With five senior starters returning and seven starters overall, the New Mexico State offense has all the experience it needs to run up the scoreboard and win some games this fall. As one of the most experienced teams in the FBS, fans have elevated their expectations of the team. Expectations that include a bowl game.
With a talented starting quarterback, one of the nation’s best running backs, six wide receivers with starting experience and a big, experienced offensive line, the sky is the limit for the 2017 Aggies.
Tyler Rogers returns in 2017 to lead the Aggies’ offense, thanks to a medical redshirt that was granted to him this offseason. With his return comes talent that the NMSU program has rarely seen as he is third in program history in touchdowns (42), career yards (6,356) and total offense (6,955).
Last season, Rogers started 11 games, throwing for 2,603 yards with a 55% completion percentage and a 16-12 touchdown to interception ratio. While his statistics were decent last year, he was last in the Sun Belt in passing efficiency with a 116.7 mark. Additionally, five of his 12 picks came in the red zone. Those statistics are what Rogers has been working on the most this offseason.
If Rogers is able to improve those numbers, then I think we should see a bigger number in the win column this winter.
Larry Rose III. Need I say more?
The single season rushing record holder and All-American returns for his senior season with the Crimson, looking to produce his best season yet. While he missed the first three games last year, he still led with 865 yards and was a Third Team All-Sun Belt selection. If he stays healthy, he could become the program’s all time leading rusher!
Backing up Rose is sophomore Jason Huntley who started one game and ran for 167 yards. Huntley is extremely fast and gives the Aggies a dangerous 1-2 punch out of the backfield.
Like the rest of the offense, talent is not lacking in the receiving department. Seven of the top eight are back giving Mr. Rogers plenty of places to throw the ball around.
The top returners include senior Gregory Hogan (377 yards, #2 on team), redshirt sophomore Izaiah Lottie (339 yards, #3 on team) and sophomore O.J. Clark who led the team in receptions and was fourth in yards with 338.
Additional playmakers include Royce Caldwell who returns from a broken leg and Johnathan Boone.
All the receivers have looked really good in fall camp. Make sure to follow @NMState Football on Twitter for inside looks and videos on the receivers throughout the fall.
Even though Anthony McMeans departed and was signed by the Los Angeles Rams as a free agent, 43 career starts and three starters still remain on the NMSU O-line.
6’7” 320 lbs. Sage Doxtater looks to improve on a promising freshman season at left tackle, while Dezmand Candelarie looks to have a stellar senior season at right guard after starting 11 games last season for the Crimson.
Davis Harker (center), Brian Trujillo (left guard), and Isaac McClain (right tackle) round out the offensive line.
Injuries were a problem last year as no offensive lineman except McMeans started all 12 games but look for a better performance as this group is deep and experienced (and don’t forget about that 1-2 punch in the backfield).
As you can see this team is dripping with talent and experience across the board. But will it translate into wins this fall? Well, if the injury bug stays away and the red zone interceptions disappear, it is hard to see this team at home during bowl season in 2017.