Head Coach Dana Dimel announced his first UTEP Football signing class on Wednesday.
Dimel inked a total of 27 signees; six are transfers who are already on campus, 20 are high school athletes and one transfer who will attend UTEP next semester.
A total of 14 offensive players, 10 defensive players and three specialists make up the 2018 signing day roster.
The haul includes 14 student-athletes from the state of Texas, eight from California, two from North Carolina, one from Colorado, one from Arizona and one from Maryland.
Here’s what Dimel said at the Signing Day Luncheon at the LKD Center at the Sun Bowl on Wednesday.
“What a great time. What great excitement in the room today. There’s so much to talk about. This is a great time so we can talk about the recruiting and how it all falls into place. We can talk about the state of the program, the stories from recruiting.”
On selling El Paso
“We’ve really tried to sell El Paso because there’s so many positive things to the city of El Paso. As we were going through the recruiting weekends, I was obviously so busy working and making sure the program was getting starting off in the right direction… the strength program with the players. When the recruiting weekends came along I was getting recruited too. We were showing guys El Paso, and I’m looking at El Paso going ‘wow, so many cool things.’
On a typical recruit visit
“We started off with the Chihuahuas’ stadium, showing them that great venue there on Friday nights. I have a great story to tell about that. One of our coaches on our staff has been in the business for over 30 years. He and his wife have been in some tremendous places. Throughout their recruiting experiences have been multiple power-five schools and after that first Friday night we had at the Chihuahuas, his wife said ‘hey this was the best Friday night recruiting we’ve ever had. You talk about that, what a great way to start your weekend with the kids. And on Saturday and Sunday we tried to show them around the community, show them the campus. We would show them the UTEP Student Union but also the Doubletree Hotel; taking them up to the 17th floor of the Doubletree Hotel looking out over El Paso. Taking them to Coronado Country Club, seeing that view up there. Getting great support from the people there at Coronado Country Club, so much help from them as well. But the whole time I’m just looking at things going, ‘hey if I’m a recruit I’d love to come to school here. This is a great place.’ Compare it to other places that I’ve been, this has just got so many assets to build around the town. It was a great start to the weekends as we tried to bring these guys in and show them all of the positive things.”
On the impact of social media
“We also tried to reach out to them in the social media world because as you all know, as Jim (Senter) talked about, today’s day and age it’s all about social media for these guys. It’s all about being recognized. They want to see themselves on Twitter. They want to see themselves out there and for us it serves a two-way path. We also want to make sure that everybody is getting to know our players. We want all of you to know our players and get a great feel for what our players are about because the more identity that you have with our players the more you’re going to want to come watch them play and see what they can do. It’s a two-way street.”
On coaching the bowl game
“I stayed back and coached the bowl game and I wanted to do that for multiple reasons. Just because of loyalty to K-State but also the major reason was to get the national brand of UTEP out there on a national level. The exposure we got from coaching that bowl game and getting seen on national TV and having the success that our offense had was a really, really a positive thing for us to help to sell the program.”
On the initial recruiting process
“But during that time, we were also putting together a heck of a first recruiting weekend. Our first recruiting weekend came about, I talked about the things that we showed the players. We also had a lot of players who were already invested in the program because we were selling it.”
Talking more on social media
“After that weekend, we started putting out some tweets. One of my favorite tweets was that one that we put out where after we reeled in some of those guys we put out a tweet of a Miner strutting through the Mineshaft. I mean, that was unbelievable. That was great. It was really, really a fun thing. And then this last weekend as we went through, we were closing out and getting some really good players, getting some of the big dogs coming to the program. And we had on Twitter, we had a dog talking on the phone there talking to recruits. Some of that stuff is just some neat stuff and believe me, all of that stuff goes a really, really long way with these players.”
On his staff and the impact for recruiting
“With that all being said here we are. Obviously, excited about the staff that we’ve been able to put together here is tremendous and the players have fed off of that. The recruits that we’re talking to, it’s not only the program, the facilities, the town of El Paso, but it’s also how are you going to make me better as a coach? That’s one of the most important things that you can sell to the players is that we’ve got a staff that can make you a whole lot better as a person, as a student and as a football player. I think we’ve got a great staff to do that. I’m really pleased about the guys that are here with us to help it happen.”
On evaluating the program’s talent and how that impacted recruiting
“As you come in as a coach the first thing you want to do is evaluate the talent that you have on the team. Once we start talking about football strategy and some of the talent that we have on the team at this point. And we went back and looked at the numbers of the players that we had on each position. We went back and watched film on those players. We got time to evaluate them here through the offseason, you know the initial part of the offseason and that’s how we put our numbers together with the class. We’re looking at hey, where are some of the most important needs? Some of the most important needs, we thought, just looking at the specifics of the program, were to build our young offensive line numbers, our young defensive back numbers and our wide receiver numbers. As we addressed it, we said that those are some of the important things that we’re going to have to address. And then also on the defensive side of the ball we wanted to make sure we got some guys who could rush the passer because in today’s day and age you’ve always got to be able to stop the run defensively but you’ve also got to be able to rush the passer. We wanted to be able to get some guys that could rush the passer as well. And then we wanted to put together, not only help our young offensive line needs, but also make sure that we’ve got good numbers in the offensive line moving forward. Offensive and defensive linemen are such an important position to develop because the fact that maturity is a huge part of being a good offensive or defensive linemen. We said, ‘ok, how can we bring a good number of o-linemen and d-linemen into the program?’ And all of us know that the better you are up front on both sides of the ball the better you’re going to be. We addressed those needs.”
On the class a whole
“We’re bringing 27 players into the program; we’re bringing 27 athletes into the program right now. We’re bringing in 14 offensive players, 10 defensive players and three specialists. As we look at the quarterback position, which is very, very critical. We’ve talked about the offensive line position being very critical. We’re bringing in eight new offensive linemen, four wide receivers, and two quarterbacks into the program. That’s our 14 players on offense. And then on defense to address the defensive line we’re bringing in three defensive tackles, three defensive ends, three defensive backs and a linebacker. That gets us our 10. And we have our three specialists coming in as well. It’s important as you build a program, it’s just not offense and defense, you have to look at special teams. Special teams is about linebackers, defensive ends, fullbacks, tight ends and DB’s but it’s obviously about your specialists too. You have to build depth in your specialist positions. We’re bringing in a snapper, a kicker/punter, and we’re also bringing in another kicker. And then as you all saw the other day we’re being creative to find talent. From the tryout, we found three positional players too. A kicker, a kicker/punter and a snapper. We’ve already fortified those positions on the team because you’ve got to be well-rounded.”
On signing Tres Barboza
“Talking about specifics, Tres Barboza is one of our offensive linemen who we brought into the program. He’s here now. Tres is a great story because he speaks for what we’re doing here. When we recruited Tres, I talked about in my press conference, we were going to recruit based on what we saw on film. We’re going to recruit them whether they were four stars or had other offers and no other offers, we’re going to recruit guys because of what we see on film. Tres is a great story about that, because when we recruited Tres, he’s coming out of JUCO, he’s got four for three, which a lot of our JUCOs have eligibility wise because that was important to build for the future. We bring Tres in on a visit and we end up offering Tres. Well because of our reputation, the word gets out and before Tres gets back on Monday after his visit he’s got two power five offers and two other offers from schools within our league immediately after we offered. He went back home on Monday and thinking things over, he decided that he was going to go and look at all the other four offers that he had before he made a decision because he could come out at mid-year, stay a second semester. As a coach, you’re like ‘obviously, this isn’t your favorite.’ But the more and more we talked to him, the bond that he built with the players when he was here being very, very critical, the city of El Paso that he got to see. And so that night he changed his mind and decided to commit to us. Right off the gate that shows you, we talked about not being afraid to get into fights if we need to and we did.”
On five-star recruit Oscar Draguicevich
“Oscar is a five-star punter so you start off talking about how many programs across the country and how many programs in our conference can sit here and say they signed a five-star? We start off our first recruiting class with a five-star. I know that’s something to be real proud of and he’s also going to answer the question on the field because we know we have to fulfill that position and fortify that position as soon as possible.”
On talking about the quarterback position
“Then you talk about the quarterback position, and so the quarterback position is just indicative of our whole class right now. The quarterback position, we wanted to fortify the now to put the best program, the best team that we can put out on the field next year but we also wanted to build for the future.
“Obviously, we went out and got Kai Locksley, who was the junior-college player of the year and the number-one ranked quarterback in the country in junior-college football. We all know that it’s hard to be good on offense if you’re not good at quarterback. Everybody that knows the game understands that so to go out and get the very best junior-college quarterback that you can get in college football probably is the way to fulfill a need. We ended up signing Kai; Kai is very athletic. He runs extremely well. He’s very intelligent, which is important from that position, but he can also throw the ball extremely well. Having Kai in the program has obviously been a huge plus for us. He’s already here on campus working, providing leadership to our football team, showing off his athletic ability. On our visits, we measure wingspan because it’s important to have tall, long, explosive athletes. Kai, he’s a quarterback, but he’s got an 80-inch wingspan so that’s the wingspan of someone who is 6-8 tall. When he gets the uniform on, he looks the part.
“We also wanted to make sure that with that quarterback position that we were fulfilling it for every year in our program. We also added Brayden Hawkins to our program, and he is a really, really talented quarterback from North Carolina. He chose to come here all the way from North Carolina. He’s a big, impressive looking guy. He can see over the pocket, see things well. He’s got a really good arm as you can see on all the highlights here. But he also the thing that you’ve got to have to play quarterback for us, and that’s leadership. His football team was 12-1 last year, and he’s got good feet so he can move and do some things.
We had to fill the concerns about the offense so we’re trying to fulfill those concerns as much as possible by making sure that we have a quarterback in every class. Right now, you look at the UTEP football program and there’s a quarterback in every class. We’ve obviously got guys on the team that are going to compete for that starting spot as well. That’s one of the things that we said when we took over the program. We’re starting 1-0. This is all about the future of UTEP football, and everybody in the program will have a chance to compete. Kai and Brayden are here and the other guys will compete. There’s some good talent at the quarterback position, it just needs to come along, gain some confidence and some good things there.”
On the offensive line
“I talked about the eight offensive linemen. We’re going to have some big dudes coming into on campus. We got one of them, Tres that I talked about already, and the other seven are going to come into the program.”
On the wide receivers
“At receiver, we’re going to have Justin Garrett, who’s here right now and already working doing some really good things. Justin’s a great story. He comes out Compton, out of Los Angeles, out of the Compton area. His mom’s done a great job of raising him and giving him a chance to get an education as a single mom. That’s a great story. He’s going to provide a lot of leadership to our football team.
“We’ve got Andrew (Nwachukwu). He’s a guy that’s got some good length and some good speed. He catches the ball extremely well. When we recruit receivers, we recruit a whole mode of receivers. We recruit them from all different levels. We want a tall guy that can run, a short guy that is quick. We want a big guy that can catch the ball and run after the catch. There’s all kind of things we’re trying to form as we put together our receiver recruiting classes. We knew it was important to go out and sign some guys in that field. We’ve got Ricky Baker, a walk-on that’s a really good player from Prestonwood (Christian Academy) that’s going to a really good job for us as well. Then there’s Jonathan Patrick, a speed guy from Houston.”
On the defensive signees
“We have 10 signees on defense, six of them are defensive linemen. Three of them are inside guys. We talked about you’ve got to be good stopping the run inside. Jenson Misaalefua is a guy that we’ve signed from Carson (Calif.) is a powerful strong athlete. Trent Thompson is another inside guy that’s a tremendous player. He’s really athletic, runs extremely well. We signed Savien Jenkins out of Schertz Clemens HS. He’s an outstanding athlete who can do some great things on the inside.
“On the outside, we signed Praise Amaewhule from Katy Taylor HS. Praise is long and athletic. Praise had an 82-inch wingspan. He can run and rush the passer. He’s going to be a really special player for our program. Same for Nathan Logoleo from Mater Dei. He’s an outstanding player as well at the defensive end position. Looking forward to him doing some really neat things for us. We’re putting together some good pieces there in answering our concerns on the defensive line.
“At linebacker, there’s a lot of linebackers on the team right now so we didn’t feel that was an immediate need for us. We did sign Cal Wallerstedt. His dad played with me at Kansas State. He’s coming out of North Carolina. He’s a real physical player, played in the Blue/Gray All-Star game this winter and did outstanding in that game. He’s a tremendous player there at the linebacker position.
Then we went out and signed three defensive backs. It was important to get immediate help at the defensive back position. We went out and signed Josh Caldwell, a junior-college player. Josh again has four for three; he has four years to play three so he has some time to progress in our program and do some good things there. We’re very happy about what Josh brings to the table as well. “
On the class as a whole
“There’s a lot of ability that was put together in the recruiting class but the biggest selling point in all of it was what this program is all about. The trust that these players and these recruits have in what we’re bringing to the table. We’re an all-star cast of coaches, a lot of energy in the program with a great group of guys.”
On what regions UTEP recruited
“We hit Texas hard; we talked about proximity and where we’ve been. We used our connections in the state of Texas. We signed 14 players from the state of Texas. That’s important, we’re going to have to build from that. Then we signed eight players from Southern California. The proximity of Southern California is important as well. The parents of the recruits from Southern California, they can get on a plane and be here quickly. We hit those areas. The third-most state we signed guys out of was North Carolina. We signed two out of North Carolina. We signed one out of Arizona, one out of Colorado and then Kai of course is from Maryland via Iowa Western CC. We spread the country pretty well but we’re going to build our foundation from the state of Texas.
Coach Dimel Closing Statement
“That talks a lot of details about our recruiting, some of the stories that are involved with our recruiting. The most important thing is where the program is going and the excitement we have about the program. We’re looking forward to doing some special, special things here at UTEP.”
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/Previous School
Kai Locksley QB 6-4 200 Fort Washington, Md./Iowa Western CC
Brayden Hawkins QB 6-3 215 Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park HS
Gamaliel “Tres’ Barboza OL 6-4 290 Castroville, Texas/Tyler Junior College
Sheldon Benson OL 6-2 305 Schertz, Texas/Schertz Clemens
Cameron Cooper OL 6-5 260 Aurora, Colo./Grandview High School
Zuri Henry OL 6-5 280 Wylie, Texas/Wylie HS
Elijah Klein OL 6-4 300 Mt. Baldy, Calif./Upland HS
Chris Love OL 6-4 290 Tujunga, Calif./Crespi HS
Solomon Polk OL 6-7 290 El Paso, Texas/Andress HS
Tristin Tuialuuluu OL 6-3 300 El Paso, Texas/Del Valle HS
Ricky Baker WR 6-0 175 Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian Academy
Justin Garrett WR 5-11 185 Compton, Calif./Cerritos College
Andrew Nwachukwu WR 6-3 205 Wylie, Texas/Wylie HS
Jonathan Patrick WR 6-0 170 Houston, Texas/Cypress Falls
Savien Jenkins DT 6-0 275 Schertz, Texas/Clemens HS
Jenson Misaalefua DT 6-2 335 Carson, Calif./Carson HS
Trent Thompson DT 6-2 270 Houston, Texas/Cypress Falls
Praise Amaewhule DE 6-3 225 Katy, Texas/Katy Taylor HS
Nathan Logoleo DE 6-0 235 Garden Grove, Calif./Mater Dei
CJ Reese DE 6-2 250 San Antonio, Texas/Kansas State
Josh Caldwell DB 6-0 170 Norwalk, Calif./Cerritos College
Justin Prince DB 5-9 190 Inglewood, Calif./Long Beach City College
Ray Walters DB 6-0 170 Los Angeles, Calif./Locke HS
Cal Wallerstedt LB 6-0 225 Harrisburg, N.C./Hickory Ridge HS
Gavin Baechle K/P 6-1 160 McKinney, Texas/McKinney HS
Oscar Draguicevich P 5-11 185 Hutto, Texas/Austin CC
Ryan Warren LS 6-2 175 Gilbert, Ariz./Perry HS
Kai Locksley | QB | 6-4 | 200 | Fort Washington, Md. (Iowa Western CC)
Named the 2017 Spalding® NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year and earned first-team All-America honors following a stellar sophomore season … guided the Reivers to an 11-1 overall record and a victory in The Graphic Edge Bowl … accounted for 40 total touchdowns in 2017 … threw for 2,238 yards on 176-of-265 passing (66.4 percent) with 20 passing scores and only six interceptions … rushed for 705 yards on 112 attempts (6.3 avg.) and a team-best 20 rushing scores … threw for a season-high 274 yards on a season-best 31 completions with four passing scores, while adding a rushing TD in Iowa Western’s bowl victory over Northwest Mississippi Community College … tossed four touchdowns on eight completions and rushed for another score against Highland Community College (Kan.) … hit 100-plus rushing yards in three different contests … rushed for a season-high 128 yards and three scores at Coffeyville Community College … rambled for 115 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns against Dodge City Community College … put up big numbers at College of DuPage, finding the end zone six times and rushing for 118 yards … redshirted at Texas in 2015 while being switched from quarterback to wide receiver prior to the 2016 season … played at Gilman High School (Baltimore, Md.) and was a two-time All-State and a two-time All-Metro second-team selection … during senior season (2014), rushed for 1,050 yards and 17 scores and passed for 915 yards and five touchdowns as Gilman shared the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title … selected to participate in the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game … rushed for 795 yards and 14 TDs and threw for 875 yards and five TDs as a junior … helped Gilman to a 7-3 record, including a 5-1 conference mark, in 2013 … played wide receiver as a sophomore.
Brayden Hawkins | QB | 6-3 | 215 | Charlotte, N.C. (Myers Park High School)
Played 2017 senior season at Myers High School … tossed 54 touchdowns to only 12 interceptions and rushed for 10 scores in 28 career high school varsity games played (started at Dillon High School) … named two-star prospect by 247Sports after throwing for 2,878 yards on 227-of-375 passing (61 percent) with 23 touchdowns and seven picks in 2017 … rushed for seven touchdowns during senior campaign … Mustangs posted a 12-2 overall record and a 6-1 mark in conference play with a trip to the 2017 NCHSAA Football Championships … played 2016 junior season at Dillon High School, throwing for 2,734 yards on 154-of-218 passing with 31 touchdowns and only five interceptions … Wildcats finished 13-2 overall (5-0 region) with an appearance in the 2016 SCHSL Football Championships … threw a season-best five touchdowns and rushed for another during the 2016 season opener in a win against Mullins … passed for a season-high 271 yards on 11 completions (15 attempts) with three passing scores and rushed for another touchdown in a victory versus Marlboro County.
Gamaliel Barboza ‘Tres Barboza’ | OL | 6-4 | 290 | San Antonio, Texas (Tyler Junior College)
Played in eight contests at Tyler Junior College in 2017 … Tyler averaged 30.3 points per game and 375.4 yards of total offense per game, including 183.1 rushing yards per game with 17 rushing scores … played two seasons on the varsity squad at Medina Valley High School (Castroville, Texas) … played offense and defense while in high school, tallying 32 tackles … in 2015, MVHS averaged 139.5 rushing yards per game and scored 17 rushing touchdowns, while the Panthers’ quarterbacks threw for 2,376 yards and 22 scores.
Sheldon Benson | OL | 6-2 | 305 | Schertz, Texas (Schertz Clemens HS)
Played two seasons on the varsity squad at Schertz Clemens High School … named to 2017 Football District 27-6A second team offense … efforts on the offensive line surged Buffaloes to an 8-3 overall mark and 5-2 district record with a trip to the UIL Football State Championships … Clemens rushed for 2,046 yards and 22 touchdowns on 364 attempts (5.6 avg.) … the Buffaloes’ rushing attack went over 200 yards in five contests, including a season-high 273 yards on 31 carries (8.8 avg.) during a victory against Canyon … the Buffaloes scored five rushing touchdowns in a win versus Alexander … during the 2016 season, Clemens rushed for 2,539 yards and 30 scores.
Cameron Cooper | OL | 6-5 | 260 | Aurora, Colo. (Grandview HS)
Played three years on the offensive line with the varsity squad at Grandview High School … named to 2017 All-Mount Massive League second-team offense … efforts helped Wolves to a 10-3 overall record and a 5-0 league mark in 2017 … Grandview advanced to CHSAA 5A Playoffs, winning a pair of contests to advance to the semifinals … the Wolves rushed for 3,087 yards on 527 attempts and 33 rushing scores … GHS hit a season-high 405 rushing yards on 41 carries (9.9 avg.) and rushed for five scores during a win against Boulder HS … the rushing attack went over 200 yards in nine different contests, including hitting over 300 yards in three of those games … GHS quarterbacks combined for 1,120 yards with 18 passing scores and only five interceptions on 82-of-161 passing … in 2016, also played tight end … caught a 15-yard touchdown during a victory against Doherty … the Wolves posted a 10-2 record and 5-0 league mark, while advancing to the state playoffs … GHS rushed for 3,243 yards (6.5 avg.) and 39 scores in 2016 … the Wolves went 9-3 and 4-1 in league play and advanced to the state playoffs in 2015 … the Wolves rushed for 3,428 yards (6.6 avg.) and 40 touchdowns in 2015.
Zuri Henry | OL | 6-5 | 280 | Wylie, Texas (Wylie HS)
Played three seasons (2015-17) on the varsity squad at Wylie High School … played offensive tackle and defensive end in high school … named to 2017 6-6A All-District first team offense … the Pirates passed for 2,107 yards with 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while rushing for 1,985 yards and 15 scores in 2017 … registered a tackle in 2016 … Wylie threw for 2,328 yards with 24 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,501 yards and 16 scores to advance to the state playoffs in 2016 … in 2015, the Pirates posted an overall record of 9-5 while winning a pair of contests in the state playoffs … Wylie threw for 2,983 yards and 23 scores and rushed for 2,092 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Elijah Klein | OL | 6-4 | 300 | Mt. Baldy, Calif. (Upland HS)
Played on the varsity squad at Upland High School during the 2016 and 2017 seasons … named to 2017 All-Baseline League first team offense … the Highlanders averaged 49.8 points per game and posted a 12-1 overall mark with a 5-0 league record, while advancing to the Division 2 semifinals … the Upland rushing attack gained 3,269 yards on 395 carries (8.3 avg.) and amassed 50 rushing scores … the passing game combined for 2,658 yards on 155 completions, 33 passing scores and only eight interceptions on 244 attempts … the Highlanders went over 400 yards of total offense in 11 games and over 500 yards of total offense in three of those contests … Upland rushed for a season-high 380 yards during a win against Great Oak … the Highlanders rushed for seven scores twice during the season – the first came during a 77-21 win versus Etiwanda and the second was a 59-20 victory over Cathedral (Calif.) … Upland passed for 276 yards and six scores during a 62-3 triumph against Claremont … in 2016, the Highlanders advanced to the state playoffs … Upland combined for over 2,300 rushing yards and averaged 30.5 points per game.
Chris Love | OL | 6-4 | 290 | Encino, Calif. (Crespi HS)
Played offensive and defensive tackle during senior season at Crespi High School in 2017 … registered 12 tackles and a fumble recovery on defense … named one of the Los Angeles Times top preseason defensive linemen of 2017 … played three years (2014-16) on the varsity squad at Village Christian High School … during junior season in 2016, registered 44 tackles (18 solo), 4.0 sacks and a quarterback hurry … efforts helped Crusaders to a winning record (6-4) … contributed 39 yards receiving on three receptions and a touchdown … tallied 32 yards on two receptions with a long grab of 17 yards and a touchdown, while also recording three tackles in a win against Ganesha … registered seven tackles, a sack and a seven-yard reception during a victory against Coronado … tallied a season-high eight tackles against Simi Valley … posted sacks against Sotomayor (two tackles), Chatsworth (six tackles) and Granite Hills (two tackles).
Solomon Polk | OL | 6-7 | 290 | El Paso, Texas (Andress HS)
Played offensive tackle on the varsity squad for three seasons at Andress High School … earned 2017 5-A All-District Honorable Mention as efforts on offensive line surged Eagles to a 9-3 overall record and 7-0 district mark and a trip to the UIL State Playoffs … Andress rushed for 2,292 yards with 34 rushing scores and threw for 1,981 yards with 21 touchdowns … earned 2016 All-District 1-5A Honorable Mention during junior season as Andress finished 8-3 overall (6-1 in district) with a trip to the UIL Football State Playoffs … the Eagles rushed for 1,836 yards and 26 touchdowns while passing for 1,896 yards and 20 scores in 2016.
Tristin Tuialuuluu | OL | 6-3 | 300 | El Paso, Texas (Del Valle HS)
Started in 35 straight varsity games and was a three-time All-District performer on the offensive line at Del Valle High School (2015-17) … registered 86 pancake blocks during career, including 48 in 2017 … named 2-5A Offensive Lineman of the Year as efforts at the left tackle position propelled the Conquistadores to a 10-2 overall record with an 8-0 mark in league play and a trip to the state playoffs … Del Valle rushed for 2,331 yards and 27 touchdowns, while DV quarterbacks combined for 3,113 yards passing (229-336 – 68 percent) with 28 touchdowns and only five interceptions … named 2016 All-District 2-5A first team as Del Valle posted a 7-4 overall record (7-1 district) in 2016 with an appearance in the state playoffs after rushing for 2,354 yards and 37 scores … named All-District 2-5A first team offense as the Conquistadores went 9-3 overall in 2015 and rushed for 2,616 yards with 34 rushing scores.
Ricky Baker | WR | 6-0 | 175 | Plano, Texas (Prestonwood Christian Academy)
Racked up big numbers during senior campaign at Prestonwood Christian Academy … recorded 1,088 yards on 74 receptions (14.7 avg.) with 12 receiving scores in 14 games played during senior campaign … efforts surged Prestonwood Christian (12-2, 6-1 district) to a TAPPS Division I state championship … registered season highs in receptions (14) and yards (212) with a pair of touchdowns against All Saints … hauled in a season-most three receiving touchdowns, while adding 154 yards on four catches (38.5 avg.), including a season-long 79-yard reception during a win against John Paul II … tallied 139 yards on nine receptions with a long catch of 75 yards against All Saints … posted 104 yards on nine receptions with a score in a victory against Lake Dallas … notched 116 yards on eight receptions with a touchdown in a triumph versus Liberty Christian … registered six catches for 56 yards and a touchdown in the state title game versus St. Pius X … played first three years of high school football at Guyer High School (Denton, Texas).
Justin Garrett | WR | 5-11 | 185 | Los Angeles, Calif. (Cerritos College)
Played in 10 games at Cerritos College in 2017 … led the Falcons in receptions (38), receiving yards (592) and receiving touchdowns (five) … capped year with a season-high 153 yards on six receptions (25.5 avg.) with a campaign-best three receiving scores and a season-long 80-yard touchdown reception at Ventura … tallied season-high eight receptions for 134 yards with a 75-yard scoring catch at College of the Canyons … recorded seven receptions for 65 yards and a 37-yard touchdown at Palomar … averaged 27.5 yards on a pair of receptions against Golden West … recorded 14 receptions for 168 yards and a pair of scores at West Los Angeles College in 2016 … caught a season-high five passes for 74 yards and a score at Santa Barbara … played three years of varsity football at Gahr High School (Cerritos, Calif.) … during three-year career (2013-15), rushed for 473 yards (6.7 avg.) and three touchdowns, added 43 receptions for 495 yards and seven scores, and threw a pair of touchdowns during senior year … defensively, recorded 31 tackles, an interception and three passes defended … during senior campaign rushed for 413 yards on 54 attempts and three scores … registered two showings of 100-plus rushing yards, including a career best of 191 yards versus Artesia.
Andrew Nwachukwu | WR | 6-3 | 205 | Wylie, Texas (Wylie HS)
Played three seasons on the varsity team at Wylie High School … named to 2017 District 6-6A first team offense … led the Pirates in receiving yards (785), receiving scores (eight), receiving yards per game (78.5) and yards per reception (26.2) on 30 receptions in all 10 games played in 2017 … opened senior campaign with 163 yards on four receptions (40.8 avg.) and a season-high three scoring receptions, including touchdowns of 72 and 69 yards, against McKinney North … tallied 167 yards on a season-high seven receptions and a pair of touchdowns, including a career-long 93-yard score against Hebron … hauled in a pair of touchdowns on six receptions for a career-high 168 yards against McKinney … recorded 137 yards on five receptions, with a long catch of 75 yards and a touchdown during a win against Plano … registered 48 receptions for 650 yards and seven scores during junior season (2016) … named to 2016 District 6-6A second-team offense … posted career-high eight receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown against McKinney … posted first career 100-yard game against Hebron on six catches … recorded two receptions for 44 yards (41.0) during sophomore season (2015).
Jonathan Patrick Jr. | WR | 6-0 | 170 | Houston, Texas (Cypress Falls HS)
Played three years on the varsity team at Cypress Falls High School … named to 2017 All-District 17-6A second team offense … posted 98 yards on a trio of receptions (32.7 avg.) with a touchdown and a season-long catch of 80 yards against Cypress Ranch … returned three kickoffs for 63 yards (21.0 avg.) with a long return of 36 yards … added seven tackles during senior season.
Savien Jenkins | DT | 6-0 | 275 | Schertz, Texas (Schertz Clemens HS)
Played four seasons of varsity football for the Buffaloes … during senior campaign, notched 45 tackles (35 solo), two sacks (10 yards), one quarterback hurry, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery … recorded seven stops and two sacks in a victory over New Braunfels … tallied six tackles in each of the first four games during the 2017 season … registered five stops, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery versus Judson … as a junior posted 32 tackles (26 solo), a sack and two quarterback hurries … notched a career-best eight stops (seven solo) against Smithson Valley … recorded six solo tackles and a quarterback hurry in a win over Canyon … as a sophomore helped Clemens finish 11-3 and advance to the quarterfinals in the UIL State Football Playoffs … earned 27-6A All-District first team honors as a senior … participated in Nike Football The Opening Regional in Houston.
Jenson Misaalefua | DT | 6-2 | 335 | Carson, Calif. (Carson HS)
Played two seasons on the varsity team at Carson High School … efforts on offensive line propelled Colts to an 8-4 overall mark and 4-1 league record with a trip to the 2017 CIFLACS Football Playoffs … Carson’s rushing attack hit 2,241 yards on 307 carries (7.3 avg.) and 29 scores … the Colts averaged 27.0 points per game … Carson rushed for a season-high 473 yards (7.3 avg.) and seven touchdowns in a victory against West … the Colts hit the end zone with seven rushing scores again, this time during a triumph versus George Washington Prep … Carson tallied 392 yards on 25 attempts to average a season-high 15.7 yards per rush in a win against Banning … named to 2016 All-Marine League first team offense … played multiple positions, including fullback and on the defensive line in 2016 … rushed for 28 yards and two touchdowns on offense and registered 37 tackles and a quarterback hurry on defense … named offensive player of the game on Oct. 21, 2016 after rushing for a pair of touchdowns and tallied two pancake blocks during a victory against Gardena … earned another player of the game honor, this time on defense, tallying nine tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery … the Colts finished with a winning record and an appearance in the CIFLACS Playoffs.
Trent Thompson | DT | 6-2 | 270 | Houston, Texas (Cypress Falls)
During senior campaign, played in six contests for the Eagles … tallied 33 tackles (25 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries, three sacks (15 yards), two fumble recoveries, a safety and a forced fumble … posted seven stops (five solo), a fumble recovery and two hurries versus Jersey Village … notched two sacks for eight yards in victory over Cypress Lakes … recorded five showings with five or more tackles.
Praise Amaewhule | DE | 6-3 | 225 | Katy, Texas (Katy Taylor HS)
Played two seasons of varsity football for Katy Taylor … as a senior, registered 70 solo tackles, 23 tackles for loss, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles … was a team captain as a senior … During junior campaign, saw action in nine games … registered 14 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, nine quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles … recorded a career best of five tackles and added a sack in victory over Tompkins … notched a career-high three quarterback hurries in win against Magnolia … posted three solo stops, two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery versus Katy.
Nathan Logoleo | DE | 6-0 | 235 | Garden Grove, Calif. (Mater Dei HS)
Played three seasons of varsity football at Mater Dei … registered a total of 135 tackles (91 solo), 21.5 sacks, 19 quarterback hurries, four pass breakups, one interception and two forced fumbles … during senior campaign, notched 65 tackles (50 solo), 17 sacks, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, three pass breakups and a safety … recorded eight tackles (five solo), 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in victory over St. John Bosco … set a career best of 3.5 sacks (22 yards) and added six stops, a forced fumble and a pass breakup in win over St. Mary’s … posted seven stops (five solo) and a sack in victory over De La Salle … as a junior helped the Monarchs finish 15-0 overall and 5-0 in league play … registered 61 tackles (33 solo), three sacks, one interception and three quarterback hurries … posted two showings with 10 stops against St. John Bosco … in last game of the season registered an interception for 10 yards … notched two sacks for nine yards, one quarterback hurry, one pass breakup, five tackles and three tackles for loss in win over Edison … played in three games as a sophomore … tallied nine tackles, 1.5 sacks (10 yards) and two quarterback hurries … notched four solo stops versus Centennial.
CJ Reese | DE | 6-2 | 250 | San Antonio, Texas (Kansas State)
Played three years at Kansas State (2015-17) under current UTEP head coach Dana Dimel … appeared in one game (vs. Charlotte), recording a tackle in 2017 … in 2016, saw action in seven contests, posting his first career tackle against Florida Atlantic … did not see any game action in 2015 and redshirted in 2014 … three-year letterwinner at James Madison High School (San Antonio, Texas) under head coach Jim Streety … helped Mavericks to a combined 31-13 record over three-year prep career with state semifinal appearances during sophomore and senior campaigns … earned second team All-District 26-5A honors as both a junior and senior … rated the nation’s 44th-best defensive tackle by Scout.com … selected to play in the San Antonio Sports All-Star Football Game held at the Alamodome.
Josh Caldwell | DB | 6-0 | 170 | Long Beach, Calif. (Cerritos College)
Played the 2017 season at Cerritos College … posted 40 tackles (21 solo) with 4.5 tackles for loss (15 yards) and an interception in all 10 games played … posted six tackles with a tackle for loss and an interception at Fullerton … tallied six tackles with a tackle for loss at Ventura … registered five tackles in back-to-back games (at Palomar, vs. Golden West) … redshirted at Cerritos College in 2016 … member of a CIF Championship and State Championship team as a senior at La Mirada High School (Norwalk, Calif.) … recorded 46 tackles with three forced fumbles and one interception, helping the Matadores finish 13-3 and 6-0 in league play in 2015 … earned second team All-League honors as a junior, tallying 25 tackles and an interception.
Justin Prince | DB | 5-9 | 190 | Inglewood, Calif. (Long Beach City College)
Played in all 11 contests at Long Beach City College in 2017 … led team with 66 tackles (22 solo) as a freshman … added 2.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, one interception and two pass breakups … picked off a pass in victory over Golden West and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown … registered four tackles and returned a fumble for a touchdown at Canyons … posted a career-high nine stops in win versus Mt. San Antonio … recorded eight tackles in close victory over El Camino to clinch National Central Conference Championship … named to Southern California Football Association National Division All-Central first team and earned two Defensive Player of the Week honors … helped lead the Vikings to a Patriotic Bowl victory to finish the season 8-3 overall … played three seasons at Narbonne HS and notched a total of 217 tackles (152 solo), 10 tackles for loss, six interceptions, 35 pass breakups, three sacks, two quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery … during senior season led the team to a 14-1 overall record … tallied 79 tackles (58 solo), 15 pass breakups, four interceptions, one fumble recovery and a sack … in 2015 the Gauchos went 14-2 and won the Division I-A Championship … as a junior, registered 86 tackles (57 solo), 13 pass breakups, two interceptions, one sack and one quarterback hurry … during sophomore season registered a career-best 12 tackles versus Serra … received three Defensive Narbonne Football Player of the Game honors.
Ray Walters III | DB | 6-0 | 170 | Los Angeles, Calif. (Locke HS)
Played wide receiver and strong safety on the varsity squad in 2017 at Locke High School … after a two-win season in 2016, Locke HS went 10-3, including a 4-0 league mark, with a trip to the CIFLACS Football Playoffs – Division III … registered 44 yards on three receptions with a pair of touchdowns, reeled off a 23-yard rush and tallied six tackles in a win against View Park … tallied a 48-yard receiving score, a pick-six and five tackles in a victory versus Fremont … registered three catches for 34 yards and a score with an interception in a triumph against St. Monica … hauled in an 85-yard score, returned two kickoffs for 95 yards and registered a 20-yard rush in a win versus Oxnard … recorded six tackles, a three-yard reception and 22 yards on two rushes against George Washington Prep.
Cal Wallerstedt | LB | 6-0 | 225 | Harrisburg, N.C. (Hickory Ridge HS)
Played three seasons of varsity football for the Ragin’ Bulls … helping the squad go 11-3 overall and 5-2 in league play in 2017 … recorded a total of 362 tackles, 7.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, four quarterback hurries, six pass breakups, four fumble recoveries, one safety, one blocked field goal and two interceptions … during senior campaign, tallied 181 tackles (108 solo), 3.5 sacks, one interception, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles … registered a career-best 21 stops (16 solo) and a forced fumble in victory over David W. Butler … posted 11 showings with 10 or more tackles … opened season by posting 18 tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks (11 yards) in win over Concord … led team to a 28-6 victory over Rocky River with 18 stops, one pass breakup and one blocked field goal … posted an interception for 25 yards in 45-0 victory over Garinger … as a junior posted 167 stops, four sacks, two forced fumbles, four quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and one interception … notched 11 showings with 10 or more tackles … helped the Ragin’ Bulls finish 12-3 overall and 7-2 in league play … recorded a season best of 16 stops versus Northwest Cabarrus and West Rowan … tallied two sacks for 14 yards in 49-7 win over Asheville … posted three showings with 14 tackles against Central Cabarrus, South Rowan and Weddington … as a sophomore saw action in four games and registered 44 total tackles … was named Defensive Player of the Game three times in 2017.
Gavin Baechle | K/P | 6-1 | 160 | McKinney, Texas (McKinney HS)
Played on the varsity team for three seasons at McKinney High School … played special teams during high school career at the kicker and punter positions … overall in 31 career games, recorded 2,372 yards on 69 punts (34.4 avg.) with 11 inside the 20-yard line, while making 89-of-91 PATs and connecting on a perfect 12-for-12 field goal attempts for 125 career points … tallied 1,131 yards on 31 punts (36.5 avg.) in 2017 with a long boot of 64 yards and nine inside the 20-yard line … connected on 37-of-39 PATs and was a perfect 7-for-7 on field goal attempts during senior campaign … averaged 48.0 yards on three punts against Wylie … in 2016, averaged 32.6 yards on 34 punts (1,110 yards) with a long of 64 yards … was perfect on PATs (32-32) and field goals (4-4) during junior campaign, including a career long 42-yard made field goal attempt … made 20-of-20 PATs and connected on only field goal attempt in 2015.
Oscar Draguicevich | P | 5-11 | 185 | Hutto, Texas (Austin CC)
Attended Temple Junior College in 2017 … recorded 3,135 yards on 74 punts (42.4 avg.) with 17 inside the 20-yard line and 14 boots of 50-plus yard in 11 games played at Incarnate Word during the 2016 campaign … tallied a season-high 507 yards on 12 punts (42.3 avg.) and placed three inside the 20-yard line at Lamar … totaled 468 yards on 11 boots (42.6) at Nicholls … averaged a season-best 52.3 yards on four punts (209 yards), including a season-long 68-yard kick against Texas A&M-Kingsville … launched a 67-yard punt at Abilene Christian … averaged 48.6 yards on five punts (243 yards) with a long kick of 62 yards … placed four punts inside the 20-yard line at Texas State … during senior season at Hutto High School in 2015, kicked 31 punts for 1,051 yards with three inside the 20-yard line … was also the field goal kicker for the Hippos, going a perfect 37-for-37 on PAT kicks and connecting on five field goals … registered 52 total points.
Ryan Warren | LS | 6-2 | 175 | Gilbert, Ariz. (Perry HS)
Played the long snapper position on the varsity squad for two seasons (2016, 2017) … competed at Kohl’s Western Showcase and snapped with power and consistency … scored on 11 of 12 long snaps and finished the day with an average snap time of seven seconds … ran a 4.93-second 40-yard dash and jumped over eight feet in the broad jump … ranks no. 25 on the Korn Blue Kicking Fab 50 Top Snappers.