Feb. 6, 2013
New Mexico Lobos Football - 2013 Signing Day
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
They come to play. And Lobo Coach Bob Davie might have no choice but to give a whole lot of his incoming Lobos a whole lot of playing time.
"We're going to be a young football team. There's no way around that," said Davie.
Davie has holes to fill. He lost 23 seniors from the 2012 team that also played a whole lot of young Lobos. He returns only four starters on defense. He needs some depth on the O-line. He needs competition at the quarterback slot.
And, sure, playing time is a selling point to any athlete. It's often a wise thing to redshirt a season and grow bigger, stronger, wiser. However, that's a tough sell for a high school kid, who might have been the big man on campus.
What has become easier to sell is a special state with a New Mexico Lobos football team that is heading in the right direction.
""I think the word is out," said Davie at Wednesday press conference to discuss his 2013 recruiting class. "I felt this way last year, but it (recruiting success) definitely confirmed it this year. New Mexico and Albuquerque are a hidden gem. I apologize for getting the word out."
Actually, that word is out there for people in the know. New Mexico and the University have some unique features.
The exciting thing for Lobo fans - and football players -- is that Davie and UNM have a product to sell on the football field. Yeah, there are a lot of spots open for Davie's incoming troops. But athletes don't just want to play. They want to compete.
That's a corner that Davie and his staff were able to turn in their first season. Sure, the numbers on the scoreboard favored the other team more than they did the Lobos, but there was a huge movement to UNM's side of the board.
The Lobos improved by 25.3 points per game from 2011 (41.7-to-12) to 2012 (30.2-go-25.8). The Lobos fielded a team that was top tier in the nation in rushing, time of possession - and just smart, disciplined football.
"We have some credibility," said Davie. "The culture and the chemistry of this program have been significantly changed."
Of course, there is something else involved when you sit down with a high school kid and his parents and talk about the environment that athlete/kid has to be a part of for the next four or five years. The Lobos under Davie took a huge step up in competition, but also made a charge in character, discipline and honest effort.
UNM is a good place to become a better football player. It also is a good place to become a better man. That's part of the sell.
"I think the thing I'm most proud of is how we made the transition, probably polar opposites, in the style of program that it was, to the program that it has become."
What that statement takes in is doing things right on the field and off the field.
"We have some credibility," said Davie. "I think when you go in these homes and these high schools there's credibility to what we're doing here. "
Davie also said a big step in recruiting is to become entrenched in certain geographical areas. That means building relationships and having something to sell.
"We've established some go-to areas," said Davie. "
The Davie class of 2013 brings in players from 12 states - 11 future Lobos from Texas and four from California. The other 10 players come from 10 states.
I'm confident enough to say that this is a stronger class top-to-bottom only because we had so much time to evaluate, so much more time to rank (players) and have fallback plans," said Davie. "I feel good about the class. I think we've taken another step.
"We know exactly what we have in this program now and exactly what we need to go from four wins to more wins and we can fit in exact pieces more. I think through organization of the recruiting plan we had, we ended up coming away satisfied.
" We came away with 25 players, all quality players, all pretty balanced as far as position, I think it was pretty good, I really do."
LOBOS' RECRUITING CLASS OF 2013 HEAVY ON THE DEFENSIVE END
The University of New Mexico signed 24 players as part of its 2013 Signing Day Class, released Wednesday. The class includes 15 defensive players, seven offensive players and two players labeled as "athletes" and could end up on either side of the ball.
The Lobos addressed their biggest needs at quarterback, the defensive line and the defensive secondary. They signed a player at each position out of the junior college ranks.
Schools are allowed to sign 25 players, but UNM used one scholarship on Trajuan Briggs, a transfer from the University of California who arrived on campus last summer and played on the scout team in 2012.
Coach Bob Davie announced that Briggs, who came to UNM as a running back, will switch to linebacker in 2013. Davie also said that Saqwan Edwards, a wide receiver for the Lobos in 2012, will move to cornerback during the upcoming season.
Eleven of the 24 incoming players hail from the state of Texas, giving the Lobos 23 Texas kids in Davie's two recruiting classes -- 12 Texas players were part of Davie's first recruiting class last year.
Rio Rancho's Romell Jordan, who will be used as a slot receiver/running back is an in-state recruit. Davie said UNM recently held a meeting for New Mexico high school players, hoping to get more local products to walk on.
The 2013 season is 205 days away with Texas-San Antonio visiting the Lobos on Branch Field at University Stadium on Aug. 31.