2008 Blue Ribbon Yearbook Aggie Football Preview :: Linebackers

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Middle linebacker and top tackler Dante Floyd has left Las Cruces, giving Mumme a big hole to fill. He had 124 tackles from the heart of the Aggies defense last season, but Mumme does welcome back two starters at outside linebacker in senior La Auli Fonoti (6-4, 253) and junior Jamar Cotton (6-0, 216).

Fonoti made 63 tackles in 12 games, including two sacks. He also had two pass breakups and two fumble recoveries, giving Mumme a complete package on one side of the defense. Cotton does a pretty good job holding up his end of the bargain as well. He managed 35 tackles, including a half sack and a forced fumble.

Senior Chris Nwoko (6-1, 228) will get a shot to play the middle. He made 12 appearances last season, primarily as a backup to Floyd. He still finished fourth on the team in tackles with 67, including 2.5 sacks. While the Aggies’ defense struggled, the linebackers kept some semblance of sanity back there. They will likely be called upon to do the same this season with a few fresh faces dotting the depth chart.

Red-shirt freshman Ronald Opetaia (5-9, 221) and junior college transfer Justen Alford (6-2, 227) are a pair of newcomers expected to battle for playing time. Alford, another Feather River product, racked up 78 tackles last year, including 9.5 for loss and three sacks.

Other newcomers in the mix are junior Jason Scott (5-10, 207), who played for Pasadena Community College last season, leading the team in tackles with 88, and junior Nick Paden (6-3, 235). He led Butte Junior College with 71 tackles, including five sacks. Three red-shirt freshmen, Siaosi Tafuna (5-10, 221), Boyblue Aoelua (5-10, 217) and Jeff Lucas (6-1, 212) will also get a look.

Also See:
Coach and Program | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers and Tight Ends | Offensive Line | Defensive Line

Want to know about the rest of the WAC? How about NMSU's non-conference opponents New Mexico, UTEP and Nebraska? For the most comprehensive previews available on all 119 Division I teams, order the "Bible" of college football, the 2008 Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, at www.blueribbonyearbook.com or call 1-866-805-BALL (2255).