LAS CRUCES — Doug Martin said what coaches will say during a signing day press conference. His class announced Wednesday at least addressed some of the needs of a New Mexico State football team that finished 3-9 a year ago.
Then he said bluntly, “We are excited to have the four best high school players in New Mexico sign with us, including the player of the year in the state.”
Bringing on Rio Rancho running back Josh Foley, Los Lunas linebacker Trevor Brohard, Mayfield receiver Gaven Swinson and Oñate linebacker Matthew Young gave NMSU a little more to crow about on the heels of its win last season over the in-state rival Lobos.
Martin said that even with a 25-player class, “we have a couple of options left … to find some guys late that maybe fall through the cracks or are late qualifying.” The Las Cruces Sun-News has reported, and Foley’s family has confirmed, that Foley is at least a candidate to be a “grayshirt,” which would delay admission until winter semester of 2018 and count toward next year’s signing group.
NMSU has three such players that it announced Wednesday.
In any case, Martin had compliments for Foley, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound state Gatorade player of the year, comparing him favorably to current Aggie running back Larry Rose III.
“One of the things that was attractive about Josh was his diverse-ability,” said Martin, perhaps inventing a word. In the Aggies’ offense, the running back has to be a receiver sometimes, and an I-back at others.
“He has some ability to make people miss in space. That’s really big for us. That’s what Larry’s so good at.”
Young, at 6-2 and 230 pounds, is the son of former Aggie great Fredd Young and brother of former New Mexico player Freddy. Martin’s point of reference on the father’s achievement is mostly word of mouth.
“The big thing with (Fredd) was the speed, the first step that he had,” Martin said. “Matt has some of that too. Matt’s only going to get bigger too.”
NMSU added nine prep signees and 13 junior-college transfers in addition to the three grayshirts. Of those, 10 players are already enrolled.
The big focus is improving the defense, Martin said.
“If we can just make some improvement defensively where we’re in the middle of the pack defensively in the Sun Belt, we really feel like we can beat anybody any Saturday,” he said. “We know we have weapons on offense.”
BELOW ARE THE NMSU PLAYER PROFILES ON EACH AGGIE SIGNEE:
6-2 | 210 | Freshman | Quarterback
Spring Branch, Texas | Smithson Valley HS
High School: Three-year varsity starter… threw for a program leading 6,831 career yards… totaled 66 passing touchdowns in three seasons… rushed for 1,177 career yards… had 34 rushing touchdowns over three season… threw for a single-season record 2,985 yards and 28 touchdowns his junior year… ranks first in passing yards in program history… earned 2017 San Antonio Sports All Star Football Game MVP honors… was named 2016 San Antonio Express-News Areas Offensive Player of the Year… received 2016 Texas District 27-6A Offensive Player of the Year… got named 2nd Team All-Area, 2nd Team All-Area and Academic All-District in 2015… named 2014 All-District First-Team Offense and Academic All-District.
6-3 | 210 | Freshman | Linebacker
Los Lunas, NM | Los Lunas HS
High School: Played three years on varsity… recorded 36 receptions for 799 yards and six touchdowns over three seasons… put up 45 rushing yards and one touchdown his senior year… recorded 188 tackles including seven for loss in 2016… posted 122 tackles his junior season and a career-best nine for loss… had 376 total tackles throughout his career… recorded four sacks with 20 yards for loss… had three interceptions over his junior and senior season… named to the All-District, All-Metro and All-State teams in 2016… chosen by USA Today as the All-USA New Mexico Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team Defense.
6-2 | 250 | Freshman | Defensive Lineman
Weatherford, Texas | Weatherford HS
High School: Played three years of varsity football at Weatherford… made 27 tackles and had two fumble recoveries over eight games his senior year… recorded three sacks and four tackles for loss as well… made 14 catches for 124 yards in 2016… named to the 3-6A All-District Second-Team Offense and Second-Team Defense… a three-time district player of the week… also three-year varsity basketball player.
5-11 | 200 | Freshman | Running Back
Rio Rancho, N.M. | Rio Rancho HS
High School: Played three years of varsity football at Rio Rancho… named the 2016-17 New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year and totaled 2,086 rushing yards with 41 touchdowns his senior season… added 22 receptions for 352 yards and five touchdowns in 2016… won the 2016 6A High School Football State Championship… logged 1081 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns with 437 receiving yards and four touchdowns over nine games as a junior… finished his career with 20 tackles including three sacks for a loss of 25 yards… took an interception back 101 yards for a touchdown as a senior… was a four-year track and field varsity athlete… won back-to-back (2015-16) 6A State Championships in the 100-meter hurdle.
6-2 | 210 | Freshman | Quarterback
Plano, Texas |Parish Episcopal HS
High School: As a senior he led Parish Episcopal to score 40-plus points in eight of the team’s first nine games… named the 2016 TAPPS District 1-5A MVP… was First-Team All-District QB and TAPPS Second-Team All-State QB in 2016… earned Built Ford Tough Player of the Week honors as a senior… in 2015, Hodge completed 165-of-274 of his passes for 2,305 yards and 30 touchdowns…. rushed for 522 yards and seven scores… led the team to a 10-2 record his junior season… named Newcomer of the Year in 2015… also played varsity basketball.
6-1 | 230 | Freshman | Linebacker
Refugio, Texas | Refugio HS
High School: Played four years of varsity football… won the 2016 Texas High School 2A State Championship… compiled a 55-7 career record including 21-1 in district play… put up 1,777 rushing yards his senior season… made seven completions for 245 yards… had 10 receptions for 105 yards in 2016… won the inaugural Under Armour Quarterback Ranch Award for Texas Class 4A… played three season of varsity basketball.
6-3 | 200 | Freshman | Wide Receiver
Las Cruces, NM | Mayfield HS
High School: Two year varsity starter… recorded 1,200 yards receiving for 11 touchdowns his junior season… was named first team all-district and first team all-state in 2015… had a season-long 56-yard touchdown reception against Rio Rancho his senior season… named to the 2016 New Mexico 6A All-State Second-Team Offense… was named to the 2016 All-USA New Mexico Second-Team Offense… competed in varsity basketball and track… was a 2015 district champion in 100 meter, 200 meter, 4×100 meter and 4×200 meter.
6-6 | 245 | Freshman | Tight End
San Antonio, Texas | Roosevelt HS
High School: Was named second team all-district in 2016… recorded six receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns his senior year… had a season-long 28-yard touchdown reception against the Judson Rockets in 2016… totaled 70 tackles including 7.5 sacks as a senior… made eight pass break-ups… posted 51 pancake blocks.
6-2 | 230 | Freshman | Linebacker
Las Cruces, NM | Onate HS
High School: Played three years on varsity playing in a total of 34 games… recorded 85 solo tackles and 111 assisted tackles for a total of 196 tackles… recorded nine total sacks resulting in 36 yards for a loss… had one interception for seven yards his junior season… recovered one fumble his senior season… named to the 2016 USA Today All-USA New Mexico First-Team Defense.
6-0 | 170 | Sophomore | Kicker
Chandler, Ariz. | Phoenix College
2016 (Phoenix College): Started in all 11 games… finished the season 10-12 on field goals… was 30-33 on extra points… recorded 60 total points for the Bears… booted a season-long 50-yard field goal against Mesa Community College… hit five field goals of 35-plus yards.
High School: Started for two years on varsity… was 18-29 on field goals during his career… nailed a 48-yard field goal his senior season… hit a career-long 50 yard field goal in 2014… went 103-109 on extra points over two seasons… recorded a total of 157 points through his junior and senior year… had an average kickoff of 57.3 yards in his career… recorded a career-long 65-yard kickoff his junior season… named to the All-Arizona Division-I Second-Team Offense.
6-4 | 265 | Junior | Offensive Line
Tulsa, Okla. | Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College
Before NM State (NEO): Earned All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference Honorable Mention as a sophomore…blocking allowed running corps. to rush for 205.4 yards per game and 22 rumbles into the end zone…helped Norsemen rack up 5,294 yards of total offense his second year…his blocking on the offensive line helped NEO rush for 19 touchdowns.
High School: Played two years of varsity football… led Union HS to consecutive 7-0 records in district play in 2013 and 2014… had an overall career record of 22-5… made back-to-back appearances in the Oklahoma Class 6A-I State Championship game… anchored a line that helped produce 2717 passing yards with 26 touchdowns his senior season… provided a run block that allowed the rushing attack to gain 3050 yards and 45 touchdowns in 2014… his line allowed the team to gain 3093 passing yards with 26 touchdowns in 2013… as a junior he was a part of a line that allowed for 2817 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns.
6-0 | 225 | Junior | Linebacker
Anchorage, Alaska | Los Angeles Harbor
2016 (Los Angeles Harbor): Started in nine games… finished second on the team with 79 tackles… led the team with 4.5 sacks… was the team-leader in tackles for loss with 12… grabbed one interception… recorded first 10 tackle game of the season against Bakersfield… posted a team leading 14 tackles and four sacks against Santa Monica… put up a career-high 17 tackles versus El Camino.
2015 (Los Angeles Harbor): Started in all 10 games… finished the season with 65 tackles… had one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries… caused three tackles for loss… had one interception… posted first 10 tackle game against Long Beach… led the team with 11 tackles versus El Camino… recorded a season-high 12 tackles against Mt. San Antonio.
2014 (Idaho): Redshirted
High School: Fa’amasino carried the ball for 1,148 yards and 9 TDs during his senior season…was the only player to rush for over 1,000 yards and got named All-Conference RB in 2013… made 49 tackles during his senior season… had two fumble recoveries over eight games… led the Eagles to win the 2013 Alaska State Championship.
6-3 | 315 | Junior | Offensive Line
Tulsa, Okla. | Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College
Before NM State (NEO): Earned All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference Honorable Mentions as a sophomore… blocking efforts allowed Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College rushing corp. to tally 2,054 yards on the ground – 1,600 of which came in conference play… guided running back Darwin Thompson to second-team honors with his blocking on the offensive line… also gave the Golden Horsemen’s quarterback enough time to pass for 3,240 yards on the year.
High School: Three-year letter winner at Oklahoma state powerhouse Union High School… led UHS to two-straight district championships and back-to-back appearances in the Oklahoma High School Football State Championship game as a junior and senior… the Redskins went 32-8 overall during his time on varsity and 20-1 in league play.
6-1 | 195 | Sophomore | Defensive Back
Providence, R.I. | North Dakota State College of Science
2016 (NDSCS): Led the Wildcats to the State Championship… posted 42 total tackles including three for loss… made one interception and nine pass break-ups
2015 (Milford Academy): Recorded 14 tackles and one interception.
High School: Started three years on varsity… had 18 carries for 131 yards and one touchdown in 2015… recorded 28 total tackles including one for loss as a senior… chosen to compete in the 2015 Border Bowl as a member of the Tennessee all-star team… competed for two years on varsity track and field.
6-1 | 205 | Junior | Defensive Back
Bayou La Batre, Ala. | College of the Sequoias
Before NM State (COS): Earned 2016 all-state honors and All-Valley League defensive team honors as a sophomore after totaling 66 tackles (52 solo), five interceptions, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery… his 7.3 tackles per game in 2016 were good for fifth in the conference… his five picks tied for eighth-most in the California Community College Athletic Association.
High School: Played at Alma Bryant High School for Bruce Breland with current Aggie, Connor Cramer… was a 2014 all-state defensive back as a senior and earned back-to-back all-region honors his junior and senior campaign.
6-2 | 315 | Junior | Offensive Lineman
Manteca, Calif. | Santa Barbara CC
2016 (Santa Barbara CC): Led the offense to average 39.9 points… anchored a pass block that allowed the Vaqueros to throw for 2164 yards and 22 touchdowns… blocked for a rushing attack that totaled 2307 yards and 33 touchdowns… named to the First-Team All-Conference and First-Team California Region IV All-State
2015 (Santa Barbara CC): During his first season he led the Vaqueros offense to 30.0 points per game… led a pass block that allowed Santa Barbara to throw for 2420 yards and 19 touchdowns… part of a run block that allowed the team to gain 1459 yards to go along with 20 touchdowns… earned First-Team All-Conference and First-Team California Region IV All-State honors
High School: Started for three years on varsity… helped the team to a 9-3 record his senior season… named to the First-Team All-Conference in 2013 and 2014… led the rushing attack to 3331 yards and 49 touchdowns in 2014… anchored the line on a team that threw for 1264 yards and 16 touchdowns… recorded 65 total tackles and 12 for loss during his career… had one fumble recovery.
6-3 | 215 | Junior | Linebacker
Augusta, Ga. | Eastern Arizona College
2016 (Eastern Arizona): Made a team leading 95 total tackles… had 2.5 sacks… recovered one fumble… helped lead the team to a 9-3 record… recorded 10+ tackles in five of the team’s final six games… recorded 12 tackles in a win over Pima CC… led the team with 15 tackles against Scottsdale CC… posted 12 tackles versus Snow College… recorded a season-high 16 tackles and two sacks against Phoenix College… put up 10 tackles in a win over Butler CC to close out the season.
2015 (Fort Valley State): Was second on the team with 55 total tackles… led the team with 5.0 sacks… made three pass break-ups… recorded a season-high 11 tackles in a 50-38 win over Lane College.
5-11 | 200 | Junior | Defensive Back
Elgin, Texas | Reedley College
2016 (Reedley College): Started in 10 games… finished the season with 38 tackles including one sack for a nine yard loss… made four interceptions returned for 33 yards… totaled 492 kick return yards for an average of 24.6 per return with a long of 66.
2015 (Reedley College): Played in all 10 games his freshman season… made 16 tackles and had one fumble recovery… had three interceptions returned for a total of 15 yards… made seven kick returns for a total of 165 yards with a long of 35.
High School: Two-year varsity starter… finished career with 94 tackles over 26 games… recorded 9 interceptions and made five fumble recoveries over his junior and senior seasons… over two seasons Nash made 30 receptions for 654 yards and eight touchdowns… completed a 12-yard touchdown pass as a senior… made six kickoff returns for 129 yards with a long of 83 as a senior.
5-9 | 240 | Junior | Long Snapper
Queensland, Australia | North Dakota State College of Science
2016 (NDSCS): Part of a team that finished 9-2 and went to the state championship.
High School: Captain of the National Champion All-State Rugby Team… named best forward in Rugby league two-times… two-time best back in rugby… two-time rugby scoring leader… named five-time MVP and was a five-time champion in rugby league… ranked No. 1 transfer long snapper in the nation according to Kohl’s Professional Camps after the latest senior challenge event.
6-2 | 205 | Sophomore | Defensive Back
Vallejo, Calif. | Santa Barbara CC (Salesian Prep)
2016 (Santa Barbara CC): Played in 10 games for the Vaqueros… posted 32 total tackles for the season… led the conference with four interceptions… had an 89-yard pick-six against Antelope Valley… recorded two blocked kicks against LA Southwest and Desert.
6-2 | 315 | Junior | Offensive Lineman
Manteca, Calif. | Santa Barbara CC
2016 (Santa Barbara CC): Named to the 2016 All-APL second-team offense… led Santa Barbara City College to the 2016 APL championship… team threw for 2,164 yards and 22 touchdowns behind Sharmoug… anchored a run block that allowed the team to rush for 2,307 yards and 33 touchdowns.
2015 (Santa Barbara CC): Earned the offensive coaches award after the 2015-16 season… pass blocking allowed the Vaqueros to total 2,420 passing yards with 19 passing touchdowns… led a line that allowed the rushing attack to put up 1,459 yards and 20 touchdowns.
High School: Three-year varsity starter… named to 1st Team All-Conference in 2011 and 2012… named 1st Team All-Area in 2011… earned 1st Team All-Area and 2nd Team All-Region in 2012… led the team to a win in the 2014 California State Championship.
6-3 | 310 | Junior | Offensive Lineman
Canutillo, Texas | New Mexico Military Institute
2016 (NMMI): Started as a sophomore… led a pass blocking unit that allowed the team to throw for 3,264 yards and 33 touchdowns… allowed the rushing attack to put up 1,318 yards with 16 touchdowns in nine games.
2015 (NMMI): Anchored a line that allowed current Aggie quarterback Conner Cramer to throw for 2,682 yards and 26 touchdowns… led the way for a rushing attack that totaled 1,777 yards and 20 touchdowns over 11 games.
High School: Two-year varsity starter… earned 1st Team All-Conference and 1st Team All-County as a senior… named First-Team All- Conference and First-Team All-County his junior year… led team to conference championship in 2013… team earned sectional championship title during 2013 season… starter on first team in school history to reach the regional championship in 2013.
Tevis Abraham (Gray Shirt)
6-1 | 200 | Freshman | Wide Receiver
Baton Rouge, La. | Southern Lab High School
High School: Led Southern Lab High School to the Louisiana Division IV State Championship his senior year… named second-team all-state for division IV and first-team all-district after guiding SLHS to the state championship… earned first-team all-state accolades after leading the Kittens to the state championship before falling in the finals as a junior… was a three-time state team champion in track and field… was a third-place finisher in the 400m as a senior and runner-up his junior season.
Cameron Matthews (Gray Shirt)
6-3 | 210 | Freshman | Quarterback
Crowley, Texas | Trinity Valley School
High School: Played at Trinity Valley School in Crowley, Texas under Aaron Mattox… named 2014 and 2015 All-Southwest Preparatory Conference Player of the Year… threw for 5,207 passing yards over career… racked up 33 passing touchdowns with the Trojans… completed 455-of-791 passes in three years for a 57.5-completion percentage… tallied three-straight years of 1,000-yards passing and a pair of 10-touchdown seasons… recorded 231 punting yards on eight punts through at TVS.
Bryce Roberts (Gray Shirt)
6-4 | 240 | Freshman | Tight End
Yukon, Okla. | Mustang High School
High School: Played at Mustang HS in Mustang, Okla., under Jeremy Dombek… ranked as the No. 41 overall prospect in the state by 247sports.com in 2015… was an all-district honoree as a tight end for MHS… selected as Honorable Mention Big All-City… started at power forward on basketball state champions team in 2014-15… played against fellow NM State signee, Davis Harker, in high school.