Socorro football player heads to Arizona
Charlie Savedra Jr., a former standout football player at Socorro High School, is switching fields. He’s transferring from New Mexico State University to Eastern Arizona College after being offered a full ride scholarship to play football for the Gila Monsters.
When Savedra graduated from SHS in 2010, he enrolled at NMSU and walked on with the Aggie football team. He didn’t play his freshman year and decided to make the move during spring practice this year.
“One of the reasons I left was because (NMSU) got a new offensive coordinator who likes to spread the offense, and at Eastern Arizona they have a running offense and that’s what I like to do,” said Savedra, who was a Class 3A first team All-State fullback his senior season.
Savedra, the son of former SHS Athletic Director Charlie Savedra, was also a first team selection at linebacker his senior and junior years.
“I like linebacker, but I think fullback is more of a fit for me,” said Savedra, who was a bruising between-the-tackles fullback for the Warriors.
Savedra put on 15 pounds of mostly muscle since he graduated from high school. He said he now stands 6-feet tall and weighs 225 pounds.
Savedra dedicated himself to football after he left Socorro. He went through workouts with the Aggies last summer and in the fall. He said he started thinking about leaving during spring practice when the new offense was being installed and found that he wasn’t getting enough reps to keep him happy.
“I talked to my dad about it and he told me to finish what I started,” he said.
So he finished the semester but started seeking other opportunities.
“I visited Eastern in late May and signed a letter of intent a week later,” he said.
Savedra thinks Eastern Arizona, a member of the National Junior Athletic Association and the Western States Football League, is a good fit too.
“They’re top of the line,” he said. “They’re nationally ranked every year and wind up going to a bowl game.”
Last year, the Gila Monsters finished the regular season 9-2 and earned an invitation to the Salt City Bowl in Hutchinson, Kan. They were ranked as high as No. 14 in the polls entering the game, but lost to Hutchinson Community College and finished ranked 20th.
Eastern Arizona plays the brand of football Savedra likes to play. The Gila Monsters have led the junior college ranks in rushing the last six years.
Head coach John O’Mera said he was already familiar with Savedra.
“We looked at him out of high school, but he went the Division 1 route,” the coach said. “I guess (NMSU) went to a passing offense and we were in need for a fullback, so it worked out good for both of us.”
O’Mera said there’s a lot to like about Savedra.
“Number 1, he’s a big, good-looking kid — a yes-sir, no-sir type of kid — who’s a student of the game. He’s a good running back but he’s a long snapper too, and it’s a big plus if you get a kid that can do both those things,” O’Mera said. “He’s also a coach’s kid, so all of those things put together drew our interest.”
Eastern Arizona, located in Thatcher, Ariz., has built a solid football program. They’ve posted a 42-15 record, including bowl games, the past five years.
“We’ve had good success, but we want to add to it,” the coach said. “We think he can be one of the key components. We like to run the ball and that might have been a lure for him. Him being a fullback, he’ll get a lot of touches.”
And Savedra still might end up playing Division 1 football somewhere two years from now.
“Last year we sent 16 kids to Division 1 schools, so we have a good ability to get kids placed,” O’Mera said.
The Gila Monsters start practice Aug. 7. They open the 2011 season Aug. 27 hosting the University of Sonora.
Savedra said he plans to study civil engineering but he wouldn’t mind following in his father’s footsteps and go into sports management.
Contact T.S. Last