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UNM football is following through on vow to recruit in-state

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Ryan Cosper had plans on a smaller scale after a stellar high school football senior season at Hope Christian that ended with the program’s first state title (3A) in its 10-year existence.

Cosper, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound wide receiver, was thinking to play for a junior college or an NCAA Division II program. But a dream scenario came when the University of New Mexico extended a preferred walk-on offer.

Cosper is one of at least seven New Mexico-grown players who have received PWO offers from UNM. Cosper, who led Hope with 63 catches for 1,094 yards and 11 touchdowns, said he will play for UNM because it’s always been a dream of his to suit up for the Lobos and he is grateful for the opportunity.

New UNM head coach Danny Gonzales and his staff appear to have a local flavor mindset with its recruiting heading into Wednesday’s National Letter of Intent signing day, marking the beginning of the regular signing period that ends April 1. Gonzales and his staff have had a strong presence on social media to connect with recruits and their families, as well as their respective communities.

In addition to the PWO’s to locals, Bryce Santana, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive lineman out of Los Lunas High, announced last week that he has accepted UNM’s scholarship offer.

UNM also extended scholarship offers to Cleveland junior wide receiver Tre Watson and senior running back Dorian Lewis, who recently announced that he will play for Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.

“I want to get a four-year education and be able to play football as long as I can,” Cosper said. “I believe that is the opportunity I’m getting.”

Keith Alvarado, a 6-1, 240-pound defensive lineman from Eldorado, also said he will take UNM up on its PWO.

Rio Rancho’s 6-1, 172-pound quarterback, Isaiah Chavez (2,006 passing yards, 22 touchdowns), who was named the Gatorade New Mexico Football Player of the Year, also has a UNM PWO, as does Manzano defensive back Zion Hall (6-0, 175 pounds), La Cueva defensive back Dawson Burton (6-1, 205), La Cueva defensive end Caleb Marra (6-4, 200), and La Cueva kicker Dominic Camacho.

Goddard junior offensive lineman Larry Luna (6-5, 260) has a scholarship offer for 2021.

Gonzales stressed during his Dec. 18 introductory press conference that he would recruit New Mexico players.

Gonzales and his staff will have a meet and greet Wednesday, from 5-7 p.m., at BJ’s Brewhouse 2100 Louisiana Boulevard NE in Albuquerque, where Gonzales will speak about his first recruiting class.

Gonzales said Tuesday that there could possibly be up to 24 signees, including Cleveland alumnus Dion Hunter, a 6-2, 200-pound linebacker who was a grayshirt last year after committing in 2019. Grayshirts delay their enrollment to extend eligibility at a university.

Hunter and Santana will be among nine New Mexico natives on scholarship on a roster that currently has 12 players from New Mexico.

Last year, under then-head coach Bob Davie, whose eighth season ended with a 2-10 record, UNM had 16 players from New Mexico, 11 of whom were on scholarship.

In 2018, there were 20 players from New Mexico, and nine of them were on scholarship.

In 2017, 22 players from New Mexico were on the roster, and eight of them were on scholarship.

Leke Asenuga, a 6-3, 300-pound offensive lineman from Fort Bend Bush High in Richmond, Texas, announced via Twitter on Tuesday his commitment to the Lobos. Asenuga is the fifth offensive lineman in the UNM recruiting class expected to sign Wednesday. He is one of 18 recruits who have made their commitments to UNM public prior to Wednesday.

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