Mavs add a pair of Division I talents
In order to play at the highest level in Division II, Mesa State College football coach Joe Ramunno knew he needed some Division I talent.
Two of the players in the Mavericks’ recruiting class are at that level.
Defensive lineman Cees Doxsey (6-foot-2, 280 pounds, from Erie) was recruited by Fresno State and Colorado State, and offensive lineman Corey Taylor (6-4, 285 of Hutto, Texas), was on Texas Christian’s radar.
“That’s what we want to get, guys on the cusp of Division I,” Ramunno said. “We didn’t even know if we had a shot at getting them. They will make us competitive.”
Doxsey and Taylor are two of 23 high school student-athletes to sign letters of intent Wednesday with the Mavericks. The signing period continues through April.
“I feel this is one of our better classes we’ve ever had since I’ve been here, and this is my 12th year,” Ramunno said. “It’s a combination of a lot of things with what we have happening here, and Grand Junction is a great community.
“I feel good about this group. They come from winners and are well-coached. They are good student-athletes.”
Ramunno signed six Western Slope products, 11 other in-state players and six out-of-state players.
Of the Western Slope players, two received conference player of the year awards and made all-state teams, Fruita Monument tight end Scott Miller (6-6, 225) and Olathe running back David Rhodes (5-9, 210), who led the Pirates to the Class 2A state title.
“(Rhodes) is a workhorse and classy young man,” Ramunno said. “We’ll probably look at him more at fullback, but maybe a linebacker down the road.”
Four others led Palisade High School to the Class 3A state playoffs: running back Zach Adair (5-9, 180), linebacker Jake Edmiston (6-1, 180) and wide receivers Steaphen Isaac (5-8, 170) and Matt Young (6-0, 180).
“They come from a great program and are winners,” Ramunno said.
Colorado all-state players Armando Gonzalez (6-4, 225, OL), Tate Mekelburg (6-3, 225, TE), Austin Rodriguez (6-0, 180, WR), Chris Sager (6-0, 220, LB) and Nick Greenfell (5-10, 200, FB) signed with the Mavericks along with Wyoming all-state offensive lineman Adam Sittner (6-3, 260).
Player connections helped Ramunno land strong safety Evan Altheide (6-0, 190) of Tempe, Ariz. Altheide played with current Mavs J.R. Hamm and Trevor Stapp at Corona del Sol High School. Altheide was a two-time all-region pick and made 17 tackles, two interceptions and forced two fumbles in one game.
Ramunno picked up one quarterback, Jason Haferman (6-1, 195) of Fort Collins to compete with two returning redshirt quarterbacks to replace Phil Vigil.
Haferman set several Poudre High School passing records, leading the Impalas to the state semifinals.
“He is solid. He runs a system similar to us,” Ramunno said.
Whoever ends up starting at quarterback will have several new receivers to work with after the Mavs signed Sousa, Brennan Belloni (6-0, 180), Issac, Rodriguez and Young.
“We’ll have three senior receivers next fall, so we know we need some wide receivers,” Ramunno said.