The top 10 players returning to the New Mexico Lobos for the 2020 college football season.
Important to note that this list is based upon last year's data and film from on each specific team as well as judgment based upon the player's position both his skill and the level of talent around him at the said position and influential cohorts. Positional value also plays a large factor in these rankings as does the offensive or defensive scheme.
1. Tevaka Tuioti, QB
2. Jacobi Hearn, DE
3. Teton Saltes, T
4. Jordan Kress, WR
5. Marcus Williams, TE
6. Jerrick Reed II, S
7. Letayveon Beaton, S
8. Kyle Stapley, C
9. Donte Martin, CB
10. Cade Briggs, G
Honorable Mention: Kameron Miller, S
If it feels like Tuioti has been at New Mexico for a while, it's because he has. He's gotten better each year that he's been in the program as well and that should scare Mountain West foe in 2020. He's a solid runner and has found his fair share of success through the air as well. Despite just nine games last year, his progression is trending in the right direction and 2020 could be his best year yet.
Hearn recorded seven sacks a season ago and plays a hybrid type role where he also drops back into coverage a bit as well. He excelled in such a regard and did a great job of tracking running backs and tight ends in his coverage. They'll miss Aaron Blackwell on the inside but their backline of defense in Reed and Beaton are proven sure-tacklers and solid in coverage. Martin on the outside is a heavily targeted cornerback that did a great job, despite a large volume of targets, at limiting big plays and though he had a few unlucky breaks in 2019, should be a solid cornerback this year.
On offense, outside of Tuioti, the offensive line trio of Saltes, Stapley and Briggs did a great job last year of offering protection for their quarterbacks. They allowed very few pressures as a unit and that should absolutely continue. Kress and Williams hauled in the majority of the touchdown tosses a year ago and that should continue once again.
Williams has potential NFL-level talent with his kind of production in both the receiving game and in the blocking game, he just needs to prove it again in 2020 with potentially a few more pounds on his frame.