New Mexico State University’s quarterback prospects have improved dramatically over the course of a week.
Who will start at the position this week, however, is uncertain.
Third-string QB Dino Maldonado was largely forced into action last week against South Carolina State because of injuries to regular starter Jonah Johnson (wrist) and backup Weston Eget (knee). Maldonado, a sophomore walk-on, made the most of his opportunity, passing for 321 yards and three touchdowns in a 43-35 Aggies victory. Monday he was named College Sports Madness Independent Offensive Player of the Week.
But Johnson and Eget have progressed in their recoveries and were in uniform, available if needed, last week. Both are expected to practice this week in preparation for 1-3 NMSU’s Saturday home game against 1-3 Hawaii. Aggies coach Doug Martin did not name a starter during Tuesday’s media conference.
“It’s really fluid still,” Martin said. “Jonah and Weston started practicing last week and Jonah could’ve played if we needed him. Dino executed well but he’s still going to struggle with some things because of inexperience. We’ll evaluate all three guys this week and make a decision based on what we see.”
Johnson started NMSU’s first three games but injured his right wrist during the first half of the Aggies’ game at New Mexico on Sept. 11. The injury was not as serious as initially feared, and Martin said Johnson’s experience would be advantageous for NMSU against Hawaii’s aggressive defense.
“If Jonah’s 100% healthy, he gives us the best chance to win,” Martin said.
Eget has not played since NMSU’s opener against UTEP because of a knee injury, one that was still limiting his mobility last week, Martin said.
Even if Johnson and Eget are deemed ready to play, Maldonado will continue getting repetitions in practice this week.
“Dino’s done a nice job for us and shown he can come in and lead the offense,” Martin said. “If one of the other guys starts, we still have (Maldonado) available and he’ll be ready to go. That’s good to know.”