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Home | Tag Archives: utep football (page 12)

Tag Archives: utep football

UTEP Football Season Ticket Deadline Approaching

Fans who purchase or renew UTEP football season tickets by Friday, June 2 will have access to special privileges, including the ability to purchase tickets to the Miners’ season opener at Oklahoma while supplies last.

UTEP will kick off the 2017 campaign versus the perennial national power Sooners on Sept. 2 in Norman.

By meeting the June 2 deadline, fans will also receive two free tickets to UTEP’s home opener against Rice on Sept. 9.  Fans who pay in full by June 2 will also enter a drawing to travel with the Miners to a road game this fall.  Accounts renewed by the deadline will receive the same donor parking from last season.

UTEP season tickets start at just $55 for five home games – Rice, Arizona (Sept. 15), WKU (Oct. 7), UTSA (Oct. 28) and LA Tech (Nov. 18).

To renew or purchase season tickets, please visit Payment plans are also available.

UTEP Football Scores High Marks in the Classroom

The UTEP football team has recorded the second-best Academic Progress Rate (APR) among all FBS programs in the state of Texas, according to the latest figures released by the NCAA on Wednesday.

“We take great pride in the fact that every single player in our program is on point to get their degree and be successful in life,” UTEP coach Sean Kugler said.

The Miners’ APR for the four-year period ending in 2015-16 is 980.

Rice tops the field with an APR of 984, followed by UTEP, North Texas (979), Texas (978), Baylor (973), UTSA (965), Texas A&M (962), TCU (955), SMU (951), Texas Tech (947), Houston (942) and Texas State (940).

The APR measures eligibility and progress toward graduation for student-athletes.  The average football four-year APR released on Wednesday is 962.

Thirty-Five UTEP Student-Athletes to Graduate on Saturday

Thirty-five past and present UTEP student-athletes will receive their diplomas at spring commencement on Saturday (May 13) in the Don Haskins Center.

The list includes 13 representatives from the football program, five from soccer, three from women’s basketball, three from men’s track and field, two from men’s basketball, two from rifle, two from softball, two from volleyball, and one each from men’s golf, women’s golf and women’s track and field.

Of the 35 graduates, 25 have earned placement on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll (minimum 3.0 grade point average) during their careers, and seven have been recipients of C-USA Academic Medals (minimum 3.75 GPA).

Spring 2017 UTEP Graduating Student-Athletes

Brittney Adams (Women’s Track & Field)

Has been a part of two C-USA Indoor Championship teams … member of the distance medley unit that won back-to-back conference titles …  Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Dominic Artis (Men’s Basketball)

Second Team All-Conference USA in 2017 … first player in school history to lead the team in rebounding, assists and steals … one of only four players in Conference USA history to tally 400 points, 150 rebounds, 150 assists and 50 steals in a season … ranks fifth in school history in assists including 187 in 2016-17, third-most in the UTEP record book … member of the 2016 C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Alexa Bain (Soccer)

Four-year starter on defense who helped UTEP post a record of 48-25-11 … started 64 of 76 games played, earning more than 5,000 minutes on the pitch … efforts aided the Miners in notching 33 shutouts for her career, including a single-season school-record tying 11 in 2016 … four-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Marketing major.


Bri Barreiro (Soccer)

Recorded 10 goals and 10 assists for 30 points while playing more than 5,000 minutes in her career … started 69 of 76 games played, including all 22 as a senior … helped UTEP post a combined record of 48-25-11 during her four years … two-time C-USA Women’s Soccer All-Academic Team member … four-time recipient of a Conference USA Academic Medal and four-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … management major.


Tyler Batson (Football)

Three-year letterwinner … saw action in 36 games as a wide receiver … led the team in yards per reception (22.8) in 2016 … during junior season, caught 21 passes for 365 yards with three touchdowns and a team-leading 18.8 yards per catch … posted a career-best 143 yards and a pair of scores, including a career-long 76-yard touchdown, during a win over Florida Atlantic in 2015 … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Cosmas Boit (Men’s Track & Field)

Four-time All-Conference USA and 2016 All-Region honoree … member of the 2014 C-USA Indoor Championship team … two-time C-USA Cross Country Championship team member … Member of the 2016 Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Criminal Justice major.


Cedric Click (Football)

Played in 48 games for the Miners …  tallied a total of 30 tackles, five pass breakups and one fumble recovery … as a sophomore posted 92 yards on five kickoff returns and a career-long return of 30 yards versus San Diego State … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Aleah Davis (Soccer)

Garnered All-League and All-Region accolades in all four years, making her the first Miner to achieve the feat … started every game (82) of her career … ranked tied for third at UTEP for game-winning goals (10) and tied for eighth in assists (17) … compiled more than 100 community service hours in her career … voted to the 2016 NSCAA Senior women’s College Scholar All-America team and the C-USA Women’s Soccer All-Academic team … recipient of the 2017 “Golden Miner Award” … four-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … kinesiology major.


Frederik Dreier (Men’s Golf)

Two-time Conference USA Golfer of the Year (2015-16, 2016-17), only the third player in C-USA history to garner the award in back-to-back years … has played in 46 tournaments for the Miners, compiling a 72.3 scoring average … led the Miners to their first conference title in 32 years this season … four-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Marketing major.

Derek Elmendorff (Football)

All-Conference USA Freshman Team member in 2014 … has played in 33 games, making 29 starts at right guard … part of an offensive line that led Conference USA in fewest sacks allowed in back-to-back seasons … efforts helped the Miners average 185.5 rushing yards per game and score 20 rushing touchdowns last season … has one year of eligibility remaining in 2017 … Criminal Justice major.


Jake Flaggert (Men’s Basketball)

Has played in 93 games for the Miners, making 31 starts last season … led Conference USA in charges drawn for the second straight year in 2016-17 and has 57 in his career … has one year of eligibility remaining in 2017-18 … two-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Marketing major.


Taylor Grohmann (Softball)

Won nine games during her career on the mound for UTEP, including a victory on Senior Day May 7 …  registered her first career hit on Senior Day and scored a run … posted a 5-3 record in 2016, helping lead the Miners to the Conference USA Tournament … Kinesiology major.

Amber Herrera (Women’s Golf)

Played in 29 tournaments for the Miners … top finish was a tie for fourth place at the New Mexico dual match in February of 2015 … former president of UTEP’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Interdisciplinary Studies/Education major.


Carnell Horn (Men’s Track & Field)

Member of the 2013 C-USA Outdoor Championship team … member of the 4x400m relay that qualified to the 2014 and 2015 NCAA West Regional Preliminary … recipient of a Conference USA Academic Medal in 2013 and three-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Biological Sciences major.


Alvin Jones (Football)

Second team All-Conference USA in 2017 … has 241 tackles with a year of eligibility remaining in 2017 … led the team in tackles in back-to-back seasons, notching 93 in both 2015 and 2016 … has 10.5 career sacks and 29.5 career tackles for losses … registered career-high 16 tackles in a pair of games … Communication major.


Lawna Kennedy (Women’s Basketball)

Junior college transfer who helped UTEP win the 2016 C-USA regular-season championship and make a run to the quarterfinals of the WNIT … played in 60 career games, including 36 starts, while earning 14.8 minutes/game … scored more than 250 points and grabbed better than 175 rebounds … health promotion major.


Jessica Kinder (Rifle)

Four-year team member who had career averages of 555 in smallbore and 582 in air rifle … recorded the second-best air rifle average (586) on the team in 2016-17 … fired a 592 in air rifle to tie for the ninth-best in program history at the 2017 Patriot Rifle League Championships … recipient of a Conference USA Academic Medal in 2015 and four-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … kinesiology major.


Anthony Kyles (Football)

Played in 20 games, making five starts at right guard … part of offensive line that led Conference USA in fewest sacks allowed for back-to-back seasons … efforts helped the Miners average 185.5 rushing yards per game and score 20 rushing touchdowns last season … Member of the 2015 Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Lindsey Larson (Volleyball)

Has played in 118 matches and 434 sets for the Miners … led the team in assists (642) and service aces (24) as a senior while finishing her career with 2,677 assists, 71 service aces and 317 blocks … named second team All-Conference USA in 2016 … four-time recipient of a Conference USA Academic Medal and five-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Civil Engineering major.


Mack Leftwich (Football)

Was the starting quarterback in 11 games for the Miners … as a sophomore, led UTEP in passing yards (1,228), touchdown passes (nine), completions (105), attempts (192) and passing efficiency (120.8) … threw for 231 yards with a pair of scores during a victory over Rice in 2015 … four-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Nicole Lindsay (Soccer)

Played in 81 games, including 55 starts, while securing more than 4,700 minutes of playing time … helped the Miners forge a record of 48-25-11 during her four years … played all over the pitch, contributing two goals and seven assists for 13 points … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … marketing major.


Sky Logan (Football)

Has played in 22 games, making 12 starts at the defensive end position … registered a total of 63 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, four pass breakups and one forced fumble … has one year of eligibility remaining this fall … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Jay Mattox (Football)

Four-year starter that played in all 49 games for the Miners … finished his collegiate career tied for first in program history with 137 PATs … also rates no. 2 among kickers with 257 points, and no. 3 with 40 field goals made … concluded his senior campaign ranked second on the team in points (54) and finished 39-of-40 on PATs … member of the 2014 Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Communication major.


Lulu McKinney (Women’s Basketball)

Graduating in just three years and has one season of eligibility remaining … helped UTEP win the 2016 C-USA regular-season championship and advance to the WNIT quarterfinals … has played in 92 games with 45 starts … already ranks sixth all-time at UTEP for three-pointers made (107)… two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Communication major.


Sterling Napier (Football)

Has played in 36 games for the Miners … was utilized in multiple blocking schemes last season, helping the team average 185.5 rushing yards with 20 rushing touchdowns … hauled in his first career touchdown last year versus Florida Atlantic … coming back for his senior season in 2017 … member of the 2015 Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Criminal Justice major.


Hannah Nicholson (Soccer)

Two-year letterwinner for the Miners before her career was derailed by injuries … in 2014 contributed one goal and five assists for seven points … four-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Mechanical Engineering major.


Danielle Pearson (Softball)

Ranks second on UTEP’s all-time wins list … hurled over 490 innings and recorded over 200 strikeouts for the Orange and Blue … also collected over 80 hits during her career, while showing power at the plate with three home runs and 45 RBI … Member of the 2016 Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Organizational & Corporate Communication major.


Erik Ramirez (Football)

Saw the field in the Miners’ 52-24 victory over North Texas last season … also played in two games as a freshman … has one year of eligibility remaining in 2017 … recipient of a Conference USA Academic Medal in 2014 and four-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Chemistry major.


Kevin Rincon (Men’s Track & Field)

Has ranked among the top-10 in the javelin at the C-USA meets … helped the Miners to a second-place finish at the 2015 C-USA Outdoor Championships …. five-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Kinesiology major.


Brendan Royal (Football)

Played one season for the Miners, seeing action in all 12 games in 2016 … recorded 33 tackles, 1.5 tackles for losses, an interception and three pass breakups … opened the campaign with three pass breakups, tied for third-most in a game in program history, during a victory over rival NM State … recipient of a Conference USA Academic Medal in 2016 and two-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Monthserrat Serna (Rifle)

Four-year competitor who had a career average of 531 in smallbore and 556 in air rifle … set a career-high in air rifle (569) at the 2016 NCAA Qualifier …three-time recipient of a Conference USA Academic Medal and four-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Biological Sciences major.

Sparkle Taylor (Women’s Basketball)

Prolific scorer who finished second all-time at UTEP in field goals made (530) and third in points (1,352) … also tied for sixth in free throws made (272) … 2017 All-Conference USA second team honoree and 2016 C-USA Sixth Player of the Year … helped UTEP win the 2016 C-USA regular-season championship … member of the 2017 Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Criminal Justice major.


Nick Usher (Football)

A three-year starter who saw the field in 49 games … last season he started all 12 contests and led the team in tackles for losses (8.0), sacks (5.5) and quarterback hurries (five) … rated third on the team with 77 tackles and added two pass breakups and a blocked kick … finished career tied for no. 10 in school history with 12 sacks … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Adrian Ward (Football)

Played two seasons for the Miners, starting in 22 games after transferring from Chabot College … earned 2004 All-WAC first team honors after tallying 59 tackles, 12 pass break-ups and five interceptions … led the Miners to eight wins and the Houston Bowl … registered a total of 98 tackles, 18 deflections and eight picks at UTEP … was chosen in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Naomi Whitehair (Volleyball)

Played in 260 sets over 87 matches in three years as a Miner … tallied 415 digs in her career … notched a career-high 16 digs against South Alabama as a senior … Health Promotion major.

UTEP’s Mattox Heading to 49ers

Kicker Jay Mattox will be heading to the San Francisco 49ers for a minicamp tryout. The Las Vegas, Nv. native is the eighth Miner to receive an invitation to an NFL camp.

Jay Mattox was a four-year starter who played in all 49 games for the Miners. The kicker finished his collegiate career tied no. 1 in program history with 137 career PATs.

Mattox also rates no. 2 in program history with 257 career points (kickers only) and ranked no. 3 with 40 career field goals made. He concluded his senior campaign ranked second on team in points (54) and finished 39-of-40 on PATs. Mattox connected on a career-best 7-for-7 on PATs and tied his career high in points (10).

As a junior, he connected on a career-long 50-yard field goal during a win over Incarnate Word.

During his sophomore season, Mattox took over punting duties and averaged 41.1 yards on 41 punts (1,687 yards), putting nine inside the 20-yard line and booting eight 50-plus yard punts.

UTEP’s Taylor Receives Tryout with 49ers

Former Miner Kent Taylor will be heading to San Francisco, for a mini-camp tryout with the 49ers. Taylor is the seventh Miner to be heading to an NFL camp and the second tight end from UTEP.

Taylor transferred to UTEP from Kansas and played in all 12 contests during the 2016 season. The senior added depth to the tight end core catching eight passes for 50 yards.

Taylor hauled in a season-long 19-yard reception on a 3rd-and-8 play that helped lead the Miners’ first touchdown during a 5OT win at UTSA.

Prior to UTEP, Taylor played in 11 games at Kansas and was the leading tight end with 15 catches for 179 yards and a score.

UTEP All-American Aaron Jones Selected by Green Bay in NFL Draft

The Green Bay Packers drafted former Miner Aaron Jones on Saturday afternoon. The running back was drafted with the 36th pick in the fifth round (182nd overall).

The last time a Miner was drafted was in 2008 when a trio was selected.

Tackle Oniel Cousins was selected by the Baltimore Ravens (third round, 36th pick, 99th overall), free safety Quintin Demps was chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles (fourth round, 18th pick, 117th overall) and running back Marcus Thomas was picked by the Dallas Cowboys (fifth round, 31st pick, 166th overall).

Aaron Jones set multiple school records during his prolific junior season including earning AP All-American third team and All-Conference 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.

The three-time letter winner 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. He finished the season ranked third in the nation with his 147.8 rushing yards per contest.

Five More Miners Heading to NFL Camps

Former Miners Nick Usher, Hayden Plinke, Darrin Laufasa, Cole Freytag and Jerome Daniels will be heading to NFL Camps.

Usher was picked up by the Seattle Seahawks. He was a three-year starter and saw the field in 49 games for the Orange and Blue. Last season, he started all 12 contests and earned All-C-USA honorable mention after leading team in tackles for loss (8.0-41), sacks (5.5-31) and quarterback hurries (five).

The linebacker ranked third on team with 77 tackles (35 solo) and added two pass breakup and a blocked kick. He ranked tied no. 8 in C-USA in total sacks and finished career ranked tied no. 10 with five other Miners in career sacks (12.0). Usher was invited to play in the NFLPA Bowl.

Prior to being a linebacker, Usher played three seasons as a defensive lineman. During his junior campaign, Usher recorded 46 tackles (27s/19a), a career-best 10 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, five quarterback hurries, 3.5 sacks and a blocked kick.

The Seahawks also snagged Plinke. He played two seasons with the Miners, started in 22 games and was on the John Mackey Award watch list both seasons. Plinke started all 12 contests as a senior and earned All-C-USA first team honors after producing a record-setting season.

The tight end stomped and raced past defenders on way to eight receiving touchdowns, the most ever by a UTEP tight end during a single season. Plinke 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. Plinke also participated in the NFL combine and the NFLPA Bowl.

Laufasa will be heading to the Cincinnati Bengals. He started 44 games for he Miners at fullback. His blocking efforts helped pave the way for Jones to rush for a single-season program-record 1,773 yards. The team capped 2016 season with a season-high 555 yards of total offense, including a season-best 384 yards rushing (most since 1983) and four scores during a victory against North Texas.

During his junior season, Laufasa recorded 183 rushing yards on 33 attempts (5.5 avg.) and a touchdown. Laufasa rushed for a career-best 85 yards on eight carries (10.6 avg.), including a career-long 66-yard touchdown run during a come-from-behind overtime victory at rival NM State. He tallied a career-best 100 all-purpose yards against the Aggies.

Freytag received a tryout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The El Paso native played for the Miners in 45 games and earned the starting position as a senior. The wide receiver led the team last season in receiving yards (520) and receiving yards per game (43.3), while ranking second in receptions (36) and receiving touchdowns (five).

The El Paso native produced a career-high 95 yards on four receptions while adding a season-long 46-yard touchdown catch during a victory against rival NM State.

Freytag tallied a career-high seven receptions for 84 yards and a nine-yard scoring catch against Old Dominion. He also hauled in a 30-yard touchdown reception, while recording 45 yards on three catches during a season-finale victory against North Texas. Freytag also saw action on special teams for the Miners.

Daniels was invited to a mini-camp tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a four-year letter winner that started in 35 games for the Miners.

During his senior campaign, Daniels played on an offensive line that paved the way for Aaron Jones to rush for a single-season program-record 1,773 yards, while Jones also became UTEP’s all-time leading rusher. The Miners averaged 185.5 rushing yards per game and scored 20 touchdowns on the ground.

As a junior, he played on an offensive line that led Conference USA in sacks allowed with only 12. During Daniels sophomore season, he was on an offensive line unit that only surrendered 13 sacks in 13 games (ranked first in Conference USA and eighth nationally).

UTEP Honors Athletes of the Year at “Dinner With the Miners”

Football’s Aaron Jones and Track & Field’s Tobi Amusan were named the UTEP Male and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively, at the 43rd annual “Dinner With the Miners” banquet on Thursday night at the Wyndham El Paso Airport.

Soccer’s Aleah Davis received the Golden Miner Award, presented to UTEP’s top all-around senior student-athlete based on athletics, academics and community service.  Former Miner volleyball player Christine Brandl was recipient of the Silver Anniversary Award.

Houston Baptist vs UTEP
Houston Baptist vs UTEP

Jones became UTEP’s all-time leading rusher (4,114 yards) in 2016, breaking a school record that had stood for 28 years.  He ranks seventh on the all-time Conference USA rushing list.  Jones set a school single-season record with 1,773 rushing yards.  He was named a third team All-American by the Associated Press and first team All-Conference USA.

Jones became only the second player in school history to rush for 300 yards in a game, and the first in 51 years, when he rambled for 301 yards against North Texas.  He was named the Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week for his effort.  Jones compiled 17 rushing touchdowns (third in school history), 2,006 all-purpose yards (fourth) and scored 120 points (third).

He led Conference USA and rated third nationally in rushing this season, collecting 147.8 yards per contest.  He went over the 100-yard rushing mark seven times, and had 200+ yards in three games.

Amusan made her mark during the 2016 outdoor season, receiving numerous accolades including first team NCAA All-American,

UTEP's Tobi Amusan in the Women's 200 meter dash at the  2017 UTEP Invitational, Kidd Field El Paso, TX
UTEP’s Tobi Amusan in the Women’s 200 meter dash at the 2017 UTEP Invitational, Kidd Field El Paso, TX

Conference USA Track Athlete of the Year and C-USA Freshman of the Meet.  She competed at the 2016 Olympics and World U20 Championships.  She broke a 33-year old school record, and posted the fourth-fastest time in the nation in the 100-meter hurdles (12.83 seconds).

She claimed titles in the 100-meter hurdles and the 200 meters at the C-USA Championships, while adding a runner-up showing in the long jump.  She was NCAA runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles.  Amusan achieved another school record in the 60-meter hurdles during the indoor season (7.98 seconds).  She claimed six first-place finishes during the indoor campaign.  She won two events (60-meter hurdles, 200 meters) at the C-USA Indoor Meet for the champion Miners.  Her time in the 200 meters (23.35 seconds) was a UTEP record.

Amusan was the C-USA High Point Scorer of the Meet.  She recorded a sixth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships to earn All-American honors.

Davis earned All-Conference (first team) and All-Region (second team) accolades for the fourth time in as many years, making her the first Miner to achieve the feat.  She started all 22 matches, tallying six goals and eight assists for a team-high tying 20 points.  She posted five game-winning goals.

She helped the Miners register their most wins (13) in seven years and advance to the semifinals of the Conference USA Championships.  She was voted to the NSCAA Senior Women’s College Scholar All-America Team and the C-USA Women’s Soccer All-Academic Team.  Davis also compiled over 100 community service hours during her UTEP career.

The Silver Anniversary Miner Award is presented to an individual who had a distinguished college athletic career, and has continued to contribute to UTEP and the El Paso community.

Brandl played for the Miners from 1988-91 and is the school’s all-time leader for assists (4,210) and service aces (148).  She was a second team Verizon Academic All-American as a junior and senior and was the recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 1992.

Brandl finished her Premedical Education at UTEP in 1992.  She completed her Medical Education from Texas Tech in 1996 and her Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas in 2000.  She became a certified OBGYN in 2002 and today operates her own private practice, Lifesteps OBGYN, in El Paso.  She has received numerous awards in the medical field and is a former Vice Chairman for Providence Hospital.

Brandl has also volunteered as a volleyball coach at St. Mark’s School and Mount Franklin Christian Academy in El Paso.

The grade point average award was presented to the tennis team, and the community service award went to volleyball.

In addition, team MVP awards were presented to Dominic Artis (men’s basketball), Sparkle Taylor (women’s basketball), Jonah Koech (men’s cross country and outdoor track & field), Winny Koech (women’s cross country), Emmanuel Korir (men’s indoor track & field), Tobi Amusan (women’s indoor and outdoor track & field), Aaron Jones (football), Frederik Dreier (men’s golf), Lily Downs (women’s golf), Bailey Powell (rifle), Alyssa Palacios (soccer), Kaitlin Ryder (softball), Raven Bennett (tennis), Lindsey Larson (volleyball), Bailey Sarver & Omar Gardea (Cheerleading), Jeanna Mullen, James Bias & Will Hernandez (strength & conditioning) and Ariana Rodarte (athletic training).

“Dinner With The Miners” is made possible by the El Paso Downtown Lions Club. The event was inspired by past Lion president John Phelan. In 1979, a $10,000 memorial endowment was established. Due to the overwhelming community support of the event, the memorial fund was raised to $100,000 in 1983.

A second endowment has already been established and continues to grow each year. These two endowments provide funds annually to offset the cost of student-athlete scholarships.

Miners Show Balance in 2017 Spring Game

Quarterbacks Ryan Metz, Zack Greenlee and Mark Torrez all engineered touchdown drives, and the defense registered four sacks in the annual UTEP Football Spring Game under the lights on Friday in the Sun Bowl.

“Kind of like our spring has been all along, both sides of the ball have shown tremendous flashes,” UTEP coach Sean Kugler said. “They are competing against each other. We got through the entire spring really with only one injury, and that’s [running back] Quardraiz Wadley. He has a shoulder injury, which we’re going to have to evaluate and see how that works going into the fall camp. Everybody else is completely healthy heading into fall camp, so we accomplished a lot this spring.”

Metz completed 12-of-17 passes for 94 yards, and was at the controls of the offense when Walter Dawn scored the team’s third and final touchdown of the night on a two-yard run. Greenlee finished 4-of-7 for 43 yards, including a nine-yard scoring run. Torrez was 3-for-9 for 20 yards, including a four-yard TD pass to tight end Josh Weeks.

“I thought Ryan was solid moving the ball,” Kugler said. “We got it stalled down there in the red zone, [and] he threw a nice fade ball there at the end for a touchdown. Ryan has had an outstanding spring. He is a leader and he works hard. Zack Greenlee moved the ball well tonight. Probably the guy that really had a great spring, and it’s not a surprise to me, is Mark Torrez from here in town. He’s got a lot of juice, he can run, throw, he’s got that moxie that you’re looking for in a quarterback. He’s going to be one to watch coming into the fall.”

Dawn led the Miners with 29 yards rushing on 11 carries. Ronald Awatt added nine rushes for 22 yards, and Kevin Dove had six carries for 21 yards. Even if Wadley can’t go, Kugler likes his depth at running back.

“I think we’ve got a lot of talent there,” he said. “We’ve got Ronald Awatt, Kevin Dove, TK Powell who was injured all spring and he’ll be back healthy in the fall, and then we add [incoming freshman] Josh Fields as well. We may add one more to that group. It’s a young group, but a very talented group. My biggest concern there would be more protection-wise when you have young guys like that, but we’ll be creative and make sure that we get that handled.”

Terry Juniel was UTEP’s top receiver with five catches for 47 yards, and Kavika Johnson chipped in with 29 yards on four receptions. Tight ends Weeks and David Lucero combined for four catches and 37 yards.

Two guys who have switched positions from last season, Dawn and Johnson, looked comfortable in their new roles.

“Walter Dawn is going to be a full-time running back and you saw him there stick the guy on third and one. Just because he’s small doesn’t mean he’s not tough,” Kugler said. “He can catch the ball. He’ll generate a lot of yardage back there catching the ball and also running the ball. He’ll be there full-time, and we’re leaving Kavika Johnson full-time at wide receiver. You saw what he can do tonight. He is going to be a talented player for us.”

Kugler said the Miners may add a player at wide receiver between now and the start of fall camp. “And Eddie Sinegal, right now he is suspended academically but we anticipate having him back in the fall as well,” he said.

Jerrell Brown, Alex Jean Charles, Josh Ortega and Barron Wortham Jr. recorded a sack apiece. Brown in particular was all over the field with four tackles, a tackle for loss and pass break-up. The defense was minus stalwarts Devin Cockrell and Dante Lovilotte.

Kugler said he has been very pleased with his team’s effort this spring.

“They compete against each other. They come out every day,” he said. “Really, going through spring ball, you would anticipate maybe having one bad practice. I think we only had one right there about the middle, we kind of jumped their tails about it and they responded well the next day. This team comes to work. As a head coach, this has been my most rewarding spring. We have had no off-the-field issues, knock on wood. These kids are taking care of business and they’re working hard in the weight room. I think they are ready to have a good summer and camp and they’re a hungry team. They feel like they’re kind of looked down upon and nobody gives them a chance, and that’s the way we like it.”

In fact, Kugler said this squad reminds him of his second team, the 2014 squad that finished 7-6 and played in the New Mexico Bowl.

“They’ve got a chip on their shoulder, they’re hungry, they work hard and there are no issues with these guys,” he said. “They come to work every day. I really like the team. This is the group we’re going to move into the season with, and I feel good about that.”

HP Sports In Depth: UTEP Football to Host Spring Game Friday

The UTEP football team will conclude spring drills this Friday at 6 p.m. with the annual Spring Game in the Sun Bowl.

Gates will open to the public at 5 p.m. and admission is free. Parking will be available north of the P-9 lot and at the lots around the Sun Bowl.

Concession stands will be open for fans, and various food trucks will be parked in the concourse, adding to the variety of snacking options for fans. Additionally, the first 300 students to arrive at the game will receive a free tank top.

As for the game, football fans will get to see a variety of different lineup combinations, a live scrimmage and simulated game situations. Special in-game videos will pit the players against the coaches in a variety of grueling activities.

After the game, the seniors and head coach Sean Kugler will sign complimentary spring game posters. There will also be a free football clinic for youth 13 and under.

Roster Rundown

UTEP returns 44 lettermen (21 offensive, 21 defensive and two special teams) from the 2016 team. The Miners have 14 starters (five offensive, seven defensive and two special teams) coming back. The offensive line will once again be counted on to provide stability with three starters returning from last season, including All-American Will Hernandez.

On defense, the linebacker core returns three starters (Alvin Jones, Dante Lovilotte and Jayson VanHook). Jones and Lovilotte rated first and second on the team in tackles last season. They combined for 182 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss. UTEP will also have 22 newcomers in the mix, with 17 coming out of high school, three junior-college transfers and two division I transfers.

Depth Cart Breakdown

The Miners’ two-deep roster has a distinct El Paso flavor to it, with 12 projected starters (five offense, five special teams and two defense) hailing from the Sun City. There are also five immediate back-ups (four offense, one special teams) currently featuring El Pasoans. In terms of experience upperclassmen are expected to account for 18 (nine offense, seven defense and two special teams) of the 27 positions listed on the depth chart.

Protecting the Field

The offensive line for the Miners brings experience to the depth chart this season. The unit lost two starters from last season but return Will Hernandez, Tanner Stallings and Derron Gatewood. Leading the way for the squad will be Hernandez, who in 2016 became the first UTEP offensive lineman to garner All-American honors.

The senior has started every game (37) at the left guard position during his three years with the Miners. The Miners also return three linemen that have starting experience.

Adding depth will be 2016 All-Conference USA freshman team recipient Greg Long. Long started a game at right guard before starting three at left tackle. At the opposite side of the line, junior Jerrod Brooks started the first half of the 2016 campaign at right tackle.

Also returning for the unit will be Derek Elmendorff. The senior has combined for 19 starts at right guard and will look to contribute this season.

All-American Status

Offensive lineman Will Hernandez has started every game in his three years with the Miners. Last season, Hernandez was the first offensive lineman at the school to receive AP All-American second team and FOX Sports’ All-American honors. The senior was also first offensive lineman since 2009 to earn All-Conference USA first team recognition.

Hernandez’s national recognition didn’t stop there, garnering Pro Football Focus Pass Protector of the Year. The Miners capped season off with two showings of more than 500 yards of total offense, including a season-best 384 yards rushing in victory over North Texas.

Amazin’ Metz

Ryan Metz played in 11 games, starting seven during the 2016 season. Metz completed 64.7 percent of his passes, the second-best completion percentage during a single season in program history. Metz tossed 14 touchdowns, the most passing scores by a Miner since 2010. Metz also led the squad with 1,375 yards on 130-of-201 passing and only four interceptions.

In fact, the El Paso native increased his touchdown passes from 2015 (six touchdowns) and decreased his interceptions from the season prior (seven interceptions). Metz’s 141.14 passing efficiency was the program’s fifth best single-season performance, while it ranked sixth in Conference USA. Metz produced big numbers during a 5OT win at UTSA.

Metz tied his career high with three touchdown strikes against the Roadrunners and threw for 211 yards on 15-of-23 passing. Metz was named one of eight Manning Award Stars of the Week following his performance in San Antonio. Metz produced two more solid outings in front of his hometown fans, throwing three more touchdowns against Houston Baptist and registering two passing scores, including a career-long 72-yard toss against North Texas. Metz also showed fancy feet, as he tallied a career-long 42-yard dash against the Mean Green.

Alvin’s Impact

Alvin Jones is returning for his senior season in 2017 at the linebacker position. In 2016, Jones played in 10 contests, making eight starts and missing two games due to injury. The El Paso native earned All-Conference USA second team honors after leading the team in tackles 93 (44 solo) and ranking tied 11th in C-USA in total tackles. Jones also led team with 72 tackles on rushing plays and ranked fourth in C-USA in tackles per game (9.3).

The Burges High School graduate added 6.0 tackles for loss (28 yards), 2.5 sacks (22 yards) and a pass breakup. Jones has 241 career tackles (seventh most at UTEP since the 2000 season), 10.5 career sacks (needs 1.5 to crack the program’s all-time top 10 list), 29.5 career tackles for loss (needs 1.0 to etch name on all-time top 10 list).

Jones opened his junior campaign with a 12-tackle performance, including, a tackle for loss, during a victory against rival NM State. Jones brought his best to the table when he established a caree best with 16 tackles (seven solo) against FIU.

The total tackles against the Panthers were the most by an individual UTEP player since the 2013 season (17 tackles). Five weeks later, Jones amassed 16 more tackles (11 solo) at Rice, while chipping in with a sack against the Owls. His junior season was capped with another 12-tackle outing, while registering a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss during a dominant victory against North Texas.

Making the Change

UTEP head coach Sean Kugler brought in four transfer players to make immediate impacts in 2017. Tight ends David Lucero and Josh Weeks, and a pair of defensive players, LB Kalaii Griffin and DB Kahani Smith, will don the Orange and Blue in 2017.

After Hayden Plinke graduated, Lucero and Weeks will look to fill the tight end gap. Lucero, who is 6’5 and 230 pounds, saw action in all 12 games at Arizona Western College, catching nine passes for 91 yards and a score in 2016.

Weeks, who also possessees great physical attributes (6’4, 255 pounds), played in two games at BYU (three rec., 23 yards) in 2015. Griffin registered 40 tackles (30 solo) in nine games played at Ventura Community College in 2016. Smith was a playmaker at Riverside Community College, seeing action in 11 games at the strong safety position.

Smith notched 36 tackles, four interceptions, 11 pass breakups and three touchdowns (a pick-six and two scoop-and-scores).

Bowl Mania

UTEP will face eight opponents in 2017 who made a bowl game in 2016. The Miners will open with Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl) on Sept. 2 in Norman,Okla.

After UTEP’s contest at NM State on Sept. 23, the next seven opponents are Army (Heart of Dallas Bowl), WKU (Boca Raton Bowl), Southern Miss (New Orleans Bowl), UTSA (New Mexico Bowl), Middle Tennessee (Hawai’i Bowl), North Texas (Heart of Dallas Bowl) and LA Tech (Armed Forces Bowl). Syracuse and Duke lead the list with 11 bowl opponents each, while South Florida will see 10. Florida and Tulsa will face nine bowl opponents, and East Carolina will take on eight in 2017.

UTEP-Arizona Football Game Moved to Friday Night For ESPN

The UTEP football team’s non-conference game against Arizona has been moved from Saturday, Sept. 16 to Friday, Sept. 15 and will be nationally televised on ESPN.  Conference USA’s first wave of national TV selections were announced on Thursday.

It marks only the second ESPN telecast of a UTEP football home game in the Sun Bowl.  The first was on Oct. 21, 2009 against Tulsa, a game the Miners won 28-24.

The Miners and the Wildcats will kick off at 8:15 p.m. MT in the Sun Bowl.

“We’re excited about showcasing our beautiful stadium and great fans before a national television audience on ESPN,” UTEP coach Sean Kugler said.  “It should be an electric night in the Sun Bowl.”

The last time the Miners appeared on ESPN was on Dec. 20, 2014 versus Utah State in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

Additional Conference USA football television exposures through other league television partners, as well as select non-conference road games that will air on other conferences television packages will be released as soon as they are finalized.

UTEP football season tickets are available now by calling (915) 747-6150 or

UTEP Renews Football Series with New Mexico and Nevada

EL PASO – UTEP Athletic Department officials announced on Wednesday that football series with old Western Athletic Conference (WAC) rivals Nevada and New Mexico have been renewed for future seasons.

“We’re excited to renew rivalries with old WAC foes New Mexico and Nevada,” said head coach Sean Kugler. “Both are teams that El Paso fans are very familiar with and will be excited to see.”

The Miners will play host to the Wolf Pack on Sept. 21, 2019, and travel to Reno, Nevada on Sept. 12, 2020.  UTEP is scheduled to meet the Lobos on Sept. 25, 2021 in the Sun Bowl while paying a visit to Albuquerque, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2022.

UTEP squared off with Nevada on three occasions (2000-02) previously.  The Wolf Pack has a 2-1 series edge, with the Miners emerging triumphant in Reno (45-22) during their WAC championship 2000 season.

The last time the Miners faced the Lobos was in the 2014 season opener at Albuquerque. UTEP defeated New Mexico 31-24 on its way to an appearance in the New Mexico Bowl.

The UTEP-New Mexico series is the second-longest in school history (78 games) next to NM State (94 contests). New Mexico leads the series, 43-32-3. The Miners and the Lobos were joint members of the WAC from 1968-98.

UTEP’s Ground Game Shines In First Scrimmage of Spring

Quadraiz Wadley rushed nine times for 72 yards and two touchdowns to steal the show in the first spring scrimmage for the UTEP football team on a windy Friday morning at the Sun Bowl.

UTEP’s rushing attack accounted for six of the seven touchdowns on the day, with Kavika Johnson (17-yard TD, 5-yard TD), Walter Dawn (10-yard TD) and Terry Juniel (13-yard TD) also finding paydirt. The Miners averaged better than 5.5 yards per carry (25-141), aided by five gains of at least 10 yards.

Strong wind gusts made it tough to accomplish much through the air. Ryan Metz (4-10, 36 yards, INT), Zach Greenlee (2-9, 33 yards) and Mark Torrez (1-2, 20 yards, TD) combined to go 7-21 for 89 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The seven completions went to seven different receivers, with Richie Rodriguez hauling in a 20-yard toss from Torrez for the lone score through the air.

There were also some bright spots for the Miner defense, which produced two sacks (Dylan Parsee and Dedrick Simpson) and an interception (Lawrence Montegut). Montegut and Johnny Jones were also credited with a pass break-up.

Nik Needham finished with a team-high four tackles while Dante Lovilette (three), Justin Rogers (two), Stephen Forester (two) also had multiple stops.

But the day belonged to Wadley. After being halted for three yards on his first rush, the rising sophomore was practically unstoppable the rest of the way. Wadley scampered for at least five yards on each of his final eight rushes, including bursts of 12 and 15 yards.  He also had both of his touchdowns (eight yards, five yards) in the stretch.

Tables Being Sold for 43rd “Dinner With the Miners”

Tables are now on sale for the 43rd edition of “Dinner With the Miners,” the annual awards banquet for UTEP Athletics. This year’s event, sponsored by the El Paso Downtown Lions Club, will be held on Thursday, April 27 at the Wyndham El Paso Airport.

Coaches and student-athletes will be in attendance for each of UTEP’s 16 Division I sports, with Most Valuable Athlete awards being presented.

UTEP’s Male and Female Athlete of the Year will also be announced as well as the recipient of the Golden Miner Award, presented to UTEP’s top all-around student-athlete based on athletics, academics and community service.

The social hour begins at 5 p.m., with dinner and the program to follow at 6:15 p.m.

Prices are $275 for three seats at a shared table with two student-athletes/coaches, and $500 for six seats at a shared table with four student-athletes/coaches. Funds raised are allocated to the UTEP student-athlete scholarship fund.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please call Jim Peak at (915) 581-0490.

UTEP Football Adds Former Montwood Coach Veliz as Wide Receivers Coach

Head Coach Sean Kugler announced Chuck Veliz as the Miners wide receivers coach on Friday.

Prior to coming to UTEP, Veliz was the head coach and athletic coordinator for Montwood High School for 13 years and compiled 11 winning seasons with the Rams.

While with the Rams, Veliz mentored current Miner Warren Redix who earned back-to-back All-District 1-5A Overall MVP honors. During his senior campaign, Redix compiled 751 rushing yards on 63 carries and added 39 tackles. Redix had four showings with 100 or more receiving yards as a senior. As a junior he notched 857 yards (13.82 average) on 62 receptions and five touchdowns.

The Rams finished the 2012 season 8-3 overall and 6-1 in league play. Montwood opened the season beating the highly competitive Odessa Permian.

In 2007, Montwood established a 10-2 overall record including an 8-0-league record. The team registered 270.3 receiving yards per game, 141.8 rushing yards per game and totaled 53 touchdowns in the season. The Rams recorded five showings of 300 or more passing yards.

In 2006, Veliz led the Rams to an 8-3 mark and a district championship. He mentored former Miner Julio Lopez, who guided Montwood that season and was named first team All-District, All-City and honorable mention All-State honors after registering 51 catches for 978 yards and eight touchdowns.

Veliz led the Rams to a bi-district title in 2004 going 6-0 in district play and advancing to the second round of playoffs. Leading the way for Montwood was three-star recruit Edward Britton. Britton was an Associated Press Class 5A First-Team All-State selection. While with the Rams tallied 2,172 rushing yards, averaging nearly 9.0 yards per carry and 220.0 yards per game. Britton was a four-year letterwinner at Texas Tech.

Prior to coaching at Montwood, Veliz went 35-10 at Del Valle from 1998-2002. In 2000, the Conquistadores went 11-1 and Veliz was named the El Paso Times Coach of the Year.

Before being appointed the head coach of Del Valle, Veliz served as an assistant coach for the Conquistadores for five seasons and began coaching high school football at Bel Air from 1987-88.

Veliz graduated from Ysleta High School in 1982 and received his bachelor’s degree from UTEP in 1987.

Veliz and his wife, Terri, have three children – Chris, Amanda and Joshua.

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