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Loper Football inks 23 new players on National Signing Day

Carter Klein and the Pleasanton Bulldogs celebrate his signing to UNK to play football. Photo via Carter Klein/Twitter

The UNK football team signed 23 recruits on Feb. 2 which included five mid-year transfers and 18 high school seniors. Four of the five transfers are from New Mexico Military Institute which won the JUCO National Championship this past season. 

These players will practice in the spring and could see some action next fall for the Lopers.

“Those kids are special, they go through a military aspect of a school,” said UNK coach Josh Lynn. “They learn how to march. They get up every morning and they’re on a regimented schedule. 

Lynn was the head coach for New Mexico Military Institute before he came to coach for the Lopers.

“We usually sign one or two from NMMI every year, however, we signed four this year,” Lynn said. “That’s probably because of the product they put together coming off a National Championship.”

Those four players come in key spots of need for the Lopers in outside linebacker Josh Beaird, offensive lineman Esafe Fetu, defensive back Tre O’Guinn and defensive lineman C.J. Sunui. UNK’s fifth transfer was running back Justin Carrasco out of Eastern New Mexico, which is Lynn’s alma mater. 

UNK also had a small class this year because of the extra year of eligibility granted to seniors due to COVID-19. This is the second straight year that UNK has had to take a smaller class and it may happen for a few more years to come. 

“Normally about this time in spring we would carry about an 85-man roster,” Lynn said. “We’re carrying 110 right now. It’s a good problem to have in regards to that the kids you are recruiting are staying in your program.”

The Lopers signed 12 high schoolers from Nebraska including linebackers Parker Wise and Koren Conrad from Kearney. They also signed three from Colorado. 

“Obviously we’re gonna start in Nebraska and we’re gonna try to fit as much of our needs as possible in Nebraska,” Lynn said. “Colorado is a big piece of that as well.”

The Lopers are bringing lots of size to their offensive line from the local talent in Carter Klein from Pleasanton, Dawson Fox from St. Paul and Franky McFadden from Parker, Colorado. 

The coaching staff looked to Florida for Tyler Perry at quarterback from Trenton and Jamaal Joseph at running back from Miami. Perry is a cousin of UNK running back and high jumper Montrez Jackson. 

“We look for a certain quarterback in our system and sometimes you have to go outside the radius to fill that need,” Lynn said. 

UNK’s recent success this past year helped out with recruiting. The Lopers made the playoffs this year for the first time since 2011 and are starting to see the benefits of their recent success.

“When we first got here it was a struggle to get kids on campus,” Lynn said. “The kids that we want and the kids that we are offering we’re doing pretty well with. Our overall product of what we’ve been able to do here has helped as well as facilities. Kids get on campus and see the upgrades of facilities the administration has put together for us. You know it’s just a good time to recruit to UNK.”

The Lopers will now start to prepare for spring ball set to begin on March 23 which will end with the spring game set for April 23.

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