Six Cats may sign to play college football

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Devin Sweet would like to carry on a family tradition.

The Clovis High senior plans to follow his uncle, father and brother to Eastern New Mexico University in Portales to play football.

Sweet, the Wildcats’ quarterback and free safety during a 12-2 season that ended with a loss to Las Cruces Mayfield in the Class 5A state championship game, said he will sign with the Greyhounds on Wednesday, the first day of the national signing period. He is one of perhaps six Cats looking at playing in college next season.

Sweet said he expects to play safety in college.

“I want to go somewhere where I can play,” he said. “I don’t want to go to a big school and have to wait for three or four years.

“They’ve got good athletes at Eastern, but I think I could play there in a year or two. And we have a lot of (family) tradition there.”

Both of Clovis’ offensive tackles, Kendal Richards and Mel Grassel, plan to sign with New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell on Wednesday, while tight end-defensive end Chris Finch may also end up with the Broncos.

“I’m very nervous,” said Finch, adding that he isn’t sure whether he would play offense or defense at the college level. “When you start thinking about where you’re going to spend your college career, it’s hard to make your decision.”

Richards, on the other hand, said he’s looking forward to playing again with former CHS quarterback John Propps, who helped NMMI post a 6-5 record in 2005.

“They run that triple-option (offense),” said Richards, adding that he drew some interest from Division II schools New Mexico Highlands and Oklahoma Panhandle State. “I just thought that was the best way for me to go.”

Also, center Aaron Simon is planning to go to ENMU’s Lone Star Conference South Division rival Angelo State. Linebacker Jon Sweet, Devin’s cousin, was in Las Vegas, N.M., on Monday to visit Highlands.

“It’s nice that some of the seniors will get to play at the next level and get some of their school paid for,” CHS assistant coach Darren Kelley said. “Hopefully, they can build on what they did at Clovis.”

Both Richards and Grassel believe the regimen of the military college will be a good thing, and they also like being able to play with some of their high school teammates.

“It’s kind of weird leaving home,” Grassel said. “It’s just good to have people like that that can help me out.

“I like the campus there. (The regimen will) keep me on track and help me get good grades, and help me concentrate on football.”

Simon said he will redshirt next season at Angelo State, located in San Angelo, Texas.

“I was looking at a couple of other schools, but Angelo was the best school for me,” he said.

Coach Dexter McDaniel of Class 1A champion Fort Sumner said quarterback-linebacker Derek Dimitroff is likely to sign with NMMI, although adding it probably won’t happen on Wednesday.

“He definitely wants to go on and play football,” said McDaniel, adding that he expects Dimitroff to play linebacker at that level. “He’s one of the ones we’ve had come through here who can make it (at the college level).

“He’s got the ability, and he loves the game.”

Muleshoe coach David Wood said Mules running back-linebacker Brady Black has drawn interest from ENMU and West Texas A&M University, but could end up at Dartmouth in the Ivy League. He said Black will take a trip to Dartmouth later this month.

Wood said another option for Black would be to try to walk on at a Texas Division I school such as Texas A&M or Texas Christian.