Dec. 19, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico football team signed four junior college players for the 2013 season on Wednesday, the first day of the college football signing period in which student-athletes can sign with their respective schools and enroll for the spring semester.
Brett Bowers, a defensive end from Mendocino (Calif.) College, David Guthrie, a defensive back from College of Siskiyous (Calif.), Reno Henderson, an offensive lineman from New Mexico Military Institute and Clayton Mitchem, a quarterback from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M all have signed letters of intent to play for the Lobos and will arrive on campus for the first day of spring classes on Jan. 17.
- The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Bowers was an All-Bay Valley Conference selection in 2012. Of his 44 tackles on the season, 23 were tackles for loss, including 16.5 sacks. The product of Ukiah, Calif., also had three forced fumbles and one blocked kick for Mendocino, according to the California Community College Athletic Association website. Bowers, who also was recruited by Fresno State and Nevada, has two years of eligibility at UNM.
Bowers was a first-team All-North Bay League selection as an offensive lineman in 2009. He also finished second in both the shot put and the discus at the 2009 North Bay League Track and Field Championships in Santa Rosa, Calif.
"Brett single-handedly made our defense better this season," Mendocino coach Mike Mari said. "I am really happy that he has signed with New Mexico. I feel that he really fits into their defensive scheme and will fit into the city of Albuquerque."
- Guthrie is a 5-foot-10, 198-pound safety who earned first-team Region II All-California Community College honors in 2012 and was a two-time Mid-Empire All-Conference selection. He had 53 tackles and five interceptions in 11 games last season for College of Siskiyous. Siskiyous went 10-1 in 2012 and beat Chabot College 47-18 in the Top of the State Bowl, in which Guthrie had an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Guthrie is the No. 12 junior college safety in the country, according to 247sports.com. He was an Oregon Class 4A first-team All-State wide receiver and defensive back for Douglas High School during his senior season in 2010. The Tenmile, Ore., native had 68 receptions for 1,083 yards and 16 TDs as a receiver and 70 tackles as a DB for Douglas coach Joe Polamalu - cousin of current Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu - during his senior year. Guthrie will have two years of eligibility at New Mexico after choosing the Lobos over Illinois.
"David is an awesome player," Siskiyous coach Charlie Roche said. "He's a tough kid that can light people up when he hits them. He plays with a chip on his shoulder because he had a lot of people telling him what he can't do based on his size. He plays with extreme desire, and I know he will do big things in his future."
- Henderson is a 6-5, 260-pound tackle who will have three years of eligibility at UNM after playing his freshman season with the Broncos. NMMI finished 6-5 in 2012, averaging 36.9 points and 386.8 yards per game. Henderson began the season as a backup but became NMMI's starting left tackle after the season opener.
Henderson was a Class 3A first-team All-State and first-team All-County offensive lineman for Vanguard High School in Ocala, Fla. He was a member of the Orlando Sentinel's Top 100 high school recruits in 2011 coming out of Vanguard. He also made Tom Lemming's Top 25 High School Guards and Centers in 2011 and was recruited by Memphis and Louisiana-Lafayette.
"Reno has unlimited potential," said NMMI head coach Joe Forchtner. "He is a great player and hard worker. I am very happy to see him continue his career at the University of New Mexico."
- Mitchem was the Southwestern Junior College Football Conference Player of the Year in 2012 for Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. The 6-1, 180-pound quarterback threw for school records 2,435 yards and 27 touchdowns, according to NEO offensive coordinator Doug Buckmaster. He completed 165-of-283 passes (58.3 percent) in leading the 9-3 Golden Norsemen to an appearance in the Citizens Bank Bowl. Mitchem also ran for 728 yards with 13 TDs.
Mitchem was a Class 3A All-State East quarterback in 2010 for Spiro High School in Oklahoma. He threw for 2,125 yards with 22 TDs and just three interceptions, and he ran for 1,108 yards and 22 more TDs during his senior year at Spiro in 2010, according to statistics recorded by the Tulsa World. He also was a 2010 Vype Magazine first-team Three Rivers Football Team honoree.
"Clayton is an outstanding dual threat quarterback that will be a tremendous player at the University of New Mexico," said NEO coach Dale Patterson. "He can hurt you with both his arm and legs; we wouldn't have been conference champions this season if it wasn't for Mitchem. The Lobos are getting an outstanding quarterback."