Month: April 2012

Congrats to former Aggies!!

As many of you know, this past weekend was the NFL draft. And as it turns out, former NMSU cornerback Jonte Green became the second Aggie defensive back in two years to be drafted by an NFL team. Last year, it was Davon House, selected in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers. Now, Green will get a chance to continue his football career with the Detroit Lions, who have a hole to fill at cornerback.

Green was the only Aggie who had his name called on draft day, but shortly after the draft concluded, safety Donyae Coleman (the Aggies’ leading tackler in 2010 and 2011) was contacted as a free agent by the Arizona Cardinals.

Wide receiver/kick returner Taveon Rogers was added to the Cincinnati Bengals, also as an undrafted free agent. Rogers finished his NMSU career as the school record holder in kickoff return yardage, career kick returns, and kick returns for touchdowns.

 

Green finished 2011 with 70 tackles and 14 pass breakups, the latter putting him second in the WAC in that category. He also forced a fumble and recorded his first two career interceptions in his final two games at NMSU.

Coleman racked up 133 tackles, leading the team, in 2011, and he led the WAC with six interceptions. Coleman also recorded three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries,  and seven pass breakups.

Rogers ended the 2011 season with 1,318 kick return yards and three touchdowns. He also led the Aggies in receiving (59 receptions, 1,048 yards, nine TDs) and even led the WAC and the nation in all-purpose yards per game (196.3).

 

Quotes from the day:

“I’m really excited, God is good. Right now it is a blessing to keep playing football. I want to thank Coach Walker too. He made me the player I am today.” ~Jonte Green

“It was a long, emotional day but when the draft was over an hour later I got the call. I was so happy and I thanked God for all the things He has done for me.” ~Donyae Coleman

“I’m very humbled and blessed to be able to continue my football career. This is a great opportunity and I look forward to being a member of the Bengals.” ~Taveon Rogers

 

Good luck and best wishes to all three of these special Aggie players!

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2012 spring game

So this past Saturday, I saw the Aggies play their annual Crimson & White Spring Game. For the uninformed, the spring game is basically a glorified scrimmage and practice for both sides of the team in order to cap off the spring drills.

The team appears very focused and driven this spring, something that is normally lacking around the program. But this year, our players believe that we can make some noise in the WAC. Everyone is pitching in and doing their best, not just individually, but as a unit.

The Aggies’ defense showed great focus and competitiveness. Defensive end Donte Savage recorded three sacks, leading the team, while defensive backs Darien Johnson, Cameron Fuller, and Dele Junaid all broke up passes.

The real hero on the defensive side of the ball was a new face – transfer linebacker Trashaun Nixon. He made several impressive tackles and also returned a fumble for a score. End Nick Oliva also recovered a fumble for the Aggie defense.

The concern heading into the fall is the offensive line. The unit looked shaky and sometimes overwhelmed in the spring game and couldn’t adequately open holes for the running game. Granted, the line lost three seniors from last season, but it still needs to come together quickly in the fall. New position coach Brad Bedell has stated that no one lineman has a guaranteed spot, and that he’s not afraid to play young guys ahead of veterans.

Speaking of which, things should become more stable along the O-line once our new recruits arrive in the fall. We’ve got JUCO transfers Alfred Sharp and Dada Richards coming in, as well as three high schoolers: Peter Foreman from Texas, Isaiah Folasa from California, and Inuka Rhaheed from Florida. Hopefully, the offense will gel once the O-line is settled.

Also worth noting is the fact that our quarterback starter in the fall, Andrew Manley, was not in the spring game due to last year’s season-ending knee injury. He’s made great progress in rehab and has participated in passing drills this spring.

The lack of offensive production in the spring game can be attributed to Manley’s absence. Backups Andrew McDonald and Travaughn Colwell tried their best, but it’s evident that Manley brings an energy to this team that bolsters their confidence.

In short, I don’t feel terribly worried about the offense heading into the fall. Coach Walker knows how to keep his players focused, and I’m sure that once Manley is 100% healthy, that the units will mesh well together.

The Aggies will open up the 2012 season at home on Thursday, August 30, against the Sacramento State Hornets at 6 PM.

Is rap/hip-hop music dead?

I despise most popular music. The majority of the stuff that’s on the radio and the stuff that’s getting all the millions of hits on YouTube means nothing to me. If you asked me what’s on the charts right now, I would say A) who cares and B) it’s mostly bullcrap anyway. 

Sometimes I wish that the good/great bands of the 70s, 80s, and 90s were back. It sucks that people would rather listen to Justin Beiber, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, or Lady Gaga than the stuff where the lyrics actually mean something. 

One thing that particularly bothers me is the rapid decline of the rap and hip-hop scene. Not decline as in a decline in popularity but decline as in the decline of good, quality lyrics. If you look back at the great rappers and artists of the early 90s (i.e., Tupac, Biggie, Coolio, etc.), their lyrics were really deep. They looked at urban culture and were thoughtful and philosophical about it. Nowadays, with only the rare exception (such as Eminem), rap/hip-hop lyrics are unusually bland and stale. It’s like they only sing about a few topics: getting high or wasted, getting laid, and being rich and having it all. Not to mention that the songs constantly feature harsh profanity more than they feature actual lyrics. 

Because of this, I don’t listen to a lot of modern rap or hip-hop. Sure, the beats and the rhythms are undeniably catchy, but it’s tough to listen to anything that means nothing lyrically. 

In an ironic way, these lyrics typify the stereotypes that black people, in particular, have tried to shed for so long. It’s sad to see how urban culture is reversing itself and going backwards, simply because of the bad influences of Wiz Khalifa, Drake, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and others. It saddens me to know that people are gonna stereotype black people just because they listen to black guys rapping about smoking dope, killing their neighbors, raping college-age girls, or robbing grocery stores. 

I have immense respect for Lecrae and others who have entered the hip-hop world to send out a positive message. It’s difficult to maintain your witness in the entertainment industry, but it’s even harder when so many artists of your genre are non-Christian. I’m not a huge fan of Christian rap/hip-hop, but boy, does that stuff make you think. Those fellas have something to say, and they mostly do it very, very well.

I just hope that someday urbanized youth will see how secular rap and hip-hop have hurt their culture and, in some ways, prevented real economic and social progress. I hope that the tide changes and that rap and hip-hop are returned and refined to their original roots. Because it’s not all about materialism, sex, money, violence, and drugs – rap/hip-hop is an art form, and I wish more people treated it that way.

My views on LGBT rights

So this week is LGBT pride week here at NMSU. I know that because there’s stuff all around campus promoting it, but to be honest, I don’t think a lot of people care very much. I know I don’t.

I believe that everyone should be treated equally and fairly, regardless of sexual orientation. You see, I grew up in a culture where people would call each other “fag” or “gay” or “queer” just for the fun of it. There was never any hesitancy about whether or not anyone struggled with gay tendencies or feelings. And that bothers me – because you never know who might be gay or not.

As far as LGBT rights are concerned, I’ll say it again: I do believe that people are worthy of respect and decency, regardless of their sexual preferences. But I don’t think that gays, lesbians, etc. should be given preference over straight people. They’re labeled as “different,” to the exclusion of all others. Basically, their rallying cry of “equality” means nothing if they think that gay people are more important than straight people.

Is homosexuality natural? Yes and no. No, I don’t believe that people are born gay, and there is no substantial proof that a “gay gene” exists. Yes, homosexuality is “natural” in that it occurs in nature…but that doesn’t make it right or morally acceptable. Murder, rape, and cannibalism all occur “naturally” in a sinful world. But I bet that activists wouldn’t campaign for the rights of a murderer or a rapist.

To be honest, I don’t see anything different between an alcoholic and a gay person. Both struggle with different addictions, and both need love, support, and compassion. Both might have family backgrounds or histories that may or may not play a part in said addiction. Ultimately, they should both be treated fairly – plain and simple.

Spring practice update

Well, it’s hard to believe that the annual spring game is almost here, but it is! The Aggies are just about halfway through the spring practice schedule, and despite some strong winds on Saturday morning, the team continues to make strides on both sides of the football. The spring game, to be held on Saturday April 28th, wraps up the first half of offseason workouts.

Both the offense and defense showed aggressiveness and intensity, giving the coaching staff plenty to build on. “You like to see this competitive edge from the team,” said head coach DeWayne Walker.

Highlights of the day included a very strong showing from senior wide receiver Kemonte Bateman, who caught three touchdowns in the scrimmage, one from sophomore QB Travaughn Colwell, and two more from Andrew McDonald, an early enrollee from junior college.

Colwell also took it in on the ground at the 1-yard line for another score. That would be the Aggies’ third rushing touchdown of the day, after tailbacks Akeelie Mustafa and Brandon Betancourt, both sophomores, found the end zone as well.

Despite a slow start, the NMSU defense came on strong towards the end of the practice. Ends Kalvin Cruz and Donte Savage pressured the quarterback effectively, while the secondary forced three interceptions – Anthony Edwards, Dele Junaid, and Cameron Fuller all grabbed a pick.

2012 NMSU recruiting class – grayshirts

For the uninformed, a grayshirt recruit is one that took a year off before coming to college. Normally, this is because of a previous injury or academic ineligibility, but each case is different.

Here are the Aggies’ two grayshirt signees for the recruiting class of 2012:

Gary Issacson, WR (West Hills HS)

  • Originally from San Diego, California
  • Started three years at quarterback for West Hills
  • Threw for 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior, while also rushing for 500 yards and five TDs
  • Academic All-San Diego selection
  • Tore his ACL in the first game of his senior season and missed the rest of the year
  • Will most likely switch to the wide receiver position at NMSU

Abram Holland, DT (Cleveland HS)

  • Originally from Rio Rancho, New Mexico
  • Was a three-year football starter
  • Recorded 32 tackles, four sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 21 quarterback hurries, and two forced fumbles as a senior
  • Earned All-Metro honors as a senior
  • Named to the New Mexico North-South All-Star Game

My thoughts on Easter

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

~Luke 23:39-43

 

I wanna have that perspective. The thief knew that he had sinned, and that he had gotten the appropriate punishment. And as he’s hanging on the cross next to the Son of God, he only has one request: to be remembered by Him. 

I always try to have a humble spirit. But this passage always gets to my heart in some way, every time. Think about it: you and I should have been on that cross, dying for our own sins. But Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to endure it for us! 

And the saddest part is that all of our individual sins put him there. We’re all responsible for Christ’s death, no matter how we slice it. It wasn’t the Romans’ fault or the Jews’ fault…we all contributed to the Lord’s death with our own sins. 

As a devoted Christian and a movie buff, I love “The Passion of the Christ” because it so accurately depicts what Jesus went through. One of the most dramatic parts of the crucifixion scene is a part that not many people know about: the hands that nail Jesus to the cross are Mel Gibson’s hands. Gibson later said that “it was my sins who put Him there. It was my responsibility.”

I just love that whole passage concerning the thief because it shows Jesus’ death from the perspective of a sinner. All he wanted was for his sins to be forgiven and for Christ to remember him. As it says in another part of Scripture: “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”