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Coach Danny Gonzales and the University of New Mexico Lobos are playing the transfer portal game.
Lobo football announced the addition of six players on Wednesday, including four transfers from Division I programs: quarterback Miles Kendrick (Kansas), safety Jordan Nichols (North Texas), wide receiver Geordon Potter (Arizona State) and defensive back Hunter Sellers (Pittsburgh).
“I think we spend less time than most people with recruiting in the transfer portal,” Gonzales said. “I’m not a big fan of it, but I think it’s going to become the norm of college football. There’s going to be less adversity for kids to fight through because if they feel they’re not getting the opportunities they want, they’re just going to leave. Some of that is good, some of that is bad. … It’s the world we live in and so you either join them or get left behind.”
Albuquerque High senior defensive end Landon Williams is the lone incoming freshman among the six.
Running back Sherod White, who rushed for 1,000 yards (7.3 yards per carry) for Mt. San Jacinto Community College in Riverside County, California, last season, will add talent to a deep position group for the Lobos, Gonzales said.
White, along with Nichols, Potter and Sellers have relationships and connections with UNM’s coaching staff.
Two years ago, White had been recruited by UNM out of Heritage High in Menifee, California, but was a non-qualifier, Gonzales said. Gonzales is close friends with Gene Ramsey, the recruiting coordinator at Mt. San Jacinto.
Nichols had been recruited by UNM cornerbacks coach Troy Reffett when he worked at North Texas. Gonzales had recruited Potter when Gonzales was the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Arizona State. A few media outlets had reported last month that Potter was headed to Buffalo.
Sellers is the younger brother of Trent Sellers, a former defensive end at UNM.
Nichols spent two seasons at North Texas, redshirting in 2020, and saw action in two games with three tackles.
Potter, a senior, had 14 career catches for 250 yards and one touchdown at ASU, where he played three seasons and redshirted a fourth.
Sellers spent two seasons at Pittsburgh, where he redshirted in 2020 and saw no action in 2021.
Williams, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, recorded 37 solo tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and 13 tackles for loss in his final season for the Bulldogs. He joins a Lobo defense that has made big-time improvement since Gonzales arrived two years ago with his mentor Rocky Long as his defensive coordinator.
UNM finished No. 44 in total defense in the nation last season when the Lobos were 3-9. The Lobos were 129th in total defense after the 2019 season and 101st after Gonzales’ first season in 2020.
“In my true opinion, we played very average defense and we moved all the way up to 44th in the country,” Gonzales said. “We’re going in the right direction there. But obviously we need to make the same strides on the offensive side of the ball.”
Kendrick, a senior who threw for 853 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions in 17 games at Kansas, will attempt to help improve an offense that finished 130th and last in 2021.
Kendrick will be limited to non-contact activity when spring football begins on Tuesday as he continues to recover from a leg injury sustained last season with the Jayhawks, Gonzales said.
Kendrick is among 13 incoming recruits who will be with the Lobos for the spring.
UNM has added 31 players, including six offensive linemen, from the two signing periods, and have two scholarships available, Gonzales said.
Gonzales has not designated anyone on his staff to be the Lobos’ recruiting coordinator, a position left vacant when Jordan Somerville left UNM to become an offensive assistant at Oregon. Somerville was also the Lobos’ running backs coach.
Brandon Blackmon, UNM’s wide receivers coach, “did a phenomenal job” with recruiting, organizing visits and other duties over the last month, Gonzales said.