Copperas Cove Athlete Signings

Marcus McCrea, far right, of Copperas Cove waits along with Eric Cain II and Josh Canete to sign letters of intent at Copperas Cove High School on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

Marcus McCrea will do anything to play collegiate football except be given a position.

Copperas Cove’s senior defensive back began searching for a potential suitor in December, wanting to find a program where he could fit in, but merely accepting an offer would not satisfy McCrea.

He wanted to earn it, and during a signing ceremony Wednesday, McCrea inked a commitment to Mary Hardin-Baylor because the Crusaders offered everything he desired, including opportunity.

“I was sold when they told me I had a chance to compete for a position,” McCrea said. “I didn’t just want to come and ride the bench.

“So, when they told me I’d have a chance to get on the field, and once they told me that, it was a no-brainer.”

The approach is not surprising to Bulldawgs defensive coordinator Reb Brock.

“Marcus is a kid who has worked hard for four years,” he said, “and he had to work really hard because he wasn’t the biggest guy or the fastest guy.

“But he kept at it for four years, and he had a really strong senior year and really contributed to our team.”

McCrea finished the season with 20 tackles.

He was not the only Copperas Cove standout to participate in the joint ceremony, though.

Additionally, Bulldawgs sprinter Eric Cain committed to run at Texas, while high jumper Josh Canete signed with Texas-Arlington.

On the heels of collecting a silver medal during last weekend’s Class 6A UIL Track & Field Meet, Canete experienced another milestone by inking a letter of intent.

“The coaches were really nice to me,” he said, “the school was nice, and I know the education is good, so it was just the way to go for me.

“It was a very difficult process, but with the help of my family and coaches, I got through it.”

Cain, however, had no such issues.

“The first reason I wanted to go to UT was because they have a strong psychology program,” he said, “which is going to be my major, but I also have a real passion for track, and their team is really good.

“Last year, they won the Big 12 championship. So, after seeing that and seeing they offer the degree I want to pursue, it was like everything just came together.”

Although the Bulldawgs will lose a premier athlete in Cain, who was part of Copperas Cove’s 400-meter relay team that qualified for the state meet in 2016, Keith Stifflemire believes his presence will remain.

“We’re going to miss him,” the Bulldawgs head track and field coach said, “but like a lot of these guys, he has carried on our traditions.

“He’s leaving big shoes to fill next year, but because of his leadership, we feel the new guys are going to step right in.”

Contact Clay Whittington at

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