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UNM football: WR Bundy may get NFL shot

When Marquis Bundy’s name appeared in the New Mexico Lobos’ starting lineup, as it often did the past four years, he always was listed as “WR” for wide receiver.

A more fitting acronym might have been “DB” – not for defensive back, but for downfield blocker.

In his four seasons at UNM, Bundy caught just 31 passes. After having 19 receptions for 261 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore, he became virtually a forgotten man in the passing game: five catches for 24 yards in 2014, seven for 110 last season as a senior.

According to play-by-play summaries of the Lobos’ 13 games last fall, Bundy was targeted just 16 times.

It’s possible, though, that Bundy’s days as a pass-catching WR are just beginning. After a strong showing at UNM’s “Pro Day” in March, the 6-foot-4, 212-pound wide receiver is getting some feelers from the NFL.

Bundy isn’t likely to be selected during the NFL Draft, which begins today and concludes Saturday. But there’s a chance his phone could ring with an offer to sign as a free agent.

As he continues to work toward a liberal arts degree, he’s working out daily with friend and former teammate Ryan Langford – another potential NFL free agent as a linebacker.

“It’s kind of difficult, maybe, showing (scouts) that I can catch the ball (having had so few opportunities),” Bundy said Wednesday in a phone interview. “… But it is what it is, and I have to just keep my positivity and be prepared.”

Bundy came to UNM from Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Ariz., with full knowledge that he’d be playing in a run-oriented, triple-option offense. Lobo wide receivers are expected to block downfield, and Bundy often earned praise for his efforts in that phase of the game.

Still, he had reason to believe he’d catch more than 31 passes during his career.

Last fall, highlights were few: a 20-yard catch that was part of a scoring drive at Wyoming; a 46-yarder at Boise State.

After a one-catch, 13-yard game in the New Mexico Bowl against Arizona, his college career was over.

Then came Pro Day, and a 4.43-second timing in the 40-yard dash – a startling performance for a wide receiver of his size. Only three wide receivers at the NFL Combine had run faster. The Arizona Cardinals, his hometown team, took notice and invited him to a workout.

“I love the Cardinals,” he said. “… It was cool to go back and catch passes with some of the people I went to high school with.”

Bundy also got a text from a Carolina Panthers scout.

“He just wanted to make sure he had my (correct) number for draft day,” he said. “That was kind of fun.”

If he gets to an NFL rookie mini-camp, he said, the rest is up to him.

“I know I’m gonna have to show them that I can catch the ball,” he said, “and that I can do other things than just block.”

WIGGINS: Former Lobos wide receiver/kick returner Carlos Wiggins told KRQE-TV he has been contacted by half a dozen NFL teams, including the Houston Texans. Wiggins, 5-8 and 163 pounds, had a school-record five touchdown kick returns during his career at UNM.

NATALI: Former UNM offensive lineman Vince Natali is the Lobos’ new recruiting coordinator, according to multiple online sources. Natali, the offensive line coach at Indiana State the past three years, posted what appeared to be a farewell to Indiana State on his Twitter feed Wednesday night.
“Thanks for the memories,” he tweeted.
Natali played at UNM from 2004-07.
The story was first reported by footballscoop.com.
Natali would replace Josh Sternquist, who left to take a similar position at Illinois.

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