When the University of New Mexico football team’s season ended on Dec. 12, offensive lineman Teton Saltes went into the lab.
He was training for the UNM pro day that took place Thursday. He changed his diet, hit the gym and transformed his body, far from the player he was when the coronavirus-delayed and shortened season began.
The results showed at the pro day, where he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.94 seconds, which would have ranked fourth among linemen at the 2020 NFL combine. He caught the eye of NFL scouts on hand from the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.
Punter Tyson Dyer also participated in the pro day.
“San Jose State, first game of the season, I was at 326 pounds,” Saltes said. “And, you could tell too, when you watch the film. Now I’m at 300. I cut down almost 30 pounds, moving better than I have ever moved. Feeling stronger, quicker, faster, more explosive than I’ve ever felt. So cutting down weight was really good for me and my performance.”
Saltes, a Valley High alumnus who played right tackle for the Lobos, also recorded a vertical jump of 30½ inches and a broad jump of 8 feet, 9 inches, both personal bests, as he tries to become the first UNM player to be drafted since kicker Jason Sanders went to the Dolphins in the seventh round in 2018.
Saltes completed 22 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press. He was trying for 25 and raising money for Uplifting Athletes and its mission to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through sport. He raised $3,608.
“I’ve been blessed with the platform that I’ve been given, and it would be a shame if I didn’t use it for good to help other people,” said Saltes, who became UNM’s first Wuerffel Trophy winner in January for his exceptional community service. “It was really cool that I was able to give back while putting on a decent showing today.”
Saltes and Dyer will now play the waiting game and hope to be selected during the NFL Draft April 29-May 1 in Cleveland.
Dyer, 28, said he was a bit disappointed with his punts that were judged on distance, placement and hang time in University Stadium. He said had been training in Tulsa, Oklahoma with former NFL punter Darren Bennett. Dyer and Bennett are from Australia.
“He’s been a great coach and a great mentor,” Dyer said of Bennett. “It’s been great to work with him. He told me, ‘The work is already done. You just have to go out and perform.'”
Saltes and Dyer chose to pursue the pro route rather than return to the Lobos with an extra year of eligibility granted this upcoming season because of the COVID-19 season.
OFFICIAL HIRE: Drew Mehringer’s hire as the Lobos’ passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach was officially announced by UNM on Thursday. Mehringer, who has been coaching at UNM during spring football, most recently worked as the co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach at Florida Atlantic.
The Journal reported in February that UNM was bringing on Mehringer. He replaces Jordan Salkin, who served as quarterbacks coach in 2020 and has since moved on to the Miami Dolphins as an offensive assistant.
Mehringer has a two-year contract with the Lobos paying $100,000 in the first year and $180,000 in the second year. He spent three seasons at Texas, from 2017-19, where he worked with UNM offensive coordinator Derek Warehime and Salkin as assistants under then-head coach Tom Herman.