Former Miners Aaron Jones and Hayden Plinke were selected to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine onFeb. 28-March 4 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The last Miner to get invited to the combine was Eric Tomlinson in 2015. The tight end currently is on the New York Jets roster.
The athletes will participate in medical examinations, interviews, test, NFLPA meetings, strength test and on-field workouts. Running backs will take part on on-field workout on March 3, while tight ends will be on the field on March 4.
Eleven athletes from Conference USA schools were selected to participate in the combine. LA Tech led with three invites, followed by UTEP and WKU with two. Jones is the only running back, while Plinke is one of two tight ends invited from the league (Jonnu Smith, FIU).
Jones set multiple school records during his prolific junior season including earning AP All-American third team and All-C-USA first team honors. The El Paso native rushed for a single-season school-record 1,773 yards, while climbing his way to the top of the program’s career-rushing list with 4,114 yards, breaking John Harvey’s 28-year old record.
Jones averaged 7.7 yards on 229 carries and scored 17 rushing touchdowns (third most in program history). Jones added three more receiving scores, while tallying 2,006 all-purpose yards (fourth best single-season performance in school history). Jones capped the 2016 campaign with a career-high 301 yards and a career-best four rushing touchdowns against North Texas. Jones’s 301-yard effort is the second most yards rushed in a single contest in UTEP history.
Jones is currently ranked third in the nation with his 147.8 rushing yards per contest.
Plinke started all 12 contests and earned All-Conference USA first team honors after producing a record-setting season. The senior stomped and raced past defenders on way to eight receiving touchdowns, the most ever by a UTEP tight end during a single season. The tight end led team in receptions (38) and touchdowns grabs and ranked second in receiving yards (456). He registered a career-long 72-yard touchdown during a season-finale victory against North Texas.
The Miners will begin spring training on March 6 at Glory Field.