Feb. 3, 2010
New Mexico Football National Signing Day Quotes
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
New Mexico Head Coach Mike Locksley
First of all, I want to start by saying recruiting starts with defining your needs. Anytime you are able to meet your needs in the recruiting process it is a successful year.
For us, when we started at this time last year and we looked at what our needs would be for this upcoming recruiting class, there was a premium on defensive backs and offensive linemen. This is where you'll see a lot of our guys. There was also a challenge for us from a philosophical standpoint, as we wanted to upgrade the athleticism of our team.
After my first season, we've now had the opportunity to finally go through the Mountain West Conference schedule. We were a little bit behind the eight ball in athleticism, and that's a huge goal for us. When you look the recruiting class that our staff was able to put together, we feel like we've hit upon both of those things.
We felt like we met our needs from a depth standpoint, offensive line wise and with defensive backs. We feel like we really did a great job of upgrading the athleticism of our team. When I took the job I said that recruiting is a people driven business.
I can't say enough about the job that my staff and the team did. The players are our team's best ambassadors. Considering the 1-11 record and some of the issues we dealt with last season, our players did a tremendous job of hosting recruits once they came on campus. That speaks volumes about the direction of the program.
Our players believe in everything that we are doing within the program and they sold that to these recruits. The staff did a great job of identifying players, getting them on campus, and then finishing the job.
On introducing prospective players to Albuquerque
On bringing in defensive lineman Calvin Smith
People always say, `Can you bring recruits to Albuquerque?' Every kid that got off the airplane to come visit our campus was just blown away by what we have to offer here as a city, facility wise, and as a university. Leadership from our administration, the faculty, and various groups play a huge role when we host recruits. I want to thank those different groups, the staff, and the team for the job they did.
Calvin Smith is the headliner of this class. I've had the opportunity to know Calvin since he was a tenth grader -- when you talk about recruiting it's all about relationships. I've know Calvin's dad for quite some time. We recruited one of his teammates at Illinois a couple of years back.
He really enjoyed his time there and I played a small role in that. Smith is a tremendous defensive lineman. Coach Carter played a huge role in recruiting him as well. Carter is the lead guy down in that area -- his experience coaching at the NFL level and the job he has done with our defensive line here are all factors. A lot of kids want to go where they feel they are going to get developed. Smith has the prototype size, athleticism, and speed you want. If you pair that with Coach Carter developing him, it's a win-win situation.
On how important it is to have a player with the notoriety of Smith announce he's going to be a Lobo on national television
To me, it shows the character of the young man. In this day and age when guys are followers, he's a kid that really stood out. I said, `Calvin, how are you going to justify coming to New Mexico to all the all the negative people?' He said, `Coach, I'm a leader, not a follower.' To me, those are the type of kids that you're going to win with. It speaks volumes about his character, his family, and the way he's been brought up.
On what Smith's signing means for the program
I just think it shows what I already know. You can recruit players to come to New Mexico. You can go out and challenge anybody in the nation. When you get them out to Albuquerque, they see what a good place this is to live and to go to school. We can show them that we have one of the fastest rising academic programs in the country as well. It's an easy sell -- the key is getting them out here.
On maintaining the recruiting base of the D.C. pipeline
I had a lot of money in the bank in that area from years of recruiting there. Obviously we're going to recruit in the D.C. area because of our ties. It's very typical in the recruiting process to go where you have had some success, because recruiting is a people-driven business. Word of mouth is critical in the recruiting process.
We've got some assistant coaches with some ties there in Coach Mallory and Coach Carter as well. It's been good to us. We've also been able to dip into Oklahoma. We got into Texas and got some really good players out of there. We were able to get two in-state players as well. It's a very geographically diverse group of guys.
On talent in the Albuquerque metro area
It's never about a lack of talent. It's all about supply and demand. For us, our needs took us out of the Albuquerque area. There is great and tremendous talent that's coming up, and I think next year will be a bright one for the Albuquerque metro area. We're still working with some players who we hope will join us with the Lottery Scholarship and possibly be coming on as walk-ons.
On the two New Mexico players that will be Lobos
Anytime you can get the best player in the state, which we have in Zach Daugherty, it's a great coup for us. He's a guy who committed early. In the evaluation process, I put a lot of precedence into the camp evaluation. You can grade them on tape and you can go watch them play. However, anytime you're able to get a kid in here at our camp and have them go through a workout with our coaches, you get a pretty good feel for them. In this class, we have about three or four guys who actually came here, worked out for us this summer, did a great job, and left here with offers. Zach was one of those guys. Our goal every year will be to snag the player we feel is the top player in the state.
On increased depth at the quarterback position
We did get more depth. We had two scholarship quarterbacks going into the recruiting season. Our goal was to take one, but what you learn in the recruiting process is that you never turn down a great player.
We were fortunate that we were able to get the player we feel is the top quarterback on our board. Tarean Austin from Tampa is the prototype thrower that has great athleticism. This past weekend we were able to get the commitment from the Texas Player of the Year in Stump Godfrey, which speaks volumes. Our goal was to go in and get one, but you don't turn down a great player.
On the quarterback process
Yes, it will be an open process throughout the spring and summer. We're going to have great competition with three quarterbacks in our program now. When the two younger guys get here in June for summer school, we'll open up the competition to try and find which guys gives us the best chance to win.
On speed in the recruiting class
Speed is the key across the board for us. When I came in and took the job, that was part of the deal. When you look at the top teams in our conference with TCU, Utah, and BYU, they all have tremendous speed and athleticism. We needed to close the gap. When you look at the group of defensive backs, those guys all have speed. Our track coach Joe Franklin has been calling me about those guys to help out the track team. We feel good about the speed that we've recruited. Now we've got to get them here to get them bigger and stronger, then we'll develop them as players.