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New Mexico linebacker Dion Hunter announced his intentions to enter the transfer portal on Wednesday.

“I am a Duke City Boy all the way and this is one of the toughest decisions of my life,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter. “I would like to thank the University of New Mexico and all of my coaches for giving me the opportunity to live out my dreams playing college football.”

 

The Rio Rancho native and Cleveland High School alum tallied 112 tackles, 5½ tackles for loss and 3 sacks over 21 games played in three seasons with the Lobos.

After six out of New Mexico’s seven leading tacklers from 2022 left the program by way of the transfer portal or expired eligibility, Hunter was the lone holdover from that group and was widely expected to be one of the Lobos’ key defensive players in 2023. The redshirt junior also wore 42 in honor of Bobby Santiago, a tradition head coach Danny Gonzales implemented during his tenure.

Hunter was the seventh member of the Lobos to enter the portal in the spring transfer window.

When asked by the Journal about Hunter’s decision to leave, head coach Danny Gonzales said he wouldn’t comment on particular players leaving but indicated it was Hunter’s decision to leave.

“Anybody on our team that wants to get in the portal, this is the new era of college football,” he said. “That’s their choice. I mean, it happened with (Cody Moon), it happened with (A.J. Haulcy), those guys. I wish them well. And we’ll move on from there.”

A series of posts on Twitter from Hunter’s mother, Diana, expressed otherwise. On Tuesday, she posted a series of tweets indicating discontent with the program.

“Gave it your all to get treated like s***!!!” she tweeted on Tuesday at 12:07 p.m. with a picture of Hunter dressed in a New Mexico uniform attached. “GOT ME TWISTED! Home grown local kid doesn’t mean s*** to this University. I have never ever spoke out against a coach being (a) former coaches wife myself but WTF IS GOING ON WITH UNM FOOTBALL? Explains a lot now why players left.”

The tweet has since been deleted.

Neither Hunter nor his mother responded when reached for comment by the Journal. Gonzales acknowledged he was aware of the tweets.

“I don’t comment on anybody that posts on social media,” he said.

Gonzales said on April 17 the Lobos were “set” at linebacker. Asked if the program would look to replace Hunter through the transfer portal, he told the Journal “probably.”

“We’ve looked at some defensive linemen and linebackers,” Gonzales said. “Finding the best one that fits and then being within the 85 number of (allotted) scholarships, that’s the most important (part).”

COMMITTED: Former New Mexico receiver Duke Miller is the first transfer from this spring to find a new home, landing at Alcorn State.

“Ima (sic) new face of the city! Let’s rock,” Miller said in a tweet posted on Wednesday afternoon with a graphic of him in a Braves uniform.

Miller was only with New Mexico for the spring after transferring in from East Mississippi Community College in December.

For a complete list of New Mexico football transfers, be sure to check out the Journal’s transfer tracker