When Eastern New Mexico football coach Mark Ribaudo was looking at scouting tapes of Courtland White, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound linebacker from Cypress Falls High School in Houston, he liked what he saw not only in White, but in one of his teammates.
“Obviously we liked Courtland,” Ribaudo said. “And the next time I talked to him, I said, ‘Hey, who is that other guy on your team making all the sacks?’”
That other guy was 6-foot, 200-pound linebacker Derrel Gray, who had the second-most sacks last season in Texas high school football. Gray and White were among 13 players who signed Wednesday to play football at ENMU, the first day of the national signing period.
White said he knew early he and Gray would go to college as a package deal.
“Wherever I was going to go, I was going to bring one of my boys,” White said.
White said he and Gray visited ENMU on Jan. 14 and were convinced they would be Greyhounds in ’06.
“I liked everything,” White said. “I liked the stadium, I liked how they handled everything, I really feel like I can make an impact as a Greyhound.
“I can’t wait for the spring. I’m in a hurry for the year to be over so I can go play.”
This was Ribaudo’s second recruiting class at ENMU. In his first season, only four players signed with Eastern on signing day.
“This year blows last year out of the water,” Ribaudo says. “Last year I thought I was going to die. I thought I was going to jump off a bridge.”
As expected, 6-4, 215-pound Clovis senior Devin Sweet signed with Eastern to play safety.
Trey Wood, a 6-2, 195-pound quarterback-linebacker from Lubbock Cooper, said he was undecided where to attend college until last week when he made a visit to Eastern’s campus.
“I’m dang sure glad I did,” Wood said. “The coaches and the people made me feel right at home. Everybody treated me like they knew me.”
At receiver, ENMU inked Jesse Poku from Richardson, Texas, a 6-3 wide receiver who long jumped 23 feet 7 inches in high school.
“He’s got good hands and he can jump through the ceiling,” Ribaudo said.
The other five incoming freshmen are all defensive players from Texas. The Greyhounds also signed three junior college transfers; two from the New Mexico Military Institute.
“It’s a really good crop,” Ribaudo said. “They all came highly recommenced by their coaches. We are really excited about this class.”
Ribaudo said more potential recruits will be visiting ENMU this week and he expects to fill out the roster with four or five more signees.