LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – Tyler Rogers started at quarterback at New Mexico State for four seasons, ending his Aggies career with a win in the 2017 Arizona Bowl.
Since then, it’s been a revolving door under center at New Mexico State. In five season since Rogers left, NMSU has held a quarterback competition in four of them – Josh Adkins was the surefire incumbent in 2019.
Six different quarterbacks have seen action for the Aggies in that time and that lack of consistency has played a part in NMSU’s struggles since the bowl victory.
In year one under new head coach Jerry Kill, there’s a familiar feel as a quarterback competition is once again taking place. Junior college transfer Diego Pavia (NMMI) looked solid in the spring, but he’s now locked in a tussle with true freshman Gavin Frakes (Norman, Okla.) and Weston Eget.
During most practices, Frakes and Pavia take the majority of the reps with the first team, with Eget working in at times as well. In NMSU’s intrasquad scrimmage last Saturday, none of the quarterbacks showed themselves to be head-and-shoulders ahead of the rest.
“I think they both have to improve their football knowledge and get us in the right direction. They’re still learning their progressions in the passing game. We have to get some consistency,” Kill said on Tuesday.
Kill has said multiple times that he doesn’t have any plans of naming a starter too early and given the up-and-down showings in the scrimmage, a patient approach is ok. NMSU will scrimmage again Wednesday and Saturday, at which time it’s possible that any of the three players could put themselves in the lead.
The first-year head coach said Tuesday that he has a lot of confidence that one of the three guys will step up before NMSU opens the season vs. Nevada on Aug. 27.
“I think we’re throwing the ball pretty well, better than I thought we would,” Kill said.
Pavia and Frakes bring different attributes to the field. Pavia, though smaller at 6’0, can use his feet to make plays and has quite the track record, having won the JuCo national championship at NMMI last year.
Frakes, meanwhile, has ideal quarterback size at 6’4 and has a big arm. While not as mobile as Pavia, he can move around pretty well, too.
“We’re both competitors, we both want to win,” Pavia said. “No matter what happens, we both just want to see the team be successful. That’s what we’re here for and whoever gets the job is going to make it happen.”
Both were at NMSU in the spring and that helped them pick up the offense earlier. The competition factor has been good for both players; Kill said they’ve improved throughout fall camp and the hope is that that continues.
“Everyone is trying to elevate and play better each practice. If he has a good practice and I don’t then I’m trying to come back the next day and out-do that. It’s made both of us level up our play,” said Frakes.
As for the other quarterbacks on the roster, Kill said Tuesday that Dino Maldonado had shoulder surgery and will miss the entire 2022 campaign.
Kill said that the coaching staff would start implementing game plan items for Nevada next week, at which time it’s possible a decision could be made on who will start for NM State on Aug. 27 at Aggie Memorial Stadium. NMSU’s two scrimmages this week will likely play a role in the decision-making process.