Pair of Top Local Prospects in Football Commit to New Mexico
It's been a while since the University of New Mexico has capitalized on recruiting El Paso football talent but in 2020, the Lobos secured commitments from arguably the city's top offensive and defensive prospects.
Americas running back Aaron Dumas and Burges linebacker Alec Marenco are both rated 3-star recruits by 247 Sports. Despite the broad interest in both players by various Division I programs, both players committed to play for New Mexico.
After a 2-10 finish to their 2019 season, New Mexico made a coaching change and hired Lobos alumn Danny Gonzales last year. Gonzales, who spent the last two seasons as Arizona State's defensive coordinator, has hit the recruiting trail in the midst of the Mountain West Conference canceling their fall football season.
Dumas is widely regarded as the top prospect to play in El Paso since the likes of Deion Hankins, El Paso's all-time leading rusher (Parkland, 2018). The incoming senior (class of 2021) had one of the most productive high school football seasons in not just the city, but across the nation. Dumas rushed for 3,184 yards and 36 touchdowns in his junior year, which earned him All-State honors at Americas. The tailback held offers from other FBS programs like Arizona State, Houston, San Diego State, UTEP and SMU.
Like Dumas, Marenco is a highly-touted local product. The prospect plays all over the field—linebacker, wideout, punter, kicker—and will play as a linebacker for UNM. In addition to the Lobos, UTEP and Abilene Christian recruited Marenco as a versatile 3-star athlete. Last year with the Mustangs, he racked up 113 total tackles, 6.0 tackles for a loss and 253 receiving yards on offense.
The last major local prospect to commit to New Mexico was Q' Drennan (Americas) out of the class of 2015. Before Drennan, Mat McBain (Burges) was the last El Paso player to earn a scholarship from New Mexico.
The resurrected pipeline of El Paso football products headed to Alburquerque is a significant move under the Gonzales era. They out-recruited some major programs for these two commits, including both of the prospects' home town school in UTEP. Gonzales might find a fresh batch of players looking to join a Division I program, stay close to home and have an opportunity to play down the line.