By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico
Should Eastern New Mexico University again be a Lone Star Conference football contender, Wednesday may be viewed as the day the turnaround started.
“I’m just delighted,” said Ribaudo, who teams have gone 15-26 in his first four seasons. “Our coaches worked their tails off and it’s a great day for Greyhound football.”
In all 38 players joined the Greyhounds on Wednesday, the first day players can sign letters-of-intent with college football programs.
“With our junior college kids included, it’s the largest group in my 13 years here,” said Ribaudo, an assistant for eight years before taking over the head coaching job. “It’s the largest group — it’s the most New Mexicans we’ve had.”
There are plenty of Texans coming to Portales as well.
Wes Wood, the record-setting quarterback from Class 2A Division I champion Muleshoe, is one of five signal callers signed as the Greyhounds continue to build their spread offense.
“We’ve got Wes Wood, who’s just an outstanding quarterback from Muleshoe,” Ribaudo said. “We also signed a couple of pretty good New Mexico kids.”
Of the announced signings, 15 came from New Mexico high schools, including five of eight junior college transfers from New Mexico Military Institute.
Ribaudo said he was happy to sign so many NMMI players because they’ve got a track record as good students, and a lot of them could come in and contribute right away.
“We’re experienced,” said Drew White, a 6-foot-3, 266-pound NMMI center and Tucumcari native. “We’ll know the college speed a little better than the high school guys just coming in.”
White will be joined on the offensive line by Bronco tackle Chance Robledo (6-6, 315). Other NMMI transfers include Portales native Erett Grubbs (DT, 6-5, 290) and Roswell native Jay Johnson (S, 6-0, 190).
Other offensive signings include Rio Rancho’s Troy Harris, who compiled more than 2,000 rushing yards and 450 receiving yards, and 1,200-yard rusher Stefan Mills of Clovis.
A lot of players may be switching positions. For example, the Greyhounds recruited five quarterbacks, including Fort Sumner’s Berry Stinnett and Onate’s Eric Flores, to join a roster that already has four.
“We tried to recruit just a bunch of good athletes and (we’ll) see where they fit in,” Ribaudo said.
Defensive players coming into the fold include Clovis High’s Morris Sharp, Rio Rancho linebacker Carlo LiRosi and Goddard defensive back Chase Kyser.
The Greyhounds lose 15 seniors from last year’s 2-9 squad, including defensive backs Jeremy Hibbler and Brandon Dominguez and receiver Michael Carrasco. The players coming in have a chance to fill those roles, Ribaudo said, and some could fill those roles immediately.
“There’s always a chance,” Ribaudo said. “Last year, we had 18 or 20 guys play as true freshmen, and some started. We’ll have to see where we’re at.”
Ribaudo said he’s hoping for a few more signings.
Eastern New Mexico University recruits as announced Wednesday by coach Mark Ribaudo.
The recruits, along with their position, height, weight, high school and hometown.
Wesley Gordon Wood, QB, 6-2, 165, Muleshoe HS
Eric Flores, QB, 5-10, 175, O