The University of New Mexico football team’s 2021 recruiting class got a heavy dose of offensive linemen with four big guys committing to the Lobos recently.
Joshua Atkins (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) and Dayton Robinson (6-5, 280), both tackles from Mansfield Timberview High in Arlington, Texas, announced their commitment via Twitter on Sunday night.
Goddard High’s Larry Luna (6-5, 260) announced his commitment on Twitter on Wednesday night, and Isaiah Sillemon, a 6-3, 285-pound guard from Lancaster High in Texas, also committed with a tweet on Wednesday, which also was his 17th birthday.
Atkins, Robinson and Sillemon expressed establishing a relationship with UNM offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier that was not solely about football. That played a big part in their respective decisions. Luna could not be reached Wednesday night.
Verbal commitments are not binding and can’t elicit comments from the colleges to which they are committing.
Atkins, a three-star recruit (rated by 247 Sports), said he wanted to make the best decision for him, and it turned out to be a bonus that the Lobos also wanted his high school teammate.
Atkins started at left tackle and Robinson started at right for the Wolves, who finished last season with a 6-5 record and reach the first round of the playoffs in Texas Class 5A Division I.
Atkins received offers from North Texas, Missouri State, Liberty, Illinois State and William & Mary. He said his mother was hesitant for him; he did not get to visit any of the schools because of the coronavirus pandemic restricting recruiting visits. But he assured her that he is confident he made the right choice. He said he went on a virtual visit of the campus and the football facilities.
“We have a chance to set the culture with the new coaching staff,” Atkins said in a phone interview. “We have a chance to come in and play early. I really love the staff up there. I really love the opportunity. I can’t wait to get an opportunity to check it out.”
Robinson had one other offer, from Louisiana Monroe. He had been planning to participate in linemen camps but the pandemic canceled those plans.
He said that his bond with Atkins will become stronger when they play together at UNM.
“I expect great things from the both of us,” Robinson said. “I’m going to come out there and make a name for myself.”
Sillemon and Atkins were first-team All-District selections. Sillemon helped Lancaster (11-3) reach the Class 5A Division I Region II final. He said he went to elementary school with Robinson in DeSoto before both moved to different cities.
Sillemon also had offers from Hawaii, Alcorn State and Southern.
“From the jump they sounded really genuine and the interest was real,” Sillemon said of UNM. “Some of the talks we had wasn’t just about football. It was about life.”
Atkins, Robinson and Sillemon each said they will visit UNM when restrictions are lifted. Luna had an offer from Northern Arizona.
The Lobos’ 2021 recruiting class could include more offensive linemen. UNM currently has 16 offensive linemen, and five of those are seniors.
UNM has five commits for the 2021 recruiting class, including Cleveland High wide receiver Luke Wysong.