Today we look back on the New Mexico Prep Football Prospects from year's past. From 2002 to the Class of 2012, let's take a minute to rewind on some of the State's best prep football players.
A Look Back At The State's Top Prospects | 2013-2002 College Commits Here
In 2002, Artesia Quarterback Kole McKamey threw for 1,963-yards and 20 touchdowns and ran for another 859-yards with 16 touchdowns. With 4.45 speed, McKamey had a few out of state offers (One from Purdue) before signing with New Mexico. He became a team captain in 2006 for the Lobos and was listed as the fourth best dual threat quarterback by CollegeFootballNews.com during his senior season with the Lobos. McKamey did not start at quarterback until his senior season, however during his junior season he caught for nearly a state leading 805-yards and served as their best receiver.
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In 2003, Clovis Defensive Back Joey Garcia was regarded as one of the most vicious hitters in all the land. He was named the New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year during his senior season and named the Albuquerque Journal State Prep Athlete of the Year during his junior season. He helped Clovis to a 13-0 football record and a class 5A state title in 2001. He had offers from New Mexico and New Mexico State, but chose Texas Tech where he would eventually earn All-Big 12 Status. He started in 2005 and 2006 for the Red Raiders and was selected first team all-academic big 12 during his sophomore season.
In 2004, Cibola Offensive Tackle, Running Back, and Punt Returner Alan Branch was a nightmare to stop for basically anyone. He scored three rushing touchdowns, two receiving touchdowns, and throughout his prep career he returned a total of five punt returns. He was rated as the sixth top defensive tackle coming out of high school and was selected to play in the 2004 US Army All-American Bowl. He was also the state's Gatorade Player of the Year during his senior year before committing to Michigan where he would go on to make the 2006 All-Big Ten Conference First Team. Branch was then drafted to the Arizona Cardinals as the 33rd pick in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft. Currently as of 2013 Branch plays for the Seattle Seahawks.
In 2005, Rio Rancho Running Back/Athlete Chris Williams re-wrote the Rio Rancho High School Football Record Books with an unbelievable season. He ran for 2,100-yards, 33 touchdowns. He was also an outstanding track athlete and scored 26 points during the 2005 NMAA State Championship Track Meet. He committed to New Mexico State and though many doubted the 5-foot-8, 160 pound freshmen, they could not doubt his 4.3 speed. He played in 10 games as a freshmen and returned a memorable 94-yard kick return against nationally ranked CAL. He was named a Sports Illustrated All-American and totaled over 3,000 all purpose yards throughout his career as an Aggie.
In 2006, Rio Rancho Running Back Mike Love followed Chris Williams with another huge senior season. He ran for 1,954-yards and scored 25 touchdowns to earn Gatorade Player of the Year Honors for the State of New Mexico. He carried over a 3.0 G.P.A while in high school and committed to New Mexico after high school. Love is still regarded as one of the best running backs to come out of the Metro Area in the last 10-years.
In 2007, D-1AA commit Ryley Hegarty out of Aztec headed to Brown over a New Mexico State offer. Hegarty threw for a total of 9,942-yards and 110-yards touchdowns. He also rushed for a career total of 1,350-yards and 16 touchdowns. He was the school's Valedictorian, Member of the Math Honor Roll, Member of the National Honor Society, Member of the Science National Honor Society, maintained a 4.0 G.P.A. throughout high school.
In 2008, Landry Jones of Artesia, New Mexico rolled through. All he did was help Artesia win back-to-back state titles, win the NMPreps.com Mr. Football Award two years in a row, was named a finalist for the Joe Montana Award, was selected to the highly touted Elite 11 Quarterback Camp, and was named the New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year. He threw for 3,850-yards and 44 touchdowns during his junior year and threw for 3,432-yards and 45 scores during his senior season. He was ranked as the number one player by NMPreps.com, ranked as the number three quarterback by ESPN, and ranked as the number six overall quarterback by rivals.com. He had over 20 college offers by mid senior season before committing to Oklahoma.
During the 2009 and 2010 New Mexico recruiting classes, there were only a combined six signees. 6-foot-5, 330 pound Rio Mares out of Cibola singed with Tulane and has seen playing time over the last year. Artesia's Dallas Bollema, and Las Cruces duo Dante Caro and James Hall Jr. etched signed D-1 Scholarships, however none of the four have really made an impact at the next level just yet. 2010, was our lowest number of D-1 signees in this current 10-year span. Onate's Zach Daugherty signed with the Lobos and Rio Rancho Record Breaking Receiver Adam Shapiro signed with New Mexico State.
Class of 2011
The Class of 2011 had nine D-1 signees, most notable Tyler McCulloch who has started at Colorado over the last two seasons and Matthew Hegarty who signed with Notre Dame. Ronnie Daniels, arguably New Mexico's top running back ever was kicked off the program at Texas Tech, Matthew Ramondo committed to Michigan State, but transferred to New Mexico State after one season. Dustin Walton who committed to New Mexico transferred to Texas Tech and has yet to see any playing time. The Class of 2011 had three New Mexico State Commits: Abram Holland, Brandon Betancourt, and Matthew Jaramillo, none of the three have seen much time on the football field for the Aggies in the last two seasons.
Class of 2012
The Class of 2012 had just three D-1 signees including the NMPreps.com Mr. Football Winner Cole Gautsche from Cleveland High School who committed to the Aggies first before flipping his commitment to the New Mexico Lobos. Gautsche played in 11 games as a true freshmen. He ran for 760-yards which was second on the team from the quarterback position, but threw for just 222-yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.