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Running back Aaron Dumas, who led the University of New Mexico in rushing as a true freshman in 2021, has entered the transfer portal, he announced on Twitter on Thursday, adding to an eventful week for the Lobos.
UNM officially announced on Thursday former Cleveland High coach Heath Ridenour as the Lobos’ quarterbacks coach, as reported by the Journal late Tuesday. In addition, UNM special teams coach Jamie Christian will add running backs to his duties, as Lobo head coach Danny Gonzales quickly filled the vacant spots left by quarterbacks coach Drew Mehringer and running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Jordan Somerville leaving to work at Oregon, where Mehringer will be a tight ends coach and Somerville a QBs analyst for the Ducks.
Dumas, a former El Paso Americas High standout, rushed for 658 yards and two touchdowns on 136 carries (4.8 yards per carry) in 11 games, starting in five. He sat out the season finale, as Gonzales wanted to rest both him and wide receiver Luke Wysong after the duo were greatly depended on for production throughout the season.
“I would like to thank the coaching staff and fans at the University of New Mexico for the opportunity presented to me,” Dumas said on Twitter. “My name is officially in the transfer portal. Exploring all possibilities for me and families future.”
I would like to thank the coaching staff and fans at the University of New Mexico for the opportunity presented to me. My name is officially in the transfer portal. Exploring all possibilities for me and families future. pic.twitter.com/fliRuDfErH
— Aaron Dumas (@AaronDumas22) January 6, 2022
The Lobos have added two running backs in the 2022 recruiting class, including Rio Rancho High senior Zach Vigil, the Gatorade New Mexico Player of the Year, and Helix High standout Christian Washington from San Diego. Christian Ellis, who was productive as a running back at Edward White High in Jacksonville, Florida, was listed as an athlete when the Lobos announced their recruiting class and could also play running back.
Nate Jones, who was second on the team in rushing in 2020 and sat out the 2021 season, is expected back for UNM. Jones, who prepped at St. John Bosco in Bellflower, California, missed UNM spring football because he did not meet expectations, Gonzales said. Jones entered the transfer portal, but then returned to UNM, and Gonzales chose to redshirt him.
Gonzales said late in the 2021 season that he was proud of Jones and that he earned the opportunity to once again play for the Lobos.
Running back Bobby Cole, who led UNM in rushing in 2020 and was second on the team in 2021, is also expected to return to UNM with one more season of eligibility.
The Lobos also have Peyton Dixon, Bobby Wooden and Chad Alexander listed as running backs. Dixon rushed for 95 yards in the Lobos’ season finale, a 35-10 loss to Utah State.
Ridenour, who led the Storm to three state titles and compiled a 96-18 record in his 10 seasons, resigned from the state’s most powerhouse program to join the staff at UNM. The former quarterback at Lovington High and Eastern New Mexico is scheduled to meet with the media Friday.
He tweeted a message of gratitude to Cleveland High football on Thursday.
“I am fired up to be part of the Lobo Football program,” Ridenour said in a press release. “I am very grateful to Coach Gonzales for the opportunity and cannot wait to work with this outstanding staff and hard working group of student-athletes! Let’s get it! Go Lobos!”
Gonzales said on Tuesday that he wanted to focus on continuity when hiring the quarterbacks coach. Ridenour will be the Lobos’ third QBs coach in as many years under Gonzales, who enters his third year with a 5-14 record with his alma mater New Mexico.
“Bring in a coach with the background in success that Heath Ridenour has will be tremendous for our program,” Gonzales said in a press release.
“Heath was a tremendous student-athlete, and his success as a coach is without question. He is a terrific teacher and motivator, and as a native of New Mexico, he has a passion for Lobo Football. He is a perfect fit for our program.”