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National Signing Day Central

by Frank Mercogliano

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — University of New Mexico head football coach Danny Gonzales has announced 11 signees on National Signing Day, the first official day that student-athletes can sign GIAs and NLIs to play in the 2023 football season.

The NCAA approved the early signing period in 2017, which runs this year from Dec. 21-23. The mid-year 2-4 (junior college) transfer signing period also commenced today and lasts through Jan. 15, 2023, while the regular signing period is slated for Feb. 1-April 1, 2023.

Of the 11 initial signees, eight are slated for the offensive side of the ball, including two freshmen quarterbacks and four receivers. The Lobos also picked up a pair offensive lineman, one from the junior college ranks. All told of the initial 11 signees, eight are high school seniors and three are junior college transfers. UNM also signed three high school players from New Mexico. Seven of the 11 (Cook, Dampier, Miller, Moore, Murrell, Smith and Toilolo) will enroll in time for the 2023 Spring semester and participate in Spring practice.

“This is a terrific class and it should pay immediate dividends for us in 2023,” said Gonzales. “There was great desire to be a part of what we are building, and not only do we have very talented players in this class, but we have a great students who consistently were at the top of their class academically. We have several joining us for spring football which will be a great benefit as well, and we once again have signed the best high school players in our state.”

The last four New Mexico State Players of the Year have ended up with the Lobos under Gonzales in Isaiah Chavez (2019 Gatorade winner), Luke Wysong (2020 Gatorade winner), Zach Vigil (2021 Gatorade winner) and Evan Wysong (2022 MaxPreps winner).

Below are capsules of the complete 2023 signing class:

Aidan Armenta
QB | 6-3 | 190 | Fr | HS#
Albuquerque, N.M. | La Cueva HS

*Lettered in football at La Cueva for coach Brandon Beck, as well as baseball.
*All-time leader in single-season and career passing yards and passing TDs.
*First Team All-State, NM Preps New Mexico QB of the Year, two-time First Team All-District, First Team All-Metro and a Red-Green New Mexico All-Star.
*Threw for 4,300 yards as a senior (seventh nationally) with 50 TDs and 64% completion percentage.
*NM Preps New Mexico Heisman winner, and was a two-time Academic All-District selection.

Skylar Cook
S | 6-0 | 195 | Fr | HS#
El Centro, Calif. | Central Union HS

*Lettered in football at Central Union for coach David Peña and also lettered basketball and baseball.
*Three-time First Team All-Imperial Valley and second team All-CIF San Diego Section.
*Also earned First Team All-Imperial Valley in baseball, and was twice named Central Union’s Defensive Player of the Year in basketball, and once in football.
*Named Fall San Diego Mission Federal Credit Union Student-Athlete of the Year.

Devon Dampier
QB | 6-0 | 195 | Fr | HS#
Seguaro, Ariz. | Seguaro HS

*Lettered in football at Seguaro High School for coach Jason Mohns, and also lettered in basketball.
*Named the 2022 MaxPreps Arizona Player of the Year.
*Was a 2022 First Team All-State selection.
*Threw for 2,400 yards and rushed for another 1,300 as a senior.
*Led Seguaro to a state runner-up finish.
*Also played for Tucson Turf and won the 2022 Miami Battle 7v7 Tournament and a pair of Arizona RedZone 7v7 Tournament.
*Carried a 3.8 GPA.

Duke Miller
WR | 6-1 | 170 | Jr | JC#
Raleigh, Miss. | East Mississippi CC | Taylorsville HS

*Lettered in football at East Mississippi Community College for coach Buddy Stephens.
*Named Second Team All-MACCC at receiver as he ranked second in the JC ranks in receptions with 57.
*Finished his career with 72 catches for 902 yards and 10 touchdowns, including 57 catches for 622 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore.

*Lettered in football at Taylorsville High School for coach Mitch Evans.
*Helped Taylorsville to state titles in 2019 and 2020.
*First name is Arterrious.

Dereck Moore
S | 6-3 | 187 | Fr | HS#
Irvine, Calif. | Woodbridge HS

*Lettered in football at Woodbridge High School for coach Aron Craver.
*Earned First Team All-League and First Team All-CIF honors.
*Recorded 116 tackles over his last two years with an interception.
*Also added three PBUs, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

Alex Murrell
WR | 6-3 | 200 | Jr | JC#
San Jose, Calif. | Foothill CC | Piedmont Hills HS

*Lettered in football two seasons at Foothill for coach Matt Raivio.
*Caught 74 career passes for 936 yards and nine touchdowns.

*Lettered in football at Piedmont Hills High School for coach Matt Keisel.
*Helped Piedmont Hills to the 2018 and 2019 Hamilton Division title.
*Was named Piedmont Hills’ Most Outstanding Receiver.

Devon Smith
OL | 6-6 | 290 | Jr | JC#
Biloxi, Miss. | Jones College | Biloxi HS

*Lettered in football two seasons at Jones for coach Steve Buckley.
*Named to the First Team NJCAA Academic Scholar All-American.

*Lettered in football at Biloxi High School for coach Katlan French, as well as basketball and track and field.
*Named First Team All-State as a senior in 2020.
*Was also a High Honors Graduate.


Matthew Toilolo
OL | 6-3 | 305 | Fr | HS#
Long Beach, Calif. | Orem [UT] HS

*Lettered in football at Orem High School for coach Gabriel Sewell.
*Named FIrst Team 5A All-State in 2022 for Utah and also FIrst TEam All-Region 8.
*Second Team All-Trinity League in 2021.
*Four-time Principal’s Honor Roll member.

Nic Trujillo
WR | 6-1 | 180 | Fr | HS#
Rio Rancho, N.M. | Cleveland HS

*Lettered in football at Cleveland High School for coach Robert Garza.
*Named First Team All-Metro and First Team All-State, helping lead Cleveland to three state titles.
*Caught 57 passes for 1,165 yards his senior year with 20 touchdowns.
*Over his last two seasons caught 108 passes for 2,071 yards and 30 touchdowns, and including rushing and kickoff returns, he scored 33 total touchdowns in two years.

Jayden Wilson
LB | 6-2 | 215 | Fr | HS#
El Paso, Texas | Austin HS

*Lettered in football at Austin High School for coach Eric Pichardo.
*Named 2022 Defensive MVP, First Team All-City at linebacker and First Team All-City at running back.
*Named First Team All-State Academic Team.
*In 2021 was named DIstrict MVP and First Team All-City at linebacker and Second Team All-City at running back.

Evan Wysong
WR | 5-10 | 170 | Fr | HS#
Rio Rancho, N.M. | Cleveland HS

*Lettered in football at Cleveland High School for coach Robert Garza.
*Named First Team All-State at quarterback and at athlete along with First Team All-District at both quarterback and athlete.
*Was the 2021 and 2022 MaxPreps Player of the Year for New Mexico.
*Threw for 3,791 yards and 47 touchdowns, and rushed for 2,276 yards and 30 touchdowns, and also caught one 80-yard touchdown pass.
*Brother Luke has been UNM’s leading receiver the past two seasons.

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