Ortega says he will be a grad­u­ate trans­fer

For­mer Cleve­land High quar­ter­back be­comes fourth to leave Lo­bos

Albuquerque Journal - - SPORTS - BY STEVE VIRGEN AS­SIS­TANT SPORTS ED­I­TOR

Gabe Ortega, a safety who starred at quar­ter­back for Cleve­land High, will be­come a grad­u­ate trans­fer and leave the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico foot­ball team, he said on Twit­ter on Sun­day night.

Ortega, who was a redshirt as a fresh­man, is set to grad­u­ate from UNM this spring. He will be a grad­u­ate trans­fer so he doesn’t have to sit out a year.

Ortega, who quar­ter­backed the Storm to a 13-0 sea­son in 2015, be­comes the fourth Lobo and fourth de­fen­sive player to leave UNM this off­sea­son.

“I am very blessed to have played this game as long as I have through the grace of God,” Ortega said on Twit­ter. “Thank you to the Univer­sity of New Meixco for be­liev­ing in my abil­i­ties and mak­ing my dreams of play­ing col­lege foot­ball come true. Red­shirt­ing as a fresh­man and grad­u­at­ing in three years has opened up op­por­tu­ni­ties in my my life that I want to take ad­van­tage of.”

Ear­lier this off­sea­son, Mar­cus Hayes, a safety who led the na­tion in punt re­turn av­er­age, trans­ferred to Kansas State. Rhashaun Ept­ing, an out­side line­backer who led the Lo­bos with 5½ sacks, left UNM for Ten­nessee State.

Blake Fehrmann, a line­backer who was a redshirt last sea­son for the Lo­bos, trans­ferred to Illi­nois State, an FCS pro­gram.

The Lo­bos re­cently added 15 play­ers on de­fense out of their 25-player re­cruit­ing class. In ad­di­tion, Bran­don Bur­ton, a line­backer, will join the Lo­bos af­ter sit­ting out last year be­cause he trans­ferred in from UCLA. Ortega’s de­par­ture frees up a schol­ar­ship spot.

UNM coach Bob Davie re­cently made changes on de­fense, pro­mot­ing Jor­dan Peter­son to be­come its de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, re­plac­ing Kevin Cos­grove, who re­mains on staff as the lineback­ers coach.

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