By Dave Wagner
Marcus Robinson admits living in Portales will be an adjustment from the bright lights of Dallas.
Still, with two of his former high school teammates on board at Eastern New Mexico University, he doesn’t anticipate many problems.
Robinson, a 6-foot, 205-pound fullback from R.L. Turner High School in Irving, Texas, and his teammate, cornerback Mark Patterson, were two of four players who signed football national letters of intent with the Greyhounds on Wednesday. They join defensive tackle Reggie Ellis, who will be a sophomore in the fall at ENMU.
“It’s a small city,” the 6-foot, 205-pound Robinson said of Portales. “Reggie told me a lot of good things about it.
“If Reggie adjusted, I think I’ll be able to adjust.”
Wednesday’s other signees were Michael Capparelli, a punter-placekicker from Houston, and Jeremy Thompson, a quarterback from Sweetwater, Texas, who is expected to get a look at cornerback.
ENMU coach Mark Ribaudo, who replaced the retiring Bud Elliott after spending eight seasons as ENMU’s defensive coordinator, said the Hounds lost out on a defensive back who committed to Southeastern Oklahoma and a linebacker who “had a change of heart and isn’t so sure he wants to play (college) football.”
Still, he thinks the Hounds got off to a good start on Wednesday. They hope to sign a total of 10-12 players.
ENMU’s offensive coaches raved about Robinson, Ribaudo said, adding that he won’t be just a blocking back.
“They said, ‘This is the one guy we want,’” he related. “He’s a halfback playing fullback — he’s not a plodder.”
Robinson said his team went 5-5 after a 3-0 start, finishing on a three-game losing streak. He rushed for 1,200 yards and scored eight touchdowns.
“We pretty much ran the same (option) offense (as Eastern) the last three years,” he said. “I think I will be getting the ball.”
Ribaudo said Patterson can play anywhere in the secondary. Thompson’s coach at Sweetwater, Kent Jackson, also coached former ENMU quarterback Steve Hinson at Olney, Texas.
Ribaudo said Caparelli gives the Hounds depth in the kicking department with junior-to-be Lee Price, adding that Caparelli will likely do the punting and Price the place-kicking next fall.
Soccer — ENMU coaches announced the signing of one player each on Wednesday for the men’s and women’s teams.
The women landed defender Courtney Croff of Piedra Vista High School in Farmington, while the men singed Jared Morris, a forward from Dallas’ Bishop Lynch High School.
Croff was a five-year letterwinner at Piedra Vista, ENMU women’s coach Travis McCorkle said.
“I think she’s a good defender and a good athlete,” he said. “Hopefully, she’ll come in and be a good fit.”
Carlos Elizondo, hired last August as McCorkle’s assistant, recently was named men’s head coach — duties he essentially had on the field last fall.
McCorkle said both soccer teams are looking at signing about a half-dozen players.