Stevens: Kenya Donaldson's Inspiration Comes From The Best Source

April 9, 2013

New Mexico Lobos Football --- 2013 Spring Ball

Lobo Lettermen: Offense - 24 back, 7 lost. Defense - 23 back, 12 lost
Lobo Starters: Offense - 7 back, 6 lost. Defense - 3 back, 7 lost.
Starters Back (7 or more starts): Offense -- Kasey Carrier (RB), Dillon Farrell (C), Garrett Adcock (OG), LaMar Bratton (OG), Darryl Johnson (OT). Defense - Jacori Greer (DE), Dallas Bollema (LB), Rashad Rainey (LB
Special Team Starters Back: Ben Skaer (punter), Justus Adams (kicker),

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

Along the East wall in New Mexico's indoor practice facility, there are a number of huge pictures/banners hanging high above the green turf.

These are former Lobos of great accomplishment - Lobos like Brian Urlacher, DonTrell Moore, Don Perkins, Robin Cole -- All-Americans and surely an inspiration to any young player who might want to become a Lobo.

Kenya Donaldson has that long line of Lobos beat by a Lobo whose picture is not up on that wall of honor. Donaldson's push to the Cherry & Silver comes from the source that every kid should be lucky enough to find as inspiration - dad.

"I've always wanted to grow up to be like my dad," said Donaldson. "He played here and I wanted to play here, too."

Dad is Terence Donaldson, who played on the offensive line at New Mexico from 1984 to 1987 for Joe Lee Dunn and Mike Sheppard. Dad was big, about 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds and there was no question what position he would play as a Lobo. He had a body meant to open holes for smaller athletes.

Kenya, more athletic at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, is still looking for his place on Bob Davie's squad.

The walk-on from Collierville, Tenn., began his Lobo career last fall as a wide receiver and was moved into the defensive backfield. He began spring drills as a defensive back, but was moved into an outside linebacker slot.

He is a bit undersized for a linebacker, but has good speed and quickly gets to the football. His frame also suggests that he will beef up over the next several years - but probably not grow into offensive line stature like his father

"I'm just trying to find a position I fit at best and where I can help the team," said Donaldson. "I like outside linebacker a lot. It's (Tuesday) only my third day at the position and I have a lot to learn, but I already feel comfortable out there.

"I like the hitting. It's always better to hit than to get hit. I'm getting a lot of reps, so I have a chance to work my way up the depth chart."

Donaldson said his biggest adjustment in returning to Albuquerque was the altitude.

"It's not nearly as humid as Tennessee, but the elevation is way higher and it took a while to get used to the thin air," said Donaldson, who played receiver and defensive back in high school.

"It's a lot different than Tennessee, but I really like it here."

Actually, Donaldson is a native son. His first breath ever was New Mexico air. He was born in Albuquerque, but left for Detroit when he was around 3-years-old.

"I moved to Tennessee when I was around 13, but I've always heard about Albuquerque and being a Lobo," said the redshirt freshman.

"Dad talked about being a Lobo all the time when I was a little kid. He said it was tough football but fun football and it was a great experience for him to come out here. When I was a senior (in high school), I told my parents I wanted to come to New Mexico and they said that was fine with them.

`This is where I want to be."

Donaldson is close to living his dream and following some big footsteps. He is a Lobo just like the man who inspired him to become a Lobo. Like Donaldson said, he is where he wants to be

Now, he has to find his place on the field.

Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former award-winning Sports Columnist and Associate Sports Editor at The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at