LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – With a year of experience under their belts, the running back trio of Star Thomas, Jamoni Jones, and Ahmonte Watkins return to New Mexico State looking to have an even better season in 2023.
Thomas, Jones, and Watkins were New Mexico State’s top three leading running back rushers during their 2022 bowl game winning campaign, and the three of them are back for 2023.
Star Thomas led the team in rushing yards (520) and scored five touchdowns on 108 carries in 2022. The product out of Homer, Louisiana was also a threat in the passing game as he collected 151 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns.
Jamoni Jones was the second leading rusher out of the running backs last year. Jones ran for 383 yards on 111 carries and scored six rushing touchdowns.
Ahmonte Watkins didn’t have as many carries as Jones and Thomas, but he still showed out with the opportunities he was given. Watkins recorded 248 yards on 39 carries and scored four touchdowns in 2022. Watkins’ biggest moment of the 2022 season came in the Quick Lane Bowl against Bowling Green. In the third quarter, NMSU leading 17-7, Watkins broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run to put the Aggies up 24-7 in a game they later on won 24-19.
This year, the trio is back ready to build on the 2022 season, give the opposition’s defense trouble, and while at the same time continue to learn from each other to improve their own respective skills.
“I’m more of a downhill tank, Ahmonte [Watkins] is all speed; you can’t catch him and Star [Thomas] is like he’s versatile; he can do everything,” NM State junior running back Jamoni Jones said. “It’s hard to stop all three of us at the same time and when we are on the field together too that’s even worse.”
“We all are different and it’s hard for teams to prepare for all of us because we all got something different from y’all from each other,” NM State junior running back Star Thomas said. “I’ve learned a lot from how like Jamoni [Jones] blocks and how Ahmonte [Watkins] sets things up. I try to take a lot away from them dudes’ games.”
Along with the trio of Thomas, Jones, and Watkins, New Mexico State has Tim Gans, Makhilyn Young, and Larenzo McMillan waiting in the wings and are part of a stacked running back group.
New Mexico State will get to see its running back group in some true action during its season opener against UMass on Aug. 26 at Aggie Memorial Stadium.