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UNM football: Lobos’ 21-player class is juco heavy

New Mexico football coach Bob Davie was pleased to have been able to redshirt more than 20 freshmen in his 2015 and 2016 signing classes. That’s how depth is developed.

Yet, at the same time, Davie was looking at a 2017 roster missing many of the players from the bedrock 2013 recruiting class.

Without the likes of Dakota Cox, Nik D’Avanzo, Donnie White, William Udeh, Teriyon Gipson, Dameon Gamblin and Isaiah Brown, the Lobos surely would not have put back-to-back winning seasons together the past two years for the first time in more than a decade. Because of depth concerns at the time, none of the above players got a redshirt year.

Experienced players gone; inexperienced players coming up. A void was created.

So, in their 2017 signing class, Davie and his staff have delved heavily in the junior-college ranks — looking for maturity to blend with youth.

The 2017 class, Davie said Wednesday in introducing 21 new Lobos, “is very talented, very specific to what we need. Some older guys to come in and supplement (the previous two classes).

“It’s another piece to the puzzle.”

Of the 21 new players, 12 are junior college transfers. One more, running back Coltin Gerhart, is a graduate transfer from Arizona State.

Of the 21, 16 already had been reported by the Journal and other outlets as having signed or committed.

Three more, linebackers Rayshawn Boyce of Los Angeles Valley College, Amonai Itaaehau of Mesa (Ariz.) Community College and Sitiveni Tamaivena of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., previously had been linked to UNM but had not confirmed their intention to sign with the Lobos.

Only Gerhart and defensive back Jalin Burrell qualify as out-of-the-blue new Lobos.

Gerhart, the younger brother of former Stanford star running back Toby Gerhart, spent three years at Arizona State — one of those as a redshirt. He is already enrolled at UNM and comes to the program as a rare graduate transfer with two seasons of eligibility.

At Vista Murrieta (Calif.) High School as a senior in 2013, Gerhart was a dual-threat quarterback who threw for 1,763 yards and rushed for 1,418 more. At ASU, Gerhart entered the program as a quarterback, then was moved to safety. He played sparingly on special teams but shows no statistics during his three-year stay.

While listing him as a running back, Davie said, “there’s multiple things we can do with him and get him involved in our offense.”

Boyce, a 6-foot-5, 248-pound athlete with remarkable speed and agility, had been listed several weeks ago as having committed to UNM. But Boyce never confirmed that, and it became clear from his Twitter feed that he had not decided.

“(San Jose State) has one beautiful campus,” he tweeted on Sunday. Davie said on Wednesday that California had taken a late run at Boyce as well.

But, on Wednesday, Boyce faxed his signed letter of intent to UNM.

Boyce played in only six games for LAVC last fall but had 7.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He spent his freshman year at Arizona Western College. As a senior at Salesian High School in Los Angeles, Boyce had 46 tackles and 10 sacks.

Safety Michael Sewell Jr., a UNM midyear signee who played with Boyce at Los Angeles Valley, told Davie that Boyce was the fastest player on a team that went 11-0 last season.

“He has an unbelievable skill set,” Davie said. “He’s gonna be raw … but he does have that skill set.”

The Lobos have four more scholarships to award.

Wednesday, they were awaiting the decisions of Kaymen Cureton, a dual-threat quarterback from Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, Calif., and Josh Fields, a running back from Americas High School in El Paso. But Fields signed with UTEP, Cureton with Nevada.

Sammy Benard     OL     6-5     285     Lindsay, Okla.     Northeast Okla A&M/Lindsay HS

Aaron Blackwell     DL     6-3     292     Peoria, Ariz.     Mesa CC/Liberty HS

Nico Bolden     DB     6-3     199     Woodbury, Minn.     Woodbury HS

Rayshawn Boyce     LB     6-5     248     Compton, Calif.     L.A. Valley College/Salesian HS

Cameron Burston     QB     6-4     210     Vallejo, Calif.     Contra Costa College/Stellar Prep

Bryson Carroll     QB     5-9     183     San Antonio, Texas     Roosevelt HS

Jermane Conyers     DL     6-3     320     Rossville, Ga.     Dodge City CC/Ridgeland HS

Jordan Flack     DL     6-4     220     Newbury Park, Calif.     Moorpark JC/Newbury Park HS

Coltin Gerhart     RB     6-0     215     Murrieta, Calif.     Arizona State/Vista Murrieta HS

Lon Hampton     LS     6-4     235     Zena, Okla.     Northeast Okla. A&M College/Grove HS

Marcus Hayes     DB     6-0     192     Rockford, Ill.     Rockford East HS

Willie Hobdy     DB     6-2     185     Garland, Texas     Coffeyville CC/North Garland HS

Amonai Itaaehau     LB     6-2     240     Mesa, Ariz.     Mesa CC/Desert Ridge HS

Langston Murray     DL     6-2     335     Logansport, La.     Logansport HS

Daniel Peabody     TE     6-2     216     Tucson, Ariz.     Ironwood Ridge HS

D’Angelo Ross     DB     5-10     185     La Puente, Calif.     Fullerton JC/South Hills HS

Michael Sewell, Jr.     DB     6-1     197     Palmdale, Calif.     L.A. Valley College/Highland HS

Sitiveni Tamaivena     LB     6-1     230     Renton, Wash.     Mt. San Antonio College/Palo Alto HS

Marcus Williams     TE     6-2     215     Rio Rancho, N.M.     Cleveland HS

Dylan Weaver     OL     6-6     300     Farmington, N.M.     Piedra Vista HS

Jalin Burrell         DB    6-1        195      Riverside, Calif.          Moorpark JC/Patriot HS

UNM’s Signing Day press release