New Mexico State football concluded the 2022-2023 signing period on Wednesday afternoon with 10 new additions to the 28 players signed in November.
Aggie supporters gathered at the Villanueva Victory Club inside the Stan Fulton Athletics Center to celebrate the newcomers.
Head coach Jerry Kill said he is focused on next season with hopes of building off the momentum of the team’s Quick Lane Bowl victory in Detroit last December.
“This is a critical moment for us right now,” Kill said. “We feel like we made our team better today, and that is what it is all about.”
Kill said his coaching staff was successful during this recruiting period because of the networking and relationships they have made across the country. The transfer portal was also an important factor in bringing new talent to NMSU.
Linebacker Jamari Buddin will join the Aggies after spending two seasons at Penn State. He will reunite with old high school teammate Andre Seldon, a defensive back for the Aggies.
Kill said that the current players are the key to their recruiting tactics, crediting them for hosting potential players and building relationships with them on visits. Their analysis of future players is just as important to him as those of his coaching staff.
“We listen to [our players]. The job they did in recruiting and getting to know the kids and making sure they fit here was unbelievable, bar none,” Kill said. “We got them here; they closed the deal.”
Two more familiar faces in the community will join the Aggies as walk-ons in the fall, both coming from Las Cruces High School.
“This is a critical moment for us right now. We feel like we made our team better today, and that is what it is all about.”
David Barela, whose father also played for the Aggies in the early ’90s, will join the team as a running back. He finished his high school season with over 1,000 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.
Siddeeq Shabazz, the son of former NMSU and NFL safety Siddeeq Muneer Shabazz, will join the defensive side as a safety.
Co-defensive coordinator Melvin Rice said he went to a few of Shabbazz’s games and liked what he saw. “You see a big kid, and he’s physical,” Rice said. “He’ll be here this summer. We’ll develop him and get him on the field.”
The coaching staff believes the preferred walk-on signees have the potential to contribute immediately and help the team win.
Athletics director Mario Moccia encouraged fans to go and see the Aggies play their spring game at Aggie Memorial Stadium in April. Moccia and other university administrators showed trust in coach Kill by renewing his contract through 2027.
“The administration has done one heck of a job of moving this program forward. They want to win, too,” Kill said. “They hired me, gave me an opportunity, and I’m privileged to have it, but we don’t move this program forward without you [supporters].”
Kill said the ultimate goal for the upcoming season is to develop the same chemistry last season’s team ended with. His focus: building a winning culture and making another successful run.
2023 NMSU Aggie Football Schedule