That changed on National Signing Day for New Mexico, as four of the Lobos’ 22 signees were wideouts. With the addition of the four recruits, UNM now has 10 wide receivers on scholarships.
The new targets that UNM acquired on Wednesday are: Q’ Drennan, Delane Hart-Johnson, Sa’von Rollison and Anu Somoye. Hart-Johnson will only have three years of eligibility after having played one season at L.A. Valley College. The rest of group are incoming freshman and have four years of playing time.
“I think, on offense, what stands out most to me and what I’m excited to see is that we went out and signed four wide receivers,” head coach Bob Davie said. “As you guys know, we haven’t been a particularly attractive place for receivers the first couple of years, or have we tried to be.”
Under Davie the Lobos have become known as one of the worst passing teams in the nation. However, UNM did improve slightly with throwing the ball when Lamar Jordan stepped in at quarterback this past year.
Davie said the selling point to the wide receivers was that UNM is only going to improve in the passing game.
“I think, first of all, we have five quarterbacks now that all have the same skill set, to a degree,” he said. “They can all throw the ball and will get better at throwing the ball. We’re not going to change what we do, but we’re going to be more balanced at what we do.”
One of those quarterbacks is junior college transfer Austin Apodaca, the only signal-caller the Lobos signed on Wednesday. Apodaca was originally recruited by UNM in 2013 when Davie first arrived, but turned him down and went to Washington State. Apodaca has two years of eligibility remaining after playing at WSU as a redshirt freshman and at Mesa Community College last season.
At Mesa Community College Apodaca completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 2,534 yards and 27 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
“We needed an older, mature player. From all early indications, he’s provided that,” Davie said. “Just by putting his tapes on he’s really talented. It’s a very young, talented quarterback crew; he gives us some depth there.”
Overall, UNM signed 12 players on offense and 10 on defense. The Lobos signed four offensive lineman, four wide receivers, two running backs, one tight end and one quarterback. On defense, UNM signed four linebackers, three defensive backs and three defensive linemen.
The Lobos signed just one player from the state of New Mexico, and that was defensive back Blair Manly from Cibola High School.
Of the 22 signees, nine of them are junior college transfers. Four of those players have three years of eligibility left, while the other five have just two years to play at UNM.
Running backs Daryl Chestnut and Richard McQuarley, along with offensive lineman Tevita Fonua and Apodaca, are already enrolled at UNM for the spring semester. All of them will be participants in spring ball.
Davie said the Lobos still have one scholarship to offer, and that it will most likely be given to an end-of-the-year junior college player.
UNM is one scholarship player short of the maximum number of 85 because cornerback Donnie Duncan was granted a fifth year of eligibility.
Davie also mentioned that some attrition could move up this year’s recruiting class to 25.
Gautsche at tight end
In January Davie announced that former starting quarterback Cole Gautsche will move to tight end and that he will redshirt the 2015 season.
Davie said that unless anything unforeseen happens in the future, Gautsche will redshirt this season.
“Right now is to full-on redshirt. He got robbed that first year,” Davie said. “He got thrown out there to get out of the hole. It’s good to get that redshirt year back.”