Some players chose to be Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds. Others just have it in their blood.
This year’s Greyhound squad has no shortage of legacy players — those who aren’t the first in their family tree to walk down the tunnels of Greyhound Stadium.
A pair of Greyhounds with family roots just a 15-minute drive from Greyhound Stadium — freshman Jesus Davalos of Portales and senior Devin Sweet of Clovis — talked about following in the footsteps of their brothers during Tuesday’s media day.
Sweet followed his brother, Dane Sweet, and his late uncle, Terry Sweet, into the Greyhound family.
“I always heard stories my dad would tell about my uncle,” said Sweet, noting that his uncle died in 1976. “He still has his helmet and jersey at the house.”
Years later, his brother Kane played his final two years at Portales after transferring from North Texas.
“That was always in the back of my mind, and it was close to home,” Sweet said. “It felt right.”
Jesus and his brother, Fide Davalos, already had one thing in common. Each led their schools to state championships in their junior year — the elder as a standout spreadback for Floyd six-man title squad in 2000, and the younger as a versatile running back for Portales’ Class 3A champion in 2008.
Jesus Davalos said Fide, who faced a huge jump from six-man to Division II football, warned his him about the level of competition.
“He said it was a faster-paced game, and the hits were a lot harder,” Jesus said.
Sweet conceded that in his later years at Clovis High, there was an obvious talent difference in players who would join college rosters and players who wouldn’t, and he would find it easier to do what he wanted in the high school game. That ended in college, where nearly every player was as talented or better than he was.
That was a lesson Karlton Graves of Brownwood, Texas, learned from his brother Taylor. The younger Graves, now a senior left tackle, joined the Greyhounds when his brother was a redshirt junior.
“It’s a whole different world from high school football,” the younger Graves remembered hearing. “The speed’s different, the game’s different, the competition level is different.”
Other legacies exist, as Sudan freshman Rhett Sain is a third-generation Greyhound, and sophomore Berry Stinnett’s grandfather Marshal Stinnett is a member of ENMU’s Board of Regents.
Quarterback Wes Wood and his cousin Lane, a linebacker, each hail from Muleshoe. The sophomores were preceded at ENMU by Lindsey Wood, another former Mule who played basketball for the Zias from 2005-09.
“She said it’s different, but it’s a fun different,” Wes Wood said of his cousin, and Lane’s sister. “She liked it, she made a lot of good friends, but she liked it because she was treated like an adult.”
Wes Wood said he never felt his cousin raised the expectations for him because she played a different sport, but he set his own expectations anyway.
Others, however, knew they were filling in some big cleats. Karlton Graves said he’s expected to be at least as good as Taylor Graves, if not better.
“ It makes you work a little harder,” Jesus Davalos said. “You want to fill their shoes, and do a little bit more.”