Copyright © 2023 Albuquerque Journal
Danny Gonzalez will say it – that wasn’t exactly the plan.
He wasn’t in 2020 when he took over as New Mexico’s head coach, with progressive player development as his focus. Nor was it just over a year ago, when Lobos added 22 new players through the transfer portal.
But things change. Plans change. And now, more than ever, menus are flipping.
“I say it all the time: if you want to be a good coach, you’re going to get good players,” Gonzalez said.
In that vein, New Mexico announced 13 additional transfers Wednesday afternoon bringing the total up to 18 after the 45-day fall transfer portal window closed on Jan. 18. All transfers are enrolled at UNM for the spring semester and will be eligible to participate in spring practice.
Including both transfers and 11 initial draftees, the Lobos’ class of 2023 currently sits at 28 players. Gonzalez indicated that four to six more players will be added on National Signing Day (February 1) with a willingness to use the 15-day transfer window in May to meet potential needs discovered during spring training.
With previous seasons in mind, Gonzalez admitted that they had adopted a “dramatic” change in their roster construction, but expressed enthusiasm for the impact these new additions could have on the program.
“We’ve modified our model to be able to have more kids who can compete now rather than develop them over four years,” he said. “I said at the beginning we were going to the conference championship and you might have to deviate and adapt along the way.
“Well, we’ve made a big adjustment.”
A pair of former four-star recruits and safety Bryson Washington (Oklahoma) and Darko Perkins McAllister (TCU) are leading the new gate additions. Washington appeared in 16 games over two seasons with the Sooners while Perkins McAllister played 20 games over two seasons with the Horned Frogs.
The Lobos added two more conversions for TCU with wide receiver Caleb Medford and safety Marvin Covington. Gonzalez cited relationships with former TCU coach (and one-time New Mexico assistant) Gary Patterson, current TCU head coach Sonny Dykes and TCU special teams coordinator Mark Tommerdahl for helping facilitate three additions from the national runner-up.
“This is our biggest fear in the transfer gate,” said Gonzalez. “You recruit kids that you can’t build a relationship with for a long time because they might not be in the transfer gate (for a long time). But when they come in with people you trust, that’s a big[help].”
The Lobos added another Power 5 transfer on defense with defensive line/defensive end Gabriel Lopez (Washington State) and a combination of 5 transfers with wide receiver Ryan Davis (UAB). Davis is set to meet former PFL quarterback Dylan Hopkins.
New Mexico also picked up a unique prospect on tight end Magnus Geers (Temple). A native of Zurich, Switzerland, Gers is the first Swiss player registered at the football divisional level. Initially learn to play the game by watching YouTube videos.
“Thank God for things like FaceTime audio where you can talk outside without it costing you money,” Gonzalez said of Geers’ hiring.
The Lobos brought in seven players from the JUCO ranks, four on the defensive side of the ball and three on the offensive side. Linebacker Mihalis Santorineos (Sierra College), safety Aaron Smith (Mt. San Antonio College), defensive line Hunter Rapolla (Mt. San Jacinto College) and linebacker Dimitri Johnson (Santa Rosa Junior College) will bolster their sets in their respective positions. First FBS Seasons.
Offensively, former Cleveland high school senior Dorian Lewis (Coffeeville Community College) and 2018 Gatorade New Mexico Football Player of the Year will look at securing a backfield role in his hometown while wide receiver D.J. Washington (Central Iowa Community College) receiving is another option. For a team looking to take shots on the field.
Gonzalez also made it clear that any players who entered the transfer window from New Mexico at the conclusion of the 2022 season will not return.
The Lobos, coming off a 2-10 season, will begin spring training on February 14.
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