Freedom New Mexico
Instate players make up a small but important part of Eastern New Mexico University’s 2011 football recruiting class.
Of the 24 players who signed Wednesday with ENMU, four were from New Mexico, including all-state quarterbacks Josh Houghtaling of Artesia and Jacob Jameson of Lovington.
The remaining players except one were from Texas.
Wednesday was the first day for high school senior to sign a binding national letter of intent to play college football.
“I’m just tickled to death with our signing class,” Greyhounds coach Mark Ribaudo said. “It was a large class and it took care of a lot of our needs.
“I’m just as pleased with our New Mexico class. That’s as good as it gets in New Mexico. It’s as good as anybody in the state, including the big boys.”
Ribaudo said the secondary, offensive line and quarterback depth were the key areas of concern. ENMU is graduating three starters from the secondary, including all-Americans Tillman Stevens and Rodney Mitchell, and three from the offensive line.
“We did a good job taking care of our needs,” said Ribaudo, whose team went 5-6 in 2010.
The Greyhounds signed four offensive linemen, including Andrew Lopez (6-5, 280) of Odessa, Texas, and Josh Sell (6-4, 320) of Liberty, Texas, and five defensive backs.
“All those defensive backs should be in the mix,” Ribaudo said. “We’ve got some kids on campus who can play, but we’re still going to need some of the freshmen to step up.”
Houghtaling and Jameson were two of six quarterbacks the Greyhounds signed.
Houghtaling threw for 3,463 yards and 41 touchdowns while leading Artesia to the Class 4A title. Jameson , who led Lovington to the 3A crown, broke 16 school marks, including career passing yards (8,449) and career touchdown passes (105).
“Not only can they be great quarterbacks, but they’re good enough athletes that they could play other positions,” Ribaudo said of his quarterback class.
Ribaudo said he expects a few more letters of intent to be faxed in today, including another top player from New Mexico.
“Some players couldn’t get to a fax machine because of the weather,” Ribaudo noted.
Josh Houghtaling (QB, 6-3, 210, Artesia, N.M./Artesia HS) — joins the Greyhounds after concluding a highly decorated career at Artesia High School. He led the Bulldogs to the 2010 state championship, earning 4A First Team All State and All-South honors along the way. As a senior, he completed 69.5 percent of his pass attempts from 3,463 yards and 41 touchdowns, while rushing for seven scores. Houghtaling also was chosen as the team’s Offensive Player of the Yea, KOB N.M. Player of the Week and received a 2010 Elite 11 invite. He was the QB Most Valuable Player of the 2010 NMPREPS Elite 100 combine. In addition to football, Houghtaling participated in basketball and track at AHS, winning the 2010 state championship in the javelin. He also is a member of the choir, National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Jacob Jameson (QB, 5-11, 175, Lovington, N.M./Lovington HS) — was named Mr. Football 2010 New Mexico after a senior year which earned him 3A Offensive Player of the Year, first team all-state, first team all-county, first team all-district, first team all-south and first team all-southeast honors. His efforts also made him a three-time Lea County Offensive Player of the Year selection. Over his career, he shattered 16 LHS records, including passing yards in a career (8,449), passing yards in a season (3,624), points in a career (552), passing touchdowns in a career (105), rushing touchdowns in a career (53), passing touchdowns in a game (6- twice) and passing yards in a playoff game (418).
Jeremy Buurma (QB, 6-2, 180, Las Cruces, N.M./Las Cruces, HS) — was a second-team all-state selection and a New Mexico South All-Star after a senior season which saw him complete 110 of 170 passes for 1,550 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,037 yards on 113 carries and scored six touchdowns.
Adrian Horton (QB, 6-3, 180, Midland, Texas/Midland Lee HS) — garnered second team all-district in addition to all-academic in his district honors as a senior at Midland Lee High School. In 2010, he passed for 1,570 yards and 12 touchdowns. Horton ran for over 600 yards and 10 touchdowns, He also earned all-academic honors as a basketball player and was a regional qualifier in the 300-meter hurdles.
Jeff Tuck (QB, 6-1, 205, Dripping Springs, Texas/Dripping Springs HS) — made first team all district and was the Most Valuable Player at DSHS. He passed for 3,168 yards with 21 touchdowns, and ran for 1,386 yards with 15 rushing touchdowns.
Logan O’Brien (QB, 6-4, 200, San Angelo, Texas/San Angelo Central HS) — earned first team all-district status at San Angelo Central High School during the 2010 season. He passed for 2,121 yards with seven touchdowns and showed his mobility, with 569 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
Andy Lopez (RB, 5-7, 155, Artesia, N.M./Artesia HS) — rushed for 1,739 yards for the state champion Bulldogs, finishing with 21 touchdowns and a 9.1 yards per carry average. A versatile player, he also caught 25 passes for 82 yards and three touchdowns and averaged 23 yards on punt returns. Lopez garnered all-state honors for the second consecutive season. As a senior, he was awarded with the Corey Tolle Fighting Heart Award. In his junior season, Lopez was chosen as the NMpreps.com 4A Defensive Back of the Year.
Dyland Walker (WR, 6-3, 205, Schertz, Texas/Clemens HS) — earned first team all district, All-San Antonio Area and all-city, for his play at Clemens High School last season. He caught 25 passes for 450 yards, averaging 18 yards per reception. Walker also participated on the track & field team, registering a time of 51 seconds in the 400-meter run, in addition to competing in the 4×400-meter relay.
Domingo Morales (WR, 5-9, 180, Hitchcock, Texas/Santa Fe HS) — hauled in 72 receptions for 990 yards and 15 touchdowns. He made first team all-district and all-county for his efforts and was named special teams most valuable player.
Lord-Byron Cannon (WR, 6-3, 200, 200, Houston, Texas/Lamar HS) — was a first team all-district selection for Lamar High School last season. He caught 17 passes for 402 yards and five touchdowns.
Dakota Lake (LT, 6-4, 240, Sealy, Texas/Sealy HS) — was a three-time all-district choice, including a First Team Unanimous Choice selection as a senior, playing left tackle at Sealy High School.
Josh Sell (OG, 6-4, 320, Liberty, Texas/Liberty HS) — was a team captain as a senior at Liberty High School. As one of the team’s top blockers, he earned first team all-district honors.
Colton Bowen (OL, 6-4, 255, Grand Prairie, Texas/Grand Prairie HS) — anchored the offensive line at Grand Prairie High School and should help bolster the Hounds’ line this season. In addition to playing left tackle, Bowen also started on the defensive line and for the Gopher basketball team.
Andrew Lopez (OL, 6-5, 280, Odessa, Texas/Odessa HS) — was a standout blocker at Odessa High School, garnering all-district laurels twice, including a second team selection as a senior. He also was a regional qualifier in the shot put, with a throw, which cleared a distance of 53’7”.
Wade Bounds (DE, 6-4, 230, Dripping Springs, Texas/Dripping Springs HS) — should boost the Greyhound pass rush, after recording 14 sacks and 114 tackles last season at DHS. For his efforts, Bounds was selected first team all district.
Xavier Bryant (DT, 6-1, 305, Mt. Enterprise, Texas/Mt. Enterprise HS/Kilgore College) — was an all-conference selection at Kilgore College. His versatility made him an all-district selection on both sides of the ball at Mt. Enterprise High School. Bryant is expected to be a key cog in the middle of the defense, for the Greyhounds in the upcoming season.
Cameron Mitchell (LB, 6-0, 205, Anahuac, Texas/Anahuac HS) — was his district’s Most Valuable Defensive Player and earned first team all-district honors in addition to making the Second Team All-Southeast Texas team. As a senior, he made 140 tackles, with 81 solo stops, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Collier Ward (LB, 6-1, 215, Hurst, Texas/Bell HS) — was an all-district linebacker for the Blue Raiders, registering over 100 tackles. A major force in the middle of the BHS defense, Ward was selected for the “Fighting Heart Award” in a vote by his teammates.
Thaddeus Backman (LB, 6-2, 207, Freeport, Texas, Brazosport HS) — earned honorable mention all-stats and first team all-district honors at linebacker for Brazosport High School. As a senior, he made 156 tackles, forced two fumbles, two fumble recoveries, seven quarterback pressures, two sacks and 11 interceptions, with one returned for a touchdown.
Dupri Wells (ILB, 6-0, 212, San Antonio, Texas/MacArthur HS) — should add leadership to the ENMU lineup, having served as a team captain at MacArthur High School. He was selected first team all district and all city, after making 111 tackles, including three sacks and 10 tackles for a loss.
Kevin Washington (CB, 6-0, 170, San Antonio, Texas/Sandra Day O’Connor HS) — earned first team all-district and honorable mention all-city honors at Sandra Day O’Connor High School. He made 60 tackles, five interceptions and broke up seven passes. Washington also averaged 12 yards on punt returns with three touchdowns. A versatile athlete, Washington also participated in track & field, with a 53 second run in the 400-meters and a 45’ triple jump.
Jamal Candley (S, 5-10, 185, Conroe, Texas/Oak Ridge HS) — garnered first team all district and all-county laurels as a senior at Oak Ridge High School. He was a defensive captain for the team and selected as the Special Teams Most Valuable Player. Candley concluded his 2010 season with 10 tackles and three interceptions.
Ryan Martinez (DB, 6-1, 170, Hereford, Texas/Hereford HS) — garnered first team all-district laurels as a quarterback and defensive back, along with an Honorable Mention All-State selection at defensive back in 2009. In 2010, he was chosen as the district Most Valuable Player as a quarterback. As a junior, Martinez made 75 total tackles, with 52 solo stops, five tackles for a loss, two sacks, five interceptions and seven passes broken up. As a senior, he passed for 2,340 yards with 21 touchdowns and ran for 1,049 yards with 17 scores. A versatile athlete, Martinez also was a regional qualifier in track & field, with a 6’4” high jump and a 44’ triple jump.
Avery Gilliam (DB, 5-11, 184, Houston, Texas/Lamar HS) — earned first team all-district at Lamar High School, where he serves as a team captain. As a senior, he made 72 tackles, including five for a loss, had four interceptions and a touchdown.
Jamison Ellis (CB/WR, 6-1, 185, Gilbert, Ariz./Highland HS) — brings plenty of leadership to the table as a three-year captain at Highland High School, where he earned honorable mention all-state honors. Ellis shattered the school receiving record over his career at HHS and hauled in 48 receptions last season, for 715 yards and six touchdowns. On defense, he made 42 tackles and three interceptions, with two touchdowns.
— Compiled by ENMU sports information department