New Mexico State hits the gridiron Aug. 28 with 17 student-athletes who come from the state of New Mexico geared up to take the field.
From the Albuquerque area, six talented athletes joined the Aggies to represent the Land of Enchantment, with three of them from Rio Rancho: Adam Shapiro, Jason Fitzpatrick and Abram Holland.
A wide receiver from Rio Rancho High School, Shapiro joined the Aggies in 2011. During the 2013 season, Shapiro played in 12 games as a wide receiver and kick returner, averaging six yards per rush and 12.3 yards a catch.
Shapiro led the team with 532 yards on 26 returns and recorded two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown on the season. His 35 catches for 331 yards and two touchdowns ranked him third on the team.
“We have a good group of guys and the opportunity to do something this season that hasn’t been done in a while, which is one of the most exciting parts of the upcoming season,” Shapiro said.
Fitzpatrick, who played his senior season at RRHS, redshirted for the Aggies during the 2013 season. Before attending NMSU, Fitzpatrick played one season at Fort Lewis College where he played in just a few games before transferring. He graduated RRHS, where he had been the starting QB in 2011, in 2012. Before that, he started at QB for three seasons at Santa Fe High School (2008-10).
Fitzpatrick was an Albuquerque Journal All-State second team and was selected to start in the North-South All-Star Game. He was a two-time all-district and a State Farm All-Metro quarterback, while being named a Sports Advisory Council Athlete of the Month for October 2011.
Coming as a three-year defensive tackle starter from Cleveland High School, Holland joined the Aggies in 2012 and redshirted that season. During the 2013 season, Holland played right guard in the last seven games for the Aggies, recording 23 knockdowns on the season.
In order to make NMSU home games an environment for families, season tickets will be just $50 for virtually any seat in the stadium. (Only seats in sections G and GG are excluded from this special price.) In addition, game day tickets for kids 12 and under will be just $5 in general admission or east side seats. Groups of 20 or more can order single-game tickets at a reduced rate.
As in past seasons, NMSU athletics will also be partnering with local youth organizations, military bases and charitable organizations to provide season tickets and single-game tickets to select games throughout the season.
The home schedule includes non-conference opponents Cal Poly on Thursday and I-25 rival UNM on Saturday, Sept. 20. In addition, NMSU heads to the Sun Belt Conference after one year as an independent and will welcome four conference mates to Las Cruces: Georgia Southern, Texas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe.
ESPN Radio 101.7-FM, “The Team,” in Rio Rancho will carry Aggie football games this fall. Longtime “Voice of the Aggies” Jack Nixon does the play-by-play and Preston Williams provides the analysis.