The top 10 players returning to the New Mexico State Aggies 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. Roy Lopez, DI
2. Rashie Hodge Jr., LB
3. Jason Simmons Jr., S
4. Robert Downs III, WR
5. Devin Richardson, LB
6. Matthew Young, DE
7. Max Wilhite, C
8. Myles Vigne, DI
9. Jalen Guerrero, T
10. Isaiah Mursalat, G
Lopez is one of the nation's most athletic players at any position. He recorded a handful of quarterback pressures last year and played just four games. He returns from an injury that forced him to redshirt and prior to that, was a three-year starter with 35 career starts to his credit. He's a tackling machine and can fight off blockers with little trouble.
There's a solid pass-rush to him that he showcased in 2017 and 2018 and he's a great tackler in space if it so calls for it.
Hodge racks up the tackle and has great pass-rush skills himself. He recorded an interception and a pass breakup in coverage and limited mistakes well, not allowing a touchdown in coverage. Hodge allowed just a long reception of 27 yards last year.
Simmons is great in coverage himself, allowing fewer than 50% of the passes thrown his way to be caught. He also comes down in run defense very well and if he can limit some missed tackles, will be a force to be reckoned with. Richardson, Young and Vigne will also bolster a defense that the Aggies should be able to rely on 2020.
The offense will basically be a brand-new unit this fall but Downs returns with 22 catches for 265 yards and two scores from a year ago. He's a first-down machine and will be counted on early.
The offensive line does return three players that should be integral in this team creating new chemistry in 2020 as Wilhite will carry them. He was terrific blocking for the run in 2019 while Guerrero saw similar success as well. Mursalat rounds out the trio as he also saw success in the run game significantly more so than in the passing game.