UNM football: Devon Dampier has offense rolling during practice viewing period

Apr. 16—Sights and sounds from New Mexico's 10th spring practice on Tuesday, with roster and injury updates:

DAMPIER'S DAY: Seeing it is different than hearing about it. Which is why Tuesday was a welcome surprise: Three weeks into spring practice, there simply hasn't been a lot (really, if any) 11-on-11 action to be seen, and for all that long anyways.

And nothing to read all the way into, at least without some necessary trepidation (see: routes on air periods). So when head coach Bronco Mendenhall blew the whistle after 10 or so minutes of punt return and position drills around 10 a.m., the offense and defense promptly running over to their respective sidelines and readying for a team period, there was a feeling something would be revealed.

That revelation? Simply put: Devon Dampier looks like he's gotten a lot better, and it isn't too hard to see.

An incomplete summary of the sophomore quarterback's morning: an opening drive with quick strikes to wide receiver Luke Wysong and running back Javon Jacobs (who might be getting some extended time out wide, per Mendenhall). A handoff to running back Eli Sanders before UNM set Sanders up in the wildcat, pushing Dampier out wide for one play.

Then, back under center, he hit Sanders for a 2-yard touchdown. One drive later, he tossed another touchdown to wide receiver Ryan Davis on a particularly frustrating drive for the defense. After that, a deep strike to wide receiver Caleb Medford for another score, and that was it. The open window had expired, the offensive sideline was teeming with excitement and the defensive sideline had some thoughts of its own.

"We got no energy out here," defensive end Gabriel Lopez said.

Somebody else screamed down the sideline, with a little more vigor.


There's levels to everything that was seen. Dampier was passing against a secondary that, for all intents and purposes, is probably more in flux than not. But last spring, he showed he had a cannon — one he wasn't always in control of. A little more zip than actual touch.

Tuesday? Plenty of zip, plenty of touch. No incompletions seen during the open window, making a lot of those throws on the run, too. Should it be all that surprising that a quarterback who finished last season on a high note and quickly earned strong reviews from a new coaching staff played as well as he did?

Maybe not. But seeing it is different than hearing about it, right?

ROSTER UPDATES: College football's spring transfer window opened Monday, kickstarting a 15-day period where players can enter, withdraw and communicate with any and all interested coaches. Remember this is now the era (or at least in the NCAA's eyes, school year) of unlimited transfers, so there's currently no cap on how many times a player can enter the portal.

Tuesday, one more Lobo entered the portal. Linebacker Jalen Washington, a former New Mexico State transfer and Cleveland High School alumnus, announced his decision to leave with three years of eligibility remaining via a post on X.

Washington did not see the field in two years with the Lobos and joins Kam Robinson (zero snaps in 2023) as the latest linebacker to enter the portal. How that room looks now:

Dimitri JohnsonMilhalis SantorineosMoso TuiteleSkylar CookJa'shon LoweryJayden WilsonLucas LuceroLeonardo GallegosHunter Haemker

Johnson and Santorineos are as close to being clear-cut starters as anybody.

Tuitele and Cook got some run with what appeared to be the first team on Tuesday morning. Wilson, Lowery and Lucero are very much in the picture, although that's going more off what Mendenhall has said as opposed to what's been seen. And Haemker is still in turquoise.

Mendenhall said last week that he wouldn't go into specifics about where UNM wants, or needs, to add via the portal. He's also made a point to say that this is a build completely from scratch — there's a good argument that reliable and quality options are needed at each and every position. But from a numbers perspective, it seems clear enough that linebacker will be a priority.

INJURY UPDATES: Cornerback Pierre Kemeni Jr. was without a turquoise jersey on Tuesday, meaning his injured/limited/non-contact designation has been lifted. Defensive end Gabriel Lopez was spotted out of pads and in turquoise, while offensive lineman Isaiah Sillemon, running back Jaylen Morgan and tight ends Everett Hunter, Magnus Geers and Max Lantzsch remained limited.