4 Matador Football players find 4-year homes
Dec. 20th, 2012
Bibbs, Wren, Sendish, Reese sign letters of intent to commence NCAA’s early-signing period
Yuma, Arizona – December 20, 2012 -- Arizona Western College is proud to announce that four members of the AWC Football team-three from the 2012 team, and one from the 2011 team-have officially signed letters of intent to attend school and play football for 4-year universities this coming fall. Tight end Emmanuel Bibbs has signed with Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa; linebacker/defensive end Sam Wren inked his LOI with Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma; and defensive back Cassius Sendish is heading to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. In addition, tight end Greg Reese has signed with the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. The announcements helped begin the NCAA’s Midyear JC Transfer Signing Period, and come a little less than three weeks after Bibbs, Wren & Sendish made their final appearances in a Matador uniform at the 2012 El Toro Bowl-presented by Alexander Automotive Group-at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Yuma.
-For Emmanuel Bibbs, he’s spent the last 12 months waiting for this opportunity-ever since he watched last year’s starting tight end sign with a top four-year school because of the example he set with AWC. After arriving at AWC for his freshman campaign in the summer of 2011, Bibbs spent his freshman campaign as the backup to Darwin Rogers. While Rogers got the majority of the snaps, Bibbs came in and impressed during double tight-end sets, and when he had the chance to reel in a catch, he did it, including catching a 6-yard TD pass in his first reception as a Matador, and also snatching three catches for 19 yards in the NJCAA National Championship Game against East Mississippi in the 2011 El Toro Bowl. When Rogers moved on to Arizona State University, Bibbs saw his chance to become a major portion of the Matadors’ aerial attack this season, and accomplished that goal in top fashion. He continued to be a force in the Matadors’ blocking scheme that would spring DaSean Martin, J.C. Baker and Tanner McEvoy loose for a combined 1750 rushing yards. But it was his ability to catch passes and get them into the end zone that is what will stick with Matador fans about Bibbs, since the Chicago, Illinois native reeled in 22 catches for 230 receiving yards in 2012, and scored 6 touchdowns, saving the best for last with a catch in the 2012 El Toro Bowl where he caught at the Nassau 35-yard line, and weaved through half the Lions’ defense for a highlight-reel touchdown that wound up giving the Matadors the lead for good in their 42-37 victory. In the process, Bibbs earned a spot on the NJCAA All-American 2nd Team, as well as spots on the 1st Team All-ACCAC & 2nd Team All-WSFL squads. Bibbs now heads to a Cyclones’ program that takes a 6-6 record into their matchup with the University of Tulsa in the Liberty Bowl on December 29th.
-The move to Stillwater puts Sam Wren just a few hours down Interstate 35 from his hometown of Palestine, Texas. OSU was one of several DI schools that were vying for Wren’s services after he showed his versatility this past season wearing the cardinal and gold. Wren began the season listed as a starting defensive end after spending his freshman season entrenched there on the Matadors’ team that went to the national championship game last December. However, this season, that tenure at DE lasted only one game after starting 2011 defensive end-turned-2012 starting outside linebacker Randy Gregory went down with a season-ending leg injury four days after the Matadors’ season opener. The Matador coaches suspected that Wren could be the one who could fill that role of rushing linebacker, and shifted Wren from down lineman to that spot. Wren proved his coaches emphatically correct, recording his first sack of the season in Week 3, then averaging nearly 2 sacks per game the rest of the way, finishing with 15 sacks (including one in the 2012 El Toro Bowl against Nassau Community College) for the season, which was 2nd in the WSFL & in the nation. However, that stat only told a part of the story, since he also recorded a total of 20 tackles for loss (for 155 lost yards), 56 overall tackles & 19 solo tackles (both 4th-best on the team), and accounted directly for 9 Matador points on defense, with a fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown, and a sack in the end zone for a safety. Wren was named 1st Team All-ACCAC & 1st Team All-WSFL after the regular season, and his performance three weeks ago earned him AWC’s Defensive Most Valuable Player Award in the El Toro Bowl. Wren’s next move is to head to a Cowboys’ program that is anxiously preparing for a New Year’s Day matchup with Purdue (featuring starting offensive lineman and former Matador Devin Smith) in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
-Meanwhile, Cassius Sendish goes from being one of the star members of the Matadors’ ‘Pick-6’ Club to being part of a Jayhawks’ squad that will lose three of its star defensive backs to graduation, thus giving Sendish a chance to battle for a starting spot. Sendish was one of five different Matadors this past season that made the most of an interception byreturning it to the end zone for an important touchdown. Sendish was one of the first to do that in 2012, returning a pick 27 yards to paydirt that capped off one of AWC’s biggest wins of the season over 9th-ranked Scottsdale in Week 3. But while that may be the flashiest thing that Matador fans will remember about the Waldorf, Maryland, native, the Matador coaches will remember how consistent he was in a season that was anything but ordinary for the injury-depleted Matador defensive secondary. Sendish “saved the day” on many occasions during the season, since his 20 solo tackles ranks 2nd on the squad behind D’Vante Henry. He also had an eye for where the opposing quarterback was heading with the ball, since Sendish’s 11 pass breakups was easily the most on the team. He also finished with 39 overall tackles, and 18 yards accumulated in his 4 tackles for loss, all of which helped earn him 1st Team spots on both the All-WSFL & All-ACCAC postseason teams. Sendish will likely seek out one new teammate in particular on how to adjust from life in Yuma to life in Lawrence, since Josh Ford made the same move last year, signing with KU after a stellar 2-year career at wide receiver for the Matadors.
Last but not least, Gregory Reese didn’t grab the headlines during his lone season as a Matador, but his yeoman work on the line was enough to gain the attention of the Utes’ coaching staff, and prompt them to bring him into the Utah fold for 2013. Reese was on the Matadors’ tight end depth chart during their 2011 run to the national championship game, and was an important cog when both of the top two starters, Darwin Rogers and Emmanuel Bibbs, were forced to the sidelines during the middle part of the season with injuries. While the native of Camden, New Jersey, didn’t record a catch in 2011, he was part of the blocking scheme that helped Damien Williams earn the WSFL/ACCAC Offensive Player of the Year Award and the WSFL rushing title. Reese was also a part of the Matadors’ special teams unit.