups. Edwards was named first team all-conference and all-state defensive back. He was also the team MVP. As a freshman Edwards helped the team to a conference championship. He had 25 tackles and three point break ups.
“He’s a complete defensive back. You’ve got size, speed, fitness and he’s very intelligent when it comes to the game of football.” Perry Jehlicka, Head Coach Antelope Valley College
Jeremy Harris, DB, 6-2, 180, Dorsey, Calif. (East Los Angeles JC/Dorsey HS)
East Los Angeles JC: Harris played two seasons for East Los Angeles Junior College at defensive back, starting both seasons. In 2010, Harris tallied 17 tackles on the year, while grabbing three interceptions, three pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. He also returned one interception for a touchdown in 2010. Harris returned five kickoffs for 91 yards, averaging 18.2 yards per return. In 2009, Harris tallied 21 tackles, seven pass break-ups and a tackle for a loss. He also led the team in kick return yardage with 218 yards, averaging 24.2 yards a return, while returning one kickoff for a touchdown. Harris earned second team Southern California Football Association, Mountain Conference selection.
“Jeremy has a tremendous attitude and is quality football player. He is a great student and is extremely involved in community service activities. As a player, Jeremy is as tough as it gets. His football background is very strong. He is a tall kid and is extremely fast. I think NM State is getting a very quality football player. He was a vital part of turning this defense around here at East Los Angeles.” Lynn Cain, Head Coach East Los Angeles Junior College
Abram Holland, DT, 6-2, 260, Rio Rancho, N.M. (V. Sue Cleveland HS)
High School: Holland was a three-year starter for V. Sue Cleveland High School at defensive tackle. As a senior, Holland recorded 32 tackles, with 12 of those tackles tallied as solo efforts. He also recorded 11 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, 21 quarterback hurries and a team-leading four sacks on the season. Holland was named a first team All-Metro selection as well as a first team all-district and first team all-state team member. He was also selected to the state of New Mexico North-South All-Star game.
“Abram was a dominant force for our team and defense. I think he has the physical tools to be that type of dominating force at the next level as well.” Kirk Potter, Head Coach V. Sue Cleveland High School
Matthew Jaramillo, TE/QB, 6-5, 245, Albuquerque, N.M. (West Mesa HS)
High School: Jaramillo was a three-year starter at quarterback for the West Mesa High School Mustangs. In his senior year, Jaramillo was the statistical leader in passing yards with 2,744. He had 40 total touchdowns and seven two-point conversions, as well as 158 completed passes. Jaramillo earned honorable mention All-Metro quarterback in 2008 and 2009, second team All-Metro quarterback in 2010, Senior Student Athlete of the Year All-Metro in 2010 and was nominated for all-state in 2009 and 2010. He was also named to the All-Metro Academic Team in 2009 and 2010, first team all-district quarterback in 2008, 2009 and 2010, all-District Academic Team in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and male athlete of the fall season in 2009 and 2010. Jaramillo was named the State Farm Player of the Week after throwing 429 yards and four touchdowns against Cibola High School. Although Jaramillo was a starting quarterback in high school, he will be joining the Aggies as a tight end.
“He is very driven. As a freshman he came in and said he was going to be the starting quarterback his sophomore year and he did it. He works hard to be the best he can.” James Palacios, Head Coach West Mesa High School
Alexander LaVoy, LB, 6-2, 230, Reno, Nev. (Butte C.C./McQueen HS)
Butte C.C.: LaVoy played two seasons at Butte Community College as a starting linebacker. In 2010, LaVoy helped his team to a 9-2 record, winning the 2010 ASBG Bowl Championship. He was named MVP of the ASBG Bowl as well. LaVoy led Butte in tackles in 2010 with 90, including nine tackles for a loss and three sacks. He also tallied four pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. LaVoy was named a first team All-NorCal selection in 2010. As a freshman, in 2009, LaVoy recorded 37 tackles, which was good for fifth on the team. He had six tackles for a loss, three sacks and two fumble recoveries.
“Alexander was the leader of our defense this past season. He loves to run to the ball and is a great tackler. I think he will be an excellent addition to the New Mexico State football team.” Jeff Jordan, Head Coach Butte Community College
Joseph Matthews, WR, 6-1, 175, Tucson, Ariz. (Rincon HS)
High School: Matthews played both wide receiver and defensive back for the Rincon High School Rangers. During the 2010 season, Matthews had 65 receptions, 955 yards and 11 touchdowns. As a defensive back he had 60 tackles as well as five interceptions. During his junior and senior seasons, Matthews was selected as a second team all-region defensive back. As a senior, he was also selected as a first team All-Southern Arizona, first team all-region and honorable mention all-state as a wide receiver. Matthews was thought of highly by his teammates, who selected him to receive the “Ranger Award,” an award for the most all-around player both on and off the football field.
“Joseph is a great all-around kid and that showed when the team voted for him to receive our Ranger Award this past season. He is such a hard-working, all-around player and person. Joseph is a great student and a great teammate. He did it all for his team this past season.” Nate Gahn, Head Coach Rincon High School
Faison McKinnis, OL, 6-7, 300, Frisco, Texas (Centennial HS)
High School: McKinnis was a huge contributor as an offensive lineman for Frisco Centennial High School. McKinnis has a background in mainly basketball and has only played football for about three years, but was a leader in the Frisco Centennial High School football program. McKinnis helped the team to a 6-4 regular season record, which took the Titans to the state playoffs for only the second time in the school’s history. As an offense, McKinnis helped the Titans throw for 2,731 yards, 25 touchdown passes and rush for nearly 1,000 in 2010. McKinnis was named first team all-district in the 2010 season.
“He’s not afraid of hard work and he really prides himself in doing things correctly. He is really coachable and has a huge, huge upside as far as development goes.” Mark Howard, Head Coach Frisco Centennial High School
Germi Morrison, RB, 6-0, 191, Panorama City, Calif. (LA Valley College/Monroe HS)
LA Valley College: Morrison played two seasons at LA Valley College at the running back position. In 2010, he led the Monarchs to a 6-4 record, leading the team in rushing with 817 yards, scoring 10 touchdowns, while averaging 4.9 yards a carry and 81.7 yards a game. Morrison also caught 13 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown. He also led the team in scoring with 66 points on the year. Morrison was unanimous selection to the first team Southern California Football Association, Pacific Conference and an All-California Community College, Region VI. As a freshman, Morrison rushed for 347 yards and three touchdowns, while grabbing nine passes for 76 yards, averaging 8.1 yards per catch. He scored one receiving touchdown.
“He’s a young man that’s got a real big heart, a lot of talent and has proven himself. He does what it takes to get through school and play on the football field. If anyone is deserving, he’s the guy.” Jim Fenwick, Head Coach LA Valley College
Samuel Oyenuga, DB, 5-10, 165, Rowlett, Texas (Rowlett HS)
High School: Oyenuga played four seasons for Rowlett High School at defensive back and as a kick returner. As a senior in 2010, Oyenuga helped his team to a 9-3 record. He recorded 61 tackles on the season, averaging 5.1 tackles per game. Oyenuga also tallied 10 pass break ups in 2010. As a kick returner, he averaged 31.6 yards per kick return, recording a long of 55 yards. He was the team captain as a senior and was named a first team all-district selection. As a junior, Oyenuga played in just six games, grabbing 38 tackles and an interception. He also returned just two kicks for an average of 10.5 yards a return. Oyenuga was named an honorable mention all-district selection as a junior.
“First of all, he is very dynamic player. Sam will go out and make plays. He is a physical and every-down player. NM State is getting a solid person, who is a good student and great leader.” Kiff Hardin, Head Coach Rowlett HS
Valerian Ume-Ezeoke, OL, 6-2, 267, Garland, Texas (Garland Lakeview Centennial High School)
High School: Ume-Ezeoke was a key player for the Lakeview Centennial High School Patriots as both an offensive lineman and a defensive lineman. As a defensive lineman, Ume-Ezeoke had 51 total tackles during the 2010 regular season, 21 of those tackles were unassisted and 31 were assisted. He was selected to the all-district team in both 2009 and 2010, named offensive lineman of the year by the Garland Lakeview Centennial High School offensive staff in 2010, and chosen as the Chevy Prep Player of the Week, which is an achievement based off of both academics and athleticism.
“Once Valerian gets acclimated to the program and the academics, I think the sky is the limit for him. He’s a hard-working kid and I think he will do whatever it takes to be the best for the program.” Don Willis, Head Coach Garland Lakeview Centennial High School
Lester White, DB, 6-2, 200, Riverside, Calif. (Riverside JC/North HS)
Riverside Junior College: White started two years for Riverside Junior College at safety. During his sophomore season, White recorded 47 tackles as he helped the Tigers to a 10-1 record and a No. 10 ranking on the season. He also recorded a team-leading five interceptions for 112 yards, four pass break-ups, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. White would return two of his five interceptions for a touchdown, averaging 22.4 yards an interception return. White was named a first team Southern California Football Association, East Conference in 2010. As a freshman, White finished as the Tigers’ fourth-leading tackler with 52, 30 of which were solo tackles. He recorded 2.5 tackles for loss and had a sack and an interception, while forcing a fumble, recovering two fumbles and had two pass breakups.
High School: White was a 2009 graduate of North High School. He played four years of varsity football on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
“This was our first year as a coaching staff so we didn’t know much about any of the players to begin this season. In a short period of time, Lester took over our football team and became a leader and a dominant player. He has great work ethic and a tremendous attitude. Lester really bought into our program.” Tom Craft, Head Coach Riverside Junior College
2011 Early Signees – Early Signees are student-athletes that signed a National Letter of Intent during the early signing period in December of 2010.
Sean Brown, DE, 6-5, 253, Oakland, Calif. (Chabot College/Oakland Tech.)
Chabot College: Brown, a native of Oakland, Calif., played one season at Chabot College. The 6-5, 253 pound defensive end collected 17 tackles in 2010 for Chabot, while also grabbing four and a half tackles for a loss and two sacks on the year. As a freshman, Brown collected seven tackles, a sack, quarterback hurry and a pass break-up. During his two years with Chabot, Brown helped his team to an 11-9 record.
“He’s one of the best kids that I’ve coached as far as his work ethic. He’s very goal driven and this was a goal of his. He’s excited for the opportunity and can’t wait to get going.” Danny Calcagno, Head Coach Chabot Community College
Andrew Kersten, OL, 6-6, 305, Minneapolis, Minn. (El Camino JC/Washburn)
El Camino JC: Kersten was a two-year starter on the offensive line for El Camino Junior College. In 2010, Kersten helped his team rush for 191.1 yards per game and pass for 257.6 yards a contest. As a team, El Camino averaged 448.7 yards a game in 2010, scoring 40 total touchdowns in the year. Kersten was named a second team Southern California Football Association, Northern Conference selection. As a freshman in 2009, Kersten helped his team to an 8-3 overall record. As a team, El Camino passed for 272.5 yards and rushed for 151.2 yards a game, racking up 423.6 yards of total offense per contest. On the year, El Camino tallied 46 offensive touchdowns.
“Andrew is a young man who has a lot for physical skills and talent. He is strong and quick. Andrew is an extremely hard worker and has a lot of internal drive. I think he will continue to get better and better as his career goes.” Eugene Engle, Offensive Coordinator El Camino Junior College
2011 Gray Shirt Signees – Gray Shirts are student-athletes that signed a National Letter of Intent in 2010 but would count against the 2011 signing class.
Jackson KaKa, TE, 6-4, 210, Kahuku, Hawai’i (Kahuku HS)
High School: 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.
Adam Shapiro, WR, 6-0, 175, Rio Rancho, N.M. (Rio Rancho HS)
High School: 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.
Daniel English, WR, 6-3, 190, New Westminster, B.C. (New Westminster Secondary)
High School: In 2009, English played in 12 games at wide receiver and running back. He caught 26 passes for 462 yards and six touchdowns, while averaging 17.7 yards a reception. At running back, English rushed for 222 yards on 14 carries, averaging 15.8 yards a carry, while recording two touchdowns on the season. English also returned kicks and punts for the Hyacks with 12 kickoff returns for 239 yards, averaging 19.9 yards a return. As a punt returner, English tallied 185 yards on 10 returns and a touchdown. He was named a 2009 AAA Pepsi Provincial All-Star. As a junior, English caught 21 passes for 460 yards and seven touchdowns, while rushing for one touchdown.
2011 Blue Shirt Signees – Blue shirts are student-athletes that signed a National Letter of Intent in 2010 but played during the 2010 season and their signing counts against the 2011 signing class.
Marcus Williams, WR, 6-3, 187, Riverside, Calif. (San Bernardino Valley College/San Gargonic HS)
2010 (Junior): Williams played in 11 games for the Aggies in 2010 at the wide receiver position. He caught seven passes for 56 yards on the year. Williams recorded a career-high three catches at UTEP (Sept. 18) for 25 yards. He would grab one reception against Idaho (Oct. 23), San Jose State (Oct. 30), Nevada (Nov. 20) and Hawai’i (Nov. 27). Versus Nevada, Williams’ one catch was for 15 yards.
Junior College: Williams attended San Bernardino Valley College, Calif. In 2009, Williams was selected as first team all-conference. Williams finished 2009 with 59 catches for 874 yards and 11 touchdowns.
High School: Williams attended San Gorgonio High School, Calif. In 2007, Williams played wide receiver and finished the season with 22 catches for 350 yards. Williams played quarterback in 2006, throwing for 1,802 yards and 13 touchdowns. Williams also played in Riverside vs. San Bernardino All-Star game.
Kevin Pankey, OL, 6-3, 277, Visalia, Calif. (College of the Sequoias/Mt. Whitney HS)
2010 (Junior): Pankey redshirted for the Aggies in 2010.
College of the Sequoias: Pankey played tight end for College of the Sequoias in 2009, helping the team to a 5-5 record and second-place in league play. He caught six passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns in 2009.
High School: Pankey played wide receiver and left tackle for Mt. Whitney High School. As a senior, Pankey helped his team to a 15-1 record and the California State Championship. He also earned all-league honors three years in a row, as well as all-state second team two years and played in the state all-star game two years. As a sophomore, Pankey caught 111 passes for 1,118 yards and 20 touchdowns. Pankey lettered 12 times in three sports while in high school, playing basketball and track & field.
Bryan Bonilla, LB, 6-1, 208, Pomona, Calif. (Diamond Ranch HS)
2010 (Redshirt Freshman): Bonilla played in 10 games for the Aggies in 2010 on special teams. On the year, Bonilla recorded 11 tackles, including four solo efforts. Against No. 3 Boise State (Oct. 1), Bonilla tallied a career-high five tackles. Versus San Diego State in the season opener, Bonilla had three tackles. He would also grab two tackles versus in-state rival New Mexico (Oct. 9).
2009 (Freshman): Bonilla redshirted his freshman year at NM State.
High School: In 2008, Bonilla helped his team to the CIF finals, as he earned all-Inland Valley first team, All-San Gabriel Valley first team and all-CIF first team honors. He was also named an All-Star Hall of Fame Player in 2008 and is a two-time All-Miramonte first team member. During his high school career, Bonilla recorded 191 tackles, 56 tackles for a loss, 29 sacks, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and scored two touchdowns.