Summer Scouting: New Mexico State

Valerian Ume-Ezeoke is a stud center for New Mexico State.

Valerian Ume-Ezeoke is a stud center for New Mexico State.

Summer Scouting is a daily weekday post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2014 season. From Wisconsin (June 19) to Texas A&M (July 4), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule.

Game reset

  • When: Sept. 27 (time TBA)
  • Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge
  • Early spread: N/A
  • Who’s before and after: vs. MississippiState and at Auburn

Team glance

  • Coach (year): Doug Martin (2nd year)
  • 2013 record: 2-10 (independent)
  • 2013 postseason: None
  • Returning starters: 11
  • Preseason projection (Sporting News): 9th in Sun Belt

SPRING STORYLINE

Passing game: Tyler Rogers, a dual-threat QB who transferred from Arizona Western, has been a central figure in the off season in Las Cruces. He passed for 1,832 yards and 14 touchdowns (seven interceptions) last season as a freshman in junior college. He also ran for 364 yards and a team-best 10 scores. New MexicoState lost its top receiver, Austin Franklin, early to the NFL. Franklin’s 670 yards receiving last year was 366 more than the next guy.

BIGGEST THREAT

Offensive line: The Aggies lose their top receiver and running back, but they return a whopping four starters on the offensive line, including three upperclassmen. Senior center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke is a 6-2, 295-pounder from Texas who has drawn the eyes of NFL scouts. He was one of 64 centers on the 2014 Remington Trophy watch list released last month.

WEAK SPOT

The defense: This unit lost a whopping seven starters, but that might not be a negative. Last year’s defense finished 124th out of 124 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in total defense. The Aggies allowed 549 yards a game. That was the worst by nearly 20 yards. Nine opponents in 2013 scored 40 or more points against New MexicoState and one put up 66. That unit lost four starters among the front seven and three defensive backs.