COPPERAS COVE — Eric Cain predicted it.

At last year’s state track and field meet, the Copperas Cove sprinter stepped onto the oval at Mike A. Myers Stadium located on the University of Texas campus prior to the Bulldawgs’ appearance in the 400-meter relay with an unconventional thought.

“I told my teammates that I wanted to run track at Texas,” Cain recalled.

Wednesday afternoon, his wish came true.

In front of family and friends, Cain signed a letter of intent to run for the Longhorns inside Copperas Cove’s gymnasium, and the moment was overwhelming.

“I’m just in shock right now,” Cain said. “It is a really surreal feeling. It is just crazy how everything fell into place.

“I said I was going to run track at Texas, and now I’m doing it.”

Cain was not the only Bulldawgs’ standout to participate in the signing ceremony, though.

Less than a week after placing second at the state meet, high jumper Josh Canete committed to compete for Texas-Arlington.

Having experienced a pair of life-altering events in a matter of days, Canete admitted it was difficult to distinguish between the two.

“They feel kind of the same,” Canete said. “I’m just happy and excited.

“These chain of events that have been going in my life are just very thrilling. It feels like I’m going down the right path.”

Copperas Cove head track and field coach Keith Stifflemire agrees.

“Josh is just a phenomenal athlete on the track who has qualified for the state track meet twice and regionals three times,” he said. “He is a great leader, and we are going to miss him, but like Eric, his leadership has shown through.

“Lots of young guys are going to step right in and continue our traditions because of what these two have done.”

Bulldawgs defensive back Marcus McCrea rounded out the trio of signees.

On the heels of producing a 20-tackle senior season, adding three pass breakups, the senior committed to play for the NCAA’s defending Division III champion Mary Hardin-Baylor.

After beginning the recruiting process in December, McCrea feels fortunate to have found such a perfect fit.

“I’m just relieved,” he said. “I got going late, so I wasn’t sure where I’d be going, but knowing I’ll be going somewhere as prestigious as UMHB is really relieving.”

Bulldawgs defensive coordinator Reb Brock echoes the sentiments.

“He’s going to a great program,” he said, “and it is an established program.

“I think he’s just going to continue to work hard, and he will be able to contribute to them some day in the future.”

Contact Clay Whittington at

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