Stevens: Lobo Recruits Add Size Up Front & Speed In The Secondary
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/03/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 3, 2011

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Where`s the beef? Coach Mike Locksley has some: Jamal Price, 338 pounds; Rod Davis, 300; Anthony Kennedy, 274; Dillon Romine 268; Austin Weatherford, 295; Korian Chambers, 322; Fatu Ulale, 275.

Where`s the speed? Locksley has lots: Daniel Adams, Destry Berry, Zach Dancel, Donnie Duncan, Crusoe Gongbay, Jamal Merritt, Zoey Williams.

Where's the length: Locks has that, too: Zach Boerboom, 6-foot-4; Dustin Walton, 6-3; Chambers, 6-6; Kennedy, 6-5; Romine, 6-7. Where are the hitters? Check out these future Lobos on film: Harvellio Buie, Desmond Hollin, Deshon Marman, Tevin Newman, Devonta Tabannah.

The emphasis in Locksley's talent search is obvious enough. Get some big Lobos to throw up front in the trenches. Get some speed-burning athletes to throw here and there, but especially in the defensive backfield.

"It starts with meeting your needs," Locksley said of the talented bodies coming to New Mexico to be Lobos.

Maybe the best way to put the talent of Locks' 2011 recruiting class into perspective is to compare it to New Mexico's recruiting class of 2010, which was an outstanding mix of athleticism, muscle and young talent. Locksley says the 2011 crop could be better.

"This class is by far is the most athletic class from top to bottom that we've signed," said the third-year Lobo coach. "We're excited about it. Everyone that we have signed will have the ability to come in and make an impact on our program."

For sure, a Lobo program that has been handcuffed by NCAA recruiting sanctions brought on by the previous coaching staff needs young players with the ability to impact a rebuilding program. There are impact holes to fill. There is depth to be built.

Locksley has 21 fresh bodies to work with in the fall of 2011. But, really, the number of fresh troops looking at their first year of D-I ball under Locksley and his staff is closer to 34.

Don't forget the impressive handful of additional talent that sat out the 2010 campaign, including Javarie Johnson (LB), Lamaar Thomas (WR), Deon Long (WR), Martize Barr (WR), Zach Daugherty (LB), Earl Johnson (OL), Toby Ball (LB), Matthew Johnson (OL), Chase Clayton (DB) Omar Castillo (DL), Earl Johnson (OL), LaMar Bratton (OL) and Detchauz Wray (DB/WR).

There are a lot of positions in which the battle for playing time this fall will be fierce. There is a good chance that a few Lobo starters from 2010 will be Lobo subs in 2011, but that's really a good thing. As much as anything, this Lobo program needs to build depth and competition in practice. If you are a returning Lobo DB checking out the incoming talent in the secondary, you probably are in the UNM weight room first thing in the morning. Then you might go out and run some sprints.

"When you have a guy right there on your heels, its creates a great environment," said Locksley. "We finally have some depth at certain positions that allows us to create competition."

The influx of new Lobos obviously raises expectations for 2011. The schedule once again is challenging, but not as demanding as 2010. The Lobos will return 16 starters, 19 of 25 players who made the offense's two-deep chart and 19 of 23 Lobos who reached the defense's two deep.

Then you toss in about another 34 Lobos (2011 recruits and redshirts) biting at the bit to see some D-I action. For argument's sake, let's say 20 of those 34 Lobos become impact players in 2011. That means Locks and his staff have 58 players (38 returning plus 20) in which to try and form a 44-player, two-deep list (22 offense, 22 defense). That's a big difference and gives a team more flexibility with the injury factor.

The two areas that UNM worked hard to improve on the recruiting trails were the trenches and the defensive backfield. The Lobos obviously need to improve their run game next season, and stop the run. Those chores begin up front.

Locksley also said he looks to improve his secondary and his recruiting class includes DBs like Destry Berry, Deshon Marman, Jamal Merritt, Devonta Tabannah, Zoey Williams and possibly Zach Dancel. You can also toss Chase Clayton and Detchauz Wray, coming off redshirt seasons, into that mix.

"It was noticeable that we weren't as athletic in the secondary as we needed to be," said Locksley.

The improvement in the wide out positions next season could be dramatic with Lamaar Thomas, Deon Long Martize Barr (maybe Wray) joining incoming freshmen Daniel Adams and Donnie Duncan.

UNM also will get a shot of depth at the linebacker position as Javarie Johnson, Zach Daugherty and Toby Ball come off redshirt status and join incoming freshmen Harvellio Buie and Tevin Newman.

"Each of these (recruits) have been told they have the opportunity (to start)," said Locksley. "You (try) to recruit guys who can come in and play right away and they are in that mindset."

Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Sports Columnist and Associate Sports Editor at The Albuquerque Tribune. He can be reached at rstevens50@comcast.net.


NamePos.Ht.Wt.ClassHometown (Last School)Highlights
Daniel AdamsWR6-2207Fr-HSWashington, D.C. (Northwestern HS)Watch
Destry Berry*DB5-9177Jr-TrSuwanee, Ga. (Erie CC)Watch
Korian Chambers*OL6-6322Jr-TrMemphis, Tenn. (Arizona Western JC)Watch
Zach DancelATH6-0 186Fr-HSEllicott City, Md. (Good Counsel HS)Watch
Rod DavisDL6-0 300Jr-TrHouston, Texas (Fort Scott CC) Watch
Donnie Duncan*WR5-11183Fr-TrCerritos, Calif. (Alexander Hamilton HS)Watch
Crusoe GongbayRB6-0 196Fr-HSRockville, Md. (Rockville HS)Watch
Desmond HollinDL6-3 235Fr-HSMiami, Fla. (Southridge HS)Watch
Anthony KennedyOL6-5274Fr-HSAlbuquerque, N.M. (Volcano Vista HS)Watch
Deshon Marman*DB5-11195Jr-TrSan Francisco, Calif. (City College of San Francisco)Watch
Jamal MerrittDB6-0175Fr-HSSilver Spring, Md. (Sherwood HS) Watch
Tevin NewmanLB6-1190Fr-HSTampa, Fla. (Robinson HS)Watch
Jamal Price OL6-6338Fr-HSPomfret, Md. (McDonough HS)Watch
Dillon RomineOL6-7268Fr-HSBradenton, Fla. (Braden River HS)Watch
Devonta Tabannah*DB5-10161Fr-HSOxon Hill, Md. (Potomac HS)Watch
Fatu UlaleDL6-3275Jr-TrTorrance, Calif. (Cerritos College)Watch
Dustin WaltonQB6-3216Fr-HSRaton, N.M. (Raton HS)Watch
Austin Weatherford*OL6-3295 Fr-HSMaypearl, Texas (Maypearl HS)Watch
Zoey WilliamsDB5-10185Fr-HSSugar Land, Texas (Dulles HS)Watch
Harvelio BuieLBX-XXXFr-HSSeffner, Fla. (Armwood HS)Watch
Zach BoerboomTE6-4235Fr-HSCape Girardeau, Mo. (Central Senior HS)Watch

* already enrolled and attending UNM