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New Mexico State Football Position Previews: Secondary

Tough early games will show us how strong this unit is in the 2019 season

New Mexico State v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

It’s Game Week! Finally! Buy yourself a keg of booze to celebrate making it through another off season, then buy another keg for the game Saturday. Hopefully that will be enough to get you wobblin’.

With that said, it’s time for the last position preview before we turn our attention north to the Washington State Cougars. So, who’s gone and who’s returning for the Aggie secondary? Let’s take a look.

Departing: Ron LaForce, DeMarcus Owens, Malik Demby, Tymon Locklin, Sy Slater, Mica Ward,

Returning: Shamad Lomax, Komotay Koffie, Ray Buford, Austin Perkins, Lautoa Nomura, Austin Shaw, Rodney McGraw II, Jared Phipps, Xzavier Guyton, Ivan Avina

Incoming: Chris Bell, Chance Cook (redshirted last year, transfer from Oklahoma State), Brandon Shivers, Ronnie Sanders II, Jason Simmons Jr., Johnny Tamayo

Just like the defensive line, there is a lot of returning experience in this unit. Lomax is the star of this unit, and while he played well at safety last year, he will be moved back to corner where he was much more disruptive. Ray Buford will be the corner on the other side of the field and should improve.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Minnesota
Shamad Lomax will anchor the Aggies’ pass D this season. Look for him on all the WR1s
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Chance Cook is the newcomer to look out for this year. Reminiscent of Ron LaForce in 2017, when he was the Sun Belt Newcomer of the year, Cook comes in with college experience, having walked on and played two year at Oklahoma State. He will be the team’s new safety.

Behind the starting guys there is some solid, experienced depth. That was made possible by the new redshirt rule put in place last year that allowed freshman to play in up to four games without using a year of eligibility. Rodney McGraw was one player who took advantage. He played in four games and totaled five tackles and returns as a redshirt freshman.

While this unit improved statistically from allowing 234 yards per game in 2017 to 208 last year, a big part of that was because the run defense was so poor. The early part of the schedule will show us what kind of secondary this will be in 2019.