The five most intriguing additions from NMSU football's 2024 signing class

Feb. 7—A little over a month ago, Tony Sanchez stood at the podium for the first time as New Mexico State's head coach and made it clear what needed to happen in the coming weeks.

"We gotta go ahead and refill the coffers, and we gotta bring in talented guys, intelligent guys to keep moving this program forward," he said at his introductory press conference on Jan. 3. "Like I said, we have our core group of guys back. We have a lot of really good players returning. If we add to it, there's no reason we can't continue to have success."

Easier said than done. Not only did the Aggies have to replace a slew of starters on offense and defense, they had to do so in the face of major staff turnover, with NMSU losing both of their newly appointed coordinators and four assistants in January.

And yet, they did it. Thirty-five days later, after only inking three players in the early signing period, the Aggies announced on Wednesday a 23-player signing class pulled together from the FBS, JUCO and prep ranks.

"Being here for the last two years, we knew where we needed to fill in, where we had older guys coming back — we didn't sign a running back. That whole room's back," Sanchez told KTSM 9 News at a National Signing Day event Wednesday. "We knew we had some needs at the safety spot. We brought some dynamic guys in from some great schools."

In no particular order, the five most intriguing players from NMSU's signing class:

Deuce Hogan (QB)

Analysis: After the Aggies lost quarterbacks Diego Pavia, Blaze Berlowitz and Gavin Frakes to the transfer portal, Hogan was a sure bet to find his way on this list.

Sure, the 6-foot-4, 217-pound former Kentucky and Iowa quarterback has spent the last five seasons primarily on the bench. But if NMSU can unlock the talent that merited Hogan's three-star rating out of high school, they might have another high-end frontrunner at the position to compete with Eli Stowers.

Hogan also starred on a reality TV show as a prep recruit.

That in and of itself provides some intrigue.

Naki Fahina (DL)

Analysis: Injuries marred Fahina's last two seasons with UNLV but he was a rock solid option not too long ago, putting up a career-best 18 tackles over 10 games in 2021.

The 6-0, 280-pound defensive lineman was recruited out of high school to play for Sanchez at UNLV; good health, a change of scenery and a few familiar faces could go a long way for the former three-star prospect and an NMSU defensive line looking to rebuild.

Josiah Cox (DB)

Analysis: A former three-star recruit out of Lincoln High School in San Diego, Cox (listed at 6-0, 195 pounds) appeared in 10 games last season with Arizona State, notching three tackles and half a sack as a backup to Chris Edmonds and Shamari Simmons before entering the portal late.

But he's just a season removed from some esteemed prep credentials, taking home San Diego Defensive Player of the Year honors after leading the Hornets to their first ever CIF State DI-AA title — in other words, potential that's hard to ignore.

Myles Norwood (CB)

Analysis: Norwood started his college career at Iowa Western Community College (the Reivers) playing football and running track and field after a successful high school career as a high and long jumper.

The 6-2, 190-pound cornerback ended up picking Iowa State over the likes of Syracuse, Kentucky and Kansas but rarely saw the field with the Cyclones before re-entering the portal.

Some extra athleticism can't hurt in a secondary that needs as many options as it can get.

Avery Morris (LB)

Analysis: Morris might be one of the most battle-tested transfers in NMSU's 2024 class, making 92 tackles over 42 games in four seasons with UT-San Antonio — including four starts in 2023.

The Aggies' cupboard isn't totally bare at linebacker as Gabe Peterson and Sone Aupiu are more than solid options but the 6-2, 225-pound Morris, a former three-star prospect out of Atascocita (Texas) High School, brings enough experience and talent to draw some intrigue.