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Tight end Everett Hunter (#83) congratulates running back Jacory Croskey-Merritt (#5) after scoring a touchdown on Nov. 4, 2023, against UNLV as they walk out of the end zone with DJ Wingfield (#73).

Opinion: Lobo football transfers to watch

After what felt like a mass exodus via the transfer portal for Lobo football at the end of the 2023 season, the official mid-year transfer class was announced on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Hailing from the Power 5, Football Championship Subdivision and Junior University College, 19 players have been added to the Lobos roster.

With the spring semester in full swing, the new coaching staff has wasted no time whipping the team into shape on the field and in the training room. In no particular order, here are five new rostered athletes to watch in spring ball and the 2024 season later this year.

Javen Jacobs — RB

The 5-foot-10 sophomore spent his freshman season at Arizona State primarily on special teams as a punt and kick returner and will be transitioning to a running back this upcoming season. His freshman year, appearing in 11 games, Jacobs recorded 105 yards on kick returns and a team leading average 26.3 yards per return.

Jacobs and current Lobo quarterback Devon Dampier are not strangers to one another and will be reunited on the playing field this season. The two players are both from Chandler, AZ and led Saguaro High School to an open division state championship in 2021.

Elvin Harris — OL

Harris is a 6-foot-five offensive lineman from Miami, FL who played his freshman season at Campbell University. Out of high school, he was rated as a three-star prep recruit and had offers from the University of Central Florida, Akron, Alabama State and Bethune-Cookman. Harris only appeared in one game for the 2023 season but was coached by current University of New Mexico offensive Line Coach, Famika Anae, at Campbell.

Having already worked with Anae, Harris is a major addition to the Lobos’ offensive scheme after losing seven OL’s to the transfer portal. With four years of eligibility remaining, Harris has the opportunity to invest his skills into the Lobo program and grow with it.

Antoineo Harris Jr. — Edge

Originally from Chicago, IL, Harris Jr. is a 6-foot-4 edge rusher who began his college career at Iowa Central Community College then transferred to Indiana State in 2022.

This past season he had nine solo tackles and eight assists for a total of 17. He put up 5.5 tackles for losses, totaling 46 yards in losses along with 3.5 sacks. In his 2022 season with the Sycamores, he played two games and recorded pass breakups against North Alabama and Western Illinois.

As a senior and having transferred programs before, Harris Jr. has the experience needed to transition smoothly into the program and possibly assist other athletes in adapting to a new coaching and play style.

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De’jon Benton — DT 

Benton is a 6-foot-1 senior from Pittsburg, CA who was rated as a three-star prospect out of high school. He spent the last five seasons at USC. In those five years, Benton recorded 17 solo tackles – nine of them from this previous season and three recorded in the Trojan’s season opener against Mountain West opponent, the University of Nevada.

UNM ranked 99th in total defense this past season, according to the NCAA, so Benton’s experience in the late Pac-12 could be a contributing factor to rounding out the Lobos defense for the 2024 season.

Eli Sanders — RB

From Oceanside, CA, Sanders is a 6-foot junior and was rated as a three-star recruit out of high school in Arizona. Sanders spent his first three college football seasons at Iowa State and played in 21 games. He was the Cyclones' second-leading rusher, running for 477 yards last year and four touchdowns.

With three seasons spent at a Big 12 school playing against teams that demand a high level of athleticism and determination, Sanders shouldn’t struggle to adapt to the Mountain West and will bring some of that Power 5 energy with him.

These five players are just a few out of the many that have been added to the Lobos roster. Each possesses a set of skills and experience that will contribute to the rebuild of the program this upcoming season.

With official signing day less than a month away, hopefully the Lobos’ roster will continue to grow and new players will be added to the defense and offense under new Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall.

Francesca Cicconetti is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @fran_cicconetti.

Francesca Cicconetti

 Francesca Cicconetti is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached on Twitter @fran_cicconetti


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