Michael Flood, a Maricopa High School senior, became the second football Ram in as many years to sign a letter of intent to play at University of Texas at El Paso.
He expects to follow Jacob Cowing to campus. Cowing had 550 receiving yards as a freshman for UTEP, an NCAA Division I program, and started seven of 12 games. While visiting the university, Flood and his family had lunch with Cowing to get an inside view.
“We went over there, and it was a great feeling,” Flood said. “You hear all these things about El Paso, but once you get over there, it’s actually a really nice city. It’s huge, and they’ve got a huge support group, a lot of fans at UTEP, great facility, great staff.”
The Floods moved to Maricopa from Ohio five years ago. Michael played on the Rams’ line four years. Harris called the recruiting process for him “arduous and stressful.”
He was one of two Rams on “Signing Day” to announce their decisions Wednesday. Marcus Brown signed to play for Culver-Stockton College, an NAIA program in Missouri. He earned the Wildcat Scholarship, an $8,000-per-year academic scholarship for four years.
“These are young people who have the opportunity to, No. 1, continue their education; No. 2, do so with little or no cost involved for them,” MHS head coach Brandon Harris said. “They can come out of school with no debt and also continue to play sports.”
Besides playing corner and wide receiver for the football team, Brown also ran sprints for the track team. He said he intends to study biology.
Brown said he used to live in Fort Leonard Wood, so Missouri is a familiar place. And the Culver-Stockton campus gave him a warm welcome.
“I like the campus. I pretty much fell in love with it. I like the coach a lot. We talk on Twitter every day. He’s a pretty cool guy,” Brown said. “I went down there and talked to the players and instantly made relationships. I already know who I’m going to roommate with.”
Harris said the recruitment process is eye-opening for the MHS athletes, especially when they see representatives from Division I universities on campus and checking out the program. This year, he said, there were about 35 recruiters.
He credited Principal Brian Winter and his emphasis on raising the academic standards to put student-athletes in a place where they are prepared for college classes while coaches prepare them for college-level play.
A handful of other MHS football players expect to sign letters of intent soon.
“It’s exciting for Maricopa High School and for this football program and for everyone involved,” said Athletic Director Jake Neill.