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Lobo Tuioti returns to California

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tevaka Tuioti has left the University of New Mexico football team once again to be with his grandfather, Leoga, in California because he suffered a setback with his health condition, coach Bob Davie said on Friday.

Tuioti, who had missed the first eight practices of preseason camp, left on Thursday night, said Davie, who said he was waiting to be updated on the status of Tuioti’s grandfather.

Tuioti said he felt as if he was in catch-up mode after his first practice with the Lobos on Monday. He was trying to win the starting quarterback job for the second straight summer, going up against senior Sheriron Jones, junior college transfer Brandt Hughes and redshirt freshman Trae Hall. Connor Genal, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound freshman out of St. Paul High in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., is also on the roster.

Davie described the situation of determining the Lobos’ starter as “seamless,” because Tuioti had been at only four practices.

“It really has not been, ‘what are we going to do if …,'” Davie said. “It’s been more, ‘this how we are and this is how we are doing it.'”

Still, when asked if he had decided on the starting quarterback, Davie responded: “No way.”

Hughes, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior from Butte College in California, has made great strides and emerged as a contender to start, Davie said last week.

Jones, 6-3, 200 pounds, started seven games last year and showed big-play ability at times.

Hall is much improved from last year, as he played as Jones’ backup for most of his starts.

The Lobos had their final open-to-the-public practice Friday. They were set to scrimmage in the stadium today. They open the season on Aug. 31 against Sam Houston State at Dreamstyle Stadium.

HUNTER: Dion Hunter, a 6-2, 220-pound freshman linebacker from Cleveland High, will be considered a grayshirt for this season, Davie said.

Hunter will attend UNM in January on scholarship, Davie said.

Hunter was named all-metro by the Journal and all-state by USA Today during his senior year for the Storm.

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