LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – New Mexico State will be breaking in a new starting quarterback in 2022 in Jerry Kill’s first season as the head coach and having a solid run game could help whoever gets the starting QB job to get comfortable early.
Despite losing 2021’s leading rusher, Juwaun Price, to Syracuse in the transfer portal, the Aggies feel good about what they’ve got up their sleeves in the running back room in 2022.
NMSU hit the recruiting trail hard and they’ve added what appear to be some solid players. It starts with Ahmonte Watkins, a redshirt freshman transfer from TCU, who was a top-100 recruit coming out of high school in Houston.
It appears that Watkins will get first crack at leading the Aggies’ rushing attack, but he won’t be alone.
“Is there a capability to have some depth? Yes. But that goes along with mental toughness and physical toughness,” Kill said.
Joining Watkins in fighting for carries are Jamoni Jones and Star Thomas, along with a couple other players including return O’Maury Samuels.
NMSU offensive coordinator Tim Beck said he wasn’t opposed to playing more than one back at a time, and hinted that he wouldn’t just stop at a two-back set.
“One back, two backs, three backs, as many as we can get out there, that would be great,” Beck said. “We have some talent in that running back room. There’s great competition there. Probably in a week or so we’ll start narrowing down who we think needs to play for us a lot. We have to get our best players on the field.”
The versatility in the room is something that has stuck out to those closest to the team, including Watkins, who came to NMSU because Kill wanted him to play offense instead of defense.
Watkins showed the ability to catch passes out of the backfield in high school and he and his backfield mates could get the same opportunity at NMSU.
“We think we can be very dynamic because all of us know how to play receiver too and move around the ball. We just keep our options open and there’s no limit on what we can do,” Watkins said.
New Mexico State is still in the process of picking a starting quarterback and has been rotating Diego Pavia, Gavin Frakes and Weston Eget in with the first team. NMSU will open the 2022 season at home on Aug. 27 vs. Nevada.