NMMI sophomore quarterback John Props (14) led the Broncos to a 5-5 record, and leads troop off the field. (Courtesy New Mexico Military Institute)
By Greg Price: CNJ sports writer
John Props has lived and breathed the daily grind of a military academy for nearly two years.
The former Clovis High multi-sport standout’s routine day at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell includes 6 a.m. roll calls, six hours of classes, military drills and group physical training formations as well as two and a half hours of studying. Lights out at 10 p.m., no questions asked.
A two-year starter at quarterback, Props also squeezes two hours of football practice into his already packed schedule during the fall.
“You get into a routine and everything about the school is accountability,” Props said. “It takes some getting use to, but you have no choice. I wish everybody can experience something like this.”
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Props quarterbacked the Broncos to a 5-5 record this season. He rushed for 340 yards and passed for 774 for the junior college’s triple-option offense.
Despite their record, the Broncos were second in the nation in rushing offense and sixth in total offense. All of NMMI’s losses were to top 10 teams, which Props believes the Broncos could have beaten.
“I feel we should’ve beat them,” he said. “But hopefully the sophomores set a foundation, and next year they can take it and go to a bowl game.”
Broncos coach Jeff Lynn said Props is the only football player who is a troop leader. Props’ troop contains 60 cadets, which he leads through their daily routine.
Props said he takes his military leadership role just as seriously as his role on the football field.
“It’s a great experience to be able to lead and to watch your cadets grow,” Props said. “Hopefully they (will) become leaders in the corps. I can’t wait to see.”
Props wasn’t interested in attending NMMI at first.
“I thought this wasn’t for me,” he said. “But (Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus) told me I could start all 20 games.”
Roanhaus was instrumental in the Broncos’ decision to recruit Props out of high school, Lynn said.
“I really respect coach Roanhaus,” Lynn said. “When he tells me he has a good player, he’s not going to lead you astray.”
Props ranks high in several career passing categories at Clovis, including touchdown passes with 18, fourth in passing yardage with 1,281, and fourth in pass completions and attempts.
Props is scheduled to graduate this spring with an associate’s degree in science. He is considering attending Eastern New Mexico University.
Props said Eastern has talked to him about playing football. He could have enrolled at ENMU for the upcoming spring semester, but opted to finish his degree at NMMI.
College update is compiled by CNJ Sports Writer Greg Price. Price can be contacted at 763-6991 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org