By Kevin Wilson

56 players sign letters for ENMU


Last updated 2/6/2021 at 4:13pm

PORTALES — From a numbers standpoint, national signing day went about like previous ones did for Eastern New Mexico University, with 56 players inking letters of intent to join the Greyhound program.

From a talent standpoint, Kelley Lee thinks he might have his most talented signing class ever, in no small part due to the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on football at the Division II level.

With Division II schools largely sitting out the 2020-21 season due to the pandemic, and athletes not using up a year of eligibility, rosters are comprised of five signing classes instead of the standard four. Similar issues at Division I means far more players exist than opportunities.

“The Division-I schools had a lot less to offer (in terms of scholarships),” Lee said. “The talent level available to Division-II schools increased. I think we’ve got a really talented group.”

Given the current situation, Lee said the approach was to cast a wider recruiting net and get every position instead of filling specific voids. But there are some positions where Lee feels the Greyhounds got better talent.

“I feel like our defensive backs, our defensive line are a really talented group,” Lee said. “And we did pretty good at running back. I like the diversity in that group as well.”

The Greyhounds did lose a pair of Clovis commits late Tuesday, when running back Jeston Webskowski and linebacker Ernesto Acune got late offers from the University of New Mexico. Lee holds no ill will for kids who break a verbal Division-II commitment to take a Division-I offer, and said his program actually came out pretty well because they picked up players who would have signed D-I in normal years.

“Even though we lost a couple we would have really liked to have,” said Lee, who can’t discuss unsigned prospects, “we gained a few we weren’t expecting.”

The Green and Silver only ended up signing one player from Curry or Roosevelt counties — 6-foot-5 receiver Devon Bailey of Melrose — but there was some local talent a little further down the road with 10 players from within 100 miles and 11 players from the Land of Enchantment.

“I feel great about the kid from Melrose (receiver Devon Bailey); I think he’s a steal,” Lee said.


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