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Lobo football recruiting has yet to pick up steam

As of  Tuesday, one recruiting website listed Colorado State as already having 19 commitments toward its 2018 football signing class.

Boise State, San Diego State, UNLV, Nevada, Fresno State and Wyoming are all listed in double figures.

And New Mexico? Two (2).

Should the Lobo faithful, already shaken by this fall’s 3-9 record, be worried?

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No.

Not yet, anyway.

Last year on this date, UNM had two commitments for 2017. Yet, by February, coach Bob Davie and his staff had put together a productive class.

Several members of the 2017 class, most notably cornerbacks Jalin Burrell and D’Angelo Ross, made positive contributions this fall. Quarterback Coltin Gerhart, nose tackles Jermane Conyers and Aaron Blackwell, linebackers Siti Tamaivena and Jordan Flack, offensive lineman Chris Estrella and tight end Marcus Williams all made an impact.

High hopes exist, as well, for 2017 signees who sat out the season as redshirts: safeties Nico Bolden and Marcus Hayes, linebacker Brandon Shook, nose tackle Langston Murray, offensive lineman Dylan Weaver and tight end Daniel Peabody.

As for 2018, UNM’s two known commitments come from offensive linemen: Chris Elam (6-foot-6, 320 pounds) of Kingwood (Texas) High School and Jarred Sylvester (6-4, 315) from Dodge City (Kan). Community College.

Elam committed in July. He told the Journal via social media on Tuesday that he’s not sure he’ll sign during the new, early three-day window (Dec. 20-22) for high school players, but said his commitment to UNM is firm. He’s scheduled for an official recruiting visit the weekend of Dec. 16.

Davie has said he doesn’t expect to sign many prep players until February, concentrating for now on the junior colleges. New Mexico has eight slots for mid-year juco transfers.

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Signing day for mid-years also is Dec. 20.

Sylvester is a “bounce-back” who played at Pace University in New York as a freshman. He visited UNM the first weekend in November and committed on Nov. 9.

John Ruffin Jr., a defensive back from Beaumont (Texas) Central High School, committed to New Mexico in August but since has withdrawn his commitment.

Cameron Burston, a dual-threat quarterback from Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif., signed with UNM last February but has not enrolled. His UNM letter of intent thus is null and void.

Burston still describes himself on his Twitter feed as a UNM commit but did not respond to the Journal when asked if he still intends to come to New Mexico.

Last year, as in the past, commitments to UNM from mid-year junior college transfers began to trickle in starting with the weekend that corresponds to this one.

If that doesn’t happen this year, perhaps it will be time for Lobo fans to worry — and to wonder if reports of an investigation targeting Davie, for alleged player abuse and drug-testing irregularities, is having an effect.

Davie has said UNM’s main recruiting priorities are offensive line, running back, punter and kicker.

Cooper Lee, who handled both the kicking and punting duties this fall for Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, posted on Twitter that he’s visiting UNM this weekend. He has offers from Bowling Green and Louisiana Tech as well as from New Mexico.

Lee averaged 39.4 yards per punt this fall and made 8 of 12 field-goal attempts.

UNM, meanwhile, is without a recruiting coordinator. Vince Natali, a former Lobo offensive lineman who has held the job the past two years, has resigned.

The absence of a recruiting coordinator probably will have a major immediate impact, since Natali was on the job throughout the 2017 season.

Teams in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision are allowed to award 25 scholarships annually, provided they don’t exceed 85 total scholarships.

With the departure of this season’s senior class and with roster attrition, UNM had 56 returning scholarship players as of Tuesday and thus would be able to award all 25 scholarships.


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