Hounds looking for 30 signees

Freedom New Mexico

PORTALES — Fifth-year Eastern New Mexico University football coach
Mark Ribaudo is hoping to have 30 high school players signed to
national letters of intent on today’s first day of the national signing
period.

The prospects are mainly from New Mexico and Texas, he said.

The Greyhounds, who went 2-9 overall and 0-6 last fall in the Lone
Star Conference South Division, had already signed eight junior college
transfers, most of them for the defensive side of the ball.

“I feel really good about it,” Ribaudo said of the potential high school haul. “It could be the biggest class we’ve signed here.

“We’re really pleased with what we’ve got there. If you add in those junior college kids, it’ll be a nice mix.”

Ribaudo said the emphasis was on defense with the junior college
players because that’s where the Hounds needed the most immediate help.
He said three of the players are defensive linemen, two are
linebackers, one is a safety and the other two are in the offensive
line.

He’s hoping some of the incoming freshmen will be able to step in and help.

“Some might make an immediate impact,” he said. “Some might be a
year or two away and a couple might be more than that. A lot of these
kids have outstanding grades.”

Presuming they get most or all of the signees today they’re hoping
for, Ribaudo said the Hounds could add two or three New Mexico
prospects, but most of the work will be done.

He said the coaching staff didn’t prioritize much by position with high school recruiting.

“At the Division II level, you just have to recruit everything all
the time,” he said. “It’s hard to create depth (at Division II). You
just try to get the best football players you can.”

The Hounds should have six or seven starters back on both sides of
the ball next year, Ribaudo said, but he added that they’ll still be
young.

“Next year, we could possibly have no seniors (starting) on offense,” he said.

Spring drills are scheduled for April. The Hounds open the 2009
season on the last Saturday of August with a trip to Colorado
State-Pueblo, a second-year program.

ENMU will host first-year program and future LSC member Incarnate
Word in the season finale in November, with nine conference games —
three crossovers against the North Division and six South games — in
between.