The UTEP football team will conclude spring drills on Saturday at noon in the Sun Bowl.
Fans are invited to come see the Miners put the finishing touches on their spring workouts. Gates will open to the public starting at 11 a.m. Admission and parking is free.
Fans should enter and exit through the north gate of the Sun Bowl and park in GR2 lot. All other gates will be closed.
The Miners’ 2019 home slate includes the renewal of the series versus former WAC rival Nevada (September 21) and match-ups with C-USA in-state foes UTSA (October 5) and Rice (November 30). UTEP will also face Charlotte for the first time ever in the Sun Bowl on November 9.
UTEP returns 49 letter winners and a total of 12 starters, including seven on offense, four on defense and one on special teams. The Miner offense welcomes back quarterback Kai Locksley, running back Quardraiz Wadley, wide receiver Keynan Fosterand four offensive linemen (Markos Lujan, Bobby DeHaro, Ruben Guerraand Zuri Henry).
Seniors Denzel Chukwukelu and Chris Richardson are back to anchor the defensive line, while Sione Tupou will lead the linebackers and Michael Lewis the safeties. Punter Mitchell Crawford returns for his second season with the Miners.
Last year, the Miners suffered multiple season-ending injuries early on that hindered the offensive line. Seniors Derron Gatewood and Greg Long both missed the entire 2018 season due to injury. UTEP enters 2019 with more strength, returning eight players who have combined for 84 starts.
Gatewood brings the most experience to the line, having made 22 starts. Also adding depth at the line are seniors Ruben Guerra, Long, Markos Lujan and Bijan Hosseini. Guerra has made 15 collegiate starts and has seen action at center, right guard and right tackle. Long missed last year but saw action in nine games and started in four as a true freshman. Lujan started in 11 games last season, making nine starts at center. Hosseini played in 10 games and made six total starts in 2018.
Sophomore Bobby DeHaro was relied on the most last season, starting in all 12 games. The El Paso native was the most consistent part of the offensive line, starting at left guard in 11 games. The Miners also turned to true freshman Zuri Henry to step in at the left tackle position last season.
Henry made his first career start against Northern Arizona and made eight starts. Freshman Elijah Klein also took to the field during the 2018 campaign. The true freshman started in four games before redshirting the remainder of the season.
Locksley’s the Key
Kai Locksley entered the 2018 season in a quarterback battle but became the front-runner, after showing versatility and explosiveness in his UTEP debut against Northern Arizona. The senior played in nine contests and made eight starts under center last season. He led the team in passing yards (937) and completions (83). He also gained 340 yards rushing and had six touchdowns on the ground, while tossing three more scores.
In 2018, Locksley became the first UTEP quarterback to rush for 100 yards twice in a season (at UNLV, at UTSA) in 35 years. He rushed for a career-high 119 yards on 20 attempts and two scores against the Rebels.
Wadley’s Final Season
Quardraiz Wadley made a comeback last year after suffering a season-ending injury in 2017. The running back enters his senior year at UTEP having rushed for 1,072 yards and eight touchdowns in a Miner uniform.
Wadley led UTEP in rushing (627 yards), rushing touchdowns (seven), total touchdowns (eight) and rushing attempts (123) in 2018. He rushed for a season-high 111 yards versus rival NM State. Wadley also gained 99 yards on 15 carries (6.6 avg.) and rushed for two touchdowns against Middle Tennessee.
UTEP head coach Dana Dimel added depth to the Miners’ 2019 roster on national signing day. Dimel inked 32 signees with 15 offensive players, 14 defensive players and three specialists.
The Miners signed eight three-star recruits according to 247sports.com. It marks the most three-star signees for UTEP since 2010 (13), and the third-most since 2000. The Miners already have eight mid-year enrollees, including defensive back Miles Banks, tight end Rashad Beecham, defensive back Robert Corner III, quarterback TJ Goodwin, safety Ty’reke James, tight end Luke Laufenberg, defensive back Duron Lowe and linebacker Joe Jay Smith.
Veteran Presence at the Line
UTEP improved from 107th nationally in total defense in 2017 to 68th in 2018. The unit will depend on the veteran presence of the defensive line to provide pressure on the quarterback. Denzel Chukwukelu brings three years of experience to the unit, having played in 30 games and making 16 starts.
Chukwukelu led all UTEP defensive linemen with 42 tackles in 2018. He added 6.5 tackles for loss (21 yards) and 2.0 sacks (13 yards). He led defense with seven quarterback hurries, while chipping in with a breakup, fumble forced/recovery and blocked two kicks. Also returning for his senior season is two-year letter winner Chris Richardson. The nose tackle started all 12 games last season and has played in a total of 24 games.
Richardson notched 31 tackles, while tallying 2.0 tackles for loss, two breakups and a pair of quarterback hurries during the 2018 campaign.
Returning to the lineup is redshirt-sophomore Dedrick Simpson. The defensive lineman sat out the 2018 due to a season-ending injury. As a true freshman, he played in all 12 games and made four starts. Simpson registered 14 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and a quarterback hurry in 2017.
UTEP head coach Dana Dimel announced the addition of Zach Tenuta to the coaching staff and the promotion of four staff members on Monday.
“I’m looking forward to the addition of Zach Tenuta to the coaching staff,” said Dimel. “I’ve known his family for a long time and like the energy that he will bring to the team.”
Tenuta will be the defensive quality control, as Matt Wallerstedt takes over the defensive line. Tenuta comes to UTEP after coaching two seasons at Norfolk State, working with outside linebackers (2018) and defensive line (2017). Wallerstedt served as defensive quality control last season for the Miners. Prior to his time with the Miners, Wallerstedt was the defensive coordinator for Charlotte for three seasons (2015-17) and has over 25 years of coaching experience.
“I’ve worked with Matt (Wallerstedt) previously and brought him in with the intent to eventually be able to promote him,” said Dimel. “He brings experience and is a really good coach.”
Along with Wallerstedt, the Miners promoted Matt Rahl (offensive quality control), Barrick Nealy (recruiting coordinator/senior player personnel director) and Jacob Martinez (director of player personnel).
UTEP head football coach Dana Dimel announced the hiring of Zach Tenuta as defensive quality control. Tenuta served two seasons at Norfolk State, working with outside linebackers (2018) and defensive line (2017). Before heading to NSU, Tenuta was at Chowan University where he served as the defensive line coach in 2016.
Prior to Chowan, Tenuta spent two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Virginia (2014-15), working with the defensive ends. Tenuta’s first coaching job came at Middle Creek High School in Apex, N.C. He served as the defensive ends and linebackers coach in his lone season with the Mustangs.
Wallerstedt enters his second season with the Miners. He will be taking over the defensive line this season. Prior to the 2019 season, Wallerstedt served as the defensive quality control. Last season, the Miners ranked 68th nationally in total defense (394.7 average per game) and 34th in passing yards allowed (198.9 average per game). Wallerstedt is a veteran coach with more than 25 years of coaching experience and previously served as the defensive coordinator for Charlotte (2015-17).
Rahl was promoted to offense quality control for the 2019 season. He will be assisting offensive line coach Mike Simmonds. Previously, Rahl served as the recruiting coordinator for the Miners (2018). Before coming to UTEP, Rahl spent four seasons at McKendree University where he worked as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. In the summer of 2017, also became the associate head coach for McKendree.
“(Matt) Rahl wanted to work on the field and this position brings him closer to that goal,” said Dimel.
Nealy enters his second season with the Miners and was promoted to recruiting coordinator and senior player personnel director. Last season, Nealy served as the director of player development – high school relations. Prior to arriving to UTEP, he coached wide receivers for six years at San Marcos Academy (2011-17).
“(Barrick) Nealy has worked hard as the director of player development and this experience will allow him to grow,” said Dimel. “I look forward to seeing what he does in his new role.”
Martinez continues his stint with the Miners as the director of player personnel. Previously, Martinez served as a graduate assistant assisting with football operations for three seasons. The El Paso native also played for the Miners for three seasons (2011-13).
“Jacob (Martinez) is a UTEP graduate and has been with the program for a few years,” said Dimel. “He is a very organized and detailed individual. I believe he will excel as the director of player personnel.”
The UTEP football team will begin spring practice under second-year head coach Dana Dimel on Tuesday, March 5.
“I am looking forward to spring ball starting,” Dimel said. “Our main focus will be to develop our depth at all positions. We will also continue to develop our unity and leadership, as we work towards having a very rewarding 2019 season.”
The Miners’ spring slate will consist of 15 practices, culminating with the annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 13, at 12 p.m. at the Sun Bowl.
All spring practices, except for the Spring Game, are tentatively scheduled to take place at Glory Field.
The Miners welcome their mid-year enrollees, including defensive back Miles Banks, tight end Rashad Beecham, defensive back Robert Corner III, quarterback TJ Goodwin, safety Ty’reke James, tight end Luke Laufenberg, defensive back Duron Lowe, linebacker Joe Jay Smith.
UTEP returns 49 letter-winners and a total of 12 starters, including seven on offense, four on defense and one on special teams. The Miner offense welcomes back quarterback Kai Locksley, running back Quardraiz Wadley, wide receiver Keynan Foster and four offensive linemen (Markos Lujan, Bobby DeHaro, Ruben Guerra and Zuri Henry).
Seniors Denzel Chukwukelu and Chris Richardson return to anchor the defensive line, while Sione Tupou will lead the linebackers and Michael Lewis the safeties. Punter Mitchell Crawford returns for his second season with the Miners.
UTEP opens the 2019 season against Houston Baptist on Saturday, August 31 at the Sun Bowl.
2019 UTEP Football Practice Dates
March 5 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
March 6 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
March 8 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
March 11 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
March 13 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
March 15 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
March 25 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
March 27 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
March 29 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
April 1 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
April 3 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
April 5 – TBA
April 8 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
April 10 – 8:45-10:45 a.m.
April 13 – Spring Game – 12 p.m.
*All practice dates and times are subject to change
UTEP Football Head Coach Dana Dimel added depth to the Miners’ 2019 roster on National Signing Day Wednesday.
Dimel inked a total of 32 signees. Nine are transfers and 23 are high school student-athletes who will attend UTEP next semester.
The haul includes 21 student-athletes from the state of Texas, including six from El Paso, seven from California, two from Arizona, one from Kansas and one from Pennsylvania.
A total of 15 offensive players, 14 defensive players and three specialists make up the 2019 signing day roster.
Video + Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post
UTEP Football Head Coach Dana Dimel
“As everybody says this is a time as a coach trying to come in and build your program. It’s obviously a big day for us as a coaching staff, and one I look forward to all year, putting all of the pieces of a recruiting class together. All of the stories and tribulations that come to this day is what makes our business so much fun. It’s an important part of what you do as a football coach and all of that comes down to signing day. The dynamics have changed a little bit guys and ladies. There is two signing days now. We had our head coaches meeting in January and we talked about that a little bit. I think that has been a really positive thing for UTEP, having the early signing day allows us to really see what’s out there for us and allows us to do what we do best. Its what you do with your evaluation tools. That is how we are going to build our program is by being great evaluators. That is obviously what we had done at Kansas State to turn that program around, and the other places that I have been and had success is because we have been great evaluators. So that is a big part of what we did with this class.
Obviously the two classes kind of mold together. What we did last year in our first class coming in January. You say well we came in late, well we did come in late, but a lot of us were recruiting other players from the schools that we were at so there was some carry over. It was an advantage for us this year to have the extra time to have your spring recruiting element, to have your summer camps which I thought were both really valuable for us to get out in the spring. I talked about how much our exposure of our program we got in the spring. I thought it was really good. We had great attendance at our summer camps. We had kids from various states from across the country come to our camp. Again we got out some in the fall, and we got to see some local players play in the fall in person. Which for me was a really valuable tool. We got to basketball games, which again we saw some kids playing basketball as well as being able to take what they do on the football field, and then see them on a basketball court and translate that into athleticism. That is a key component of what we are trying to have and build here at UTEP. All of those elements of what we were able to do were an advantage in putting this class together.
You see the numbers are 32 in total of our class, which is a great number. When you are coming in as a head coach you want to bring in the new faces, and build the positive energy that new faces bring to your program. I am excited about the numbers that we do have coming into the program. It has been a really positive thing for us to bring in these guys, having them on their visits and spending time with them. The elements that we want to have in our recruiting are we want to have guys who have great mental toughness, some intestinal fortitude. They have to have very good football IQ, which is really critical for us as well. They have to be able to run well for their position. That is something that is a key ingredient for us of those 32. We said when we got here we were going to recruit the state of Texas. We have 21 players from the state of Texas in this class, which is a great number. We have seven players from the state of California. We have two players from the state of Arizona, which I do want to develop more numbers in the state of Arizona moving forward. Then we have one player from Pennsylvania and one player from Kansas, so that rounds out our 32.
As far as offensively and defensively goes we have 15 offensive players, 14 defensive players and three specialists to get to our 32. We signed nine junior college players. Of those nine, seven are on campus right now. There are two of them that are not here yet that we are looking forward to getting on campus. Then we have one high school quarterback that is here now, so we have eight guys that are here on campus that came in at midyear. Obviously that is always important to get guys here in the spring, and have them here to be able to be a part of your program and mature within your program. Last year, we had brought in eight offensive linemen to the program, which was really important as we went through and saw the injuries there that we had last year. It was important to enhance those numbers. I figure that if we hadn’t brought in the eight last year we probably wouldn’t have been able to take the field for the last ball game. This year we only brought in three. The first thing we brought in was length and athleticism and that was critical with the linemen we brought in. The local product Fabio Novoa he is a guy that we see upside to. He played basketball; he has some good length to him and went from 250 to 295 in the last year and a half of his development. He still continues to move well. Then Jeremiah Byers out of Austin Anderson is just a tremendous athlete that I got to see on film playing basketball, and he reminded me of Zion Williamson. A real poor man’s Zion Williamson, but still athletic, can shoot the ball well and his film was really good playing the game of football. He gets his second step in the ground and does some good things there. Then there is Justin Mayers, another offensive lineman that fits that athletic mold so that was big spot for us. Additionally, defensive line wise we signed five. I was pleased with the way our defense played last year. The things that we needed to improve on were just the quarterback sacks and the turnovers. We got three defensive ends that we signed that will give us some speed off the edge, and then two defensive tackles that are strong and powerful and do some really good things. We brought in two linebackers from the junior college ranks that I am very excited about, and one from the high school rank there as well. One of them is on campus right now competing and doing a nice job.
I wanted to bring in five defensive backs. I thought that was important for us to do. We actually ended up bringing in six defensive backs into our program. Of those six, five of them are junior college players, three of them at corner and two of them at safety. There is also a high school player that can play offense or defense from California that is very talented. He is also going to help us on the return team. We’ve got him slated right now and he is going to help us a lot there and be a muti-talented player for us in the program moving forward. I would be remised if I didn’t talk about Deion Hankins at the running back position. He is going to be a big part of what we are doing. A local product like that, that had multiple power five offers, and he is just such a great person. He is going to be a huge influence on the community of El Paso with what he does. Then Jalen Joseph, who I think has a chance to be a really good running back for us as well. I am really pleased about getting those two local products. We also got another running back from Arizona, Jett Kinsch, who is going to be a good player too. Everybody wants to hear about our receiver position. That has been a big talk. We have a different philosophy on what we want to recruit at the receiver position. We signed four receivers. All of them bring a little something different to the table. There is some great speed element. Jacob Cowing is one that I am really excited about, because he has popped off some 10.4 (100 meters) already in spring training workouts. Two guys that I had signed at Houston went to the combine, and both ran 4.2s at the combine. I know how important it is to recruit speed and Jacob is one of those guys. He is going to give us that speed moving forward in our program. Quintavius Workman is a guy that came to us out of El Paso that is 6’5 and has great frame to him. He is going to do some really positive things for us there at the receiver position. We also have two other players Skyler (Newsome) and Adam (Cousins), and I am excited about all of those guys with what they’re going to do and really help our wide receiver position as well. TJ Goodwin at quarterback is obviously a big part of our future. He is what everyone is using nowadays. Everybody has quarterbacks who can make plays with their feet.”
On which freshmen will have the best chance to contribute right away
“It’s fun to project that now and see how it evolves through the situations. Of the freshmen right now, who I can see having a chance to get on the field is [Sua’ava] “Juice” Tupua, who really has a chance, even though we have some good returners on the d-line, he’s a guy who went to the USC camp where there was a bunch of 4 and 5-star athletes. He completely dominated the camp. He’s a guy who stood out as a guy who was wreaking havoc out there and is a freshman who can help us for sure. Two of the young offensive linemen, [Jeremiah] Byers and [Justin] Mayers. We weren’t sure if we had guys last year. But we had Elijah Klein and Zuri Henry step up. So, both of those guys are on the backburner with athleticism. So, if we do get any injury issues, those guys – maybe not start – but will supply depth for us in thin spots. Deion [Hankins] will get a chance to step onto the field. We don’t have great numbers at the running back position and Jalen Joseph too at the running back position has a chance to step up and get on the field.”
On JUCO’s who have stood out
“The three corners have really stood out. What you do is look at the issues you have to resolve. And the issues were, losing Nik Needham and Kalon Beverly – four-year starters for this program and good players for our program. They brought a lot to be proud of. But Duron Lowe, Robert Corner and Miles Banks are three corners we feel like really are going to step up and replace those guys. I’m pleased with Ty’reke James, I think he’s looked really good in the workouts. I’ve been very pleased with Luke Laugenberg and what Luke brings to the table. That’s a great name right there with Luke at the tight end position just because he’s a legacy of the Dallas Cowboys which is a popular thing in El Paso for sure. Once the fans see him play, he’s going to be even more popular. He’s got athleticism and really good route-running ability. He’s also got the ability to block the c-gap, which is important for us to have. He’ll create issues for the defense so he can bring that element to us offensively. Those are some of the junior college guys right now who are stepping up and looking good for us.”
On offensive line recruits
“Offensive and defensive lines is where you build your program. You got to have those and the quarterback position. Those are the three most crucial elements you can have. It was important for us, even though we brought in some offensive linemen last year, it was important to try to integrate these three players [Jeremiah Byers, Justin Mayers, Fabio Novoa]. I was really, really pleased with the athleticism that we got on the offensive line. That was the thing that was most exciting. I’m a big proponent of wingspan. You don’t want a lot of short-armed guys running around on the football field. You want some length to you so you can run, block and pass protect.”
Played three seasons of varsity football as the starting quarterback for the Eagles … threw for 3,106 yards on 225-of-418 passing and 19 scores … as a senior led the Eagles with 945 yards on 76-of-147 passing with eight touchdowns and one interception … registered a season-high 242 yards on 19-of-38 passing in a win over Cypress Creek … opened the season by connecting on 12-of-16 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns against Aldine … threw a season-long 55-yard touchdown pass during a dominant victory over Memorial … added 49 yards rushing with a career-long dash of 45 yards versus the Mustangs … during junior campaign tallied 272 yards on 14-of-18 passing (77.8 percent) with four scores and a game-long 53-yard touchdown pass … was 14-of-22 for 180 yards against Cy-Fair … started as a sophomore and posted a 54.7 completion percentage, notching 1,188 yards and five scores … in 2016, posted a career showing by throwing for 345 yards on 18-of-33 versus Cypress Springs … threw for 234 yards and registered two touchdowns in a win over Jersey Village … three-star recruit on Rivals.com.
Jeremiah Byers | OL | FR | 6-4 | 295 | Austin, Texas (L.C. Anderson HS)
Played three seasons of varsity football and saw action in all 10 games last season … tallied a total of 74 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, two pass breakups and an interception … created holes and paved the way for Trojans’ rushers to gain 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns … the team rushed for over 100 yards in five games, including 241 yards in a victory over Austin … added 11 total stops … as a sophomore, played in 10 games and posted 52 tackles, six tackles for loss and three quarterback hurries.
Played two seasons of varsity football at Reedy HS … efforts helped the Lions to a 13-1 overall mark, including an undefeated (8-0) district record in 2018 … paved the way for Reedy rushers to gain 3,139 yards and score 46 touchdowns as a team (224.2 ypg) … the Lions threw for 2,703 yards and 24 scores … the Lions rushed for more than 200 yards on six occasions and ran for a season-high 308 yards in a victory over Midlothian … as a junior, Reedy rushed for 2,101 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Fabio Novoa | OL | FR | 6-4 | 295 | El Paso, Texas (Pebble Hills HS)
Played varsity football for two seasons and started in 13 games … created holes and paved the way for Spartans rushers to gain 2,543 yards and 25 touchdowns as a team … Pebble Hills rushed for a season-high 335 yards and four scores in a win over Midland … Spartan quarterbacks threw for 2,157 yards and 25 scores … Pebble Hills posted eight contests with over 200 rushing yards and three with over 300 yards … during junior season, the Spartans rushed for 2,267 yards and 31 scores as a team … the squad rushed for over 300 yards in four games … Pebble Hills quarterbacks threw for 2,262 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Played safety as a senior for Hendrickson HS … registered 64 tackles, 13 pass break-ups, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery … also recorded an interception for a touchdown in 2018 … earned All-District second-team honors … as a junior, gained 284 rushing yards on 38 attempts … played quarterback and threw for 401 yards on 44-of-71 attempts … rushed for 104 yards on six carries versus Smithson Valley … ran for a career-long 77 yards against the Rangers … saw action as a punter for two seasons, earning All-District first-team honors … also received All-District Academic recognition.
Played three seasons of varsity football and saw action in 28 games … registered a total of 89 receptions for 2,065 yards and 21 touchdowns … during senior season, notched 28 receptions for 872 yards and 10 scores … recorded a season-high 232 yards on five receptions and three touchdowns in a victory over Central … reeled in four showings of 100 receiving yards or more … posted six catches for 161 yards and a pair of scores versus Campo Verde … added 30 carries for 261 yards and four touchdowns … as a junior, tallied 50 receptions for 1,081 yards and 11 touchdowns … had a career day during a 45-13 win over Willow Canyon, registering a career-high 275 receiving yards on eight receptions and two scores … had eight catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns against Apollo … as a sophomore, rushed for 193 yards on 29 attempts and a score … added 11 receptions for 112 yards.
Saw action in 10 games at wide receiver last season … registered 46 receptions for 757 yards and six touchdowns … recorded a career-high 168 yards on four catches, a pair of scores and hauled in a career-long 83-yard reception against Midland Lee … posted a career high in receptions (12) for 167 yards and a touchdown versus Amarillo … tallied 116 yards on seven receptions against Midland … added 18 carries for 57 yards and a score.
Played in nine contests during the 2018 season … registered 32 catches for 503 yards (15.7 avg.) and two touchdowns … recorded a career-high 174 yards on six receptions versus Eastwood … hauled in a career-long 67-yard snag against the Troopers … tallied 86 yards on five receptions against Coronado … opened the season with back-to-back touchdowns versus Midland Christian and Pebble Hills … also saw the field on defense, posting 17 tackles … registered two interceptions, five tackles and a pass break-up in a win over Eastlake.
Rashad Beecham | TE | SO | 6-2 | 235 | Cibolo, Texas (Allan Hancock College)
Saw action in six games at the tight end position as a freshman at Allan Hancock College … registered three receptions for 48 yards and two touchdowns … recorded a season-long 24-yard snag versus Antelope Valley … notched a two-point conversion against Ventura … played football and basketball for Steele HS in Texas … was a two-year letterwinner in football … notched a total of 12 receptions for 179 yards in nine games with the Knights.
Luke Laufenberg | TE | R-JR | 6-4 | 235 | Argyle, Texas (Mesa CC)
Played in six games at Mesa CC … combined for 10 receptions for 100 yards during the 2017 season … registered three catches for 30 yards against Arizona Western … hauled in a 22-yard snag versus Glendale CC … tallied 24 yards on three receptions against ASA College … played senior season at Argyle Liberty Christian High School in Argyle, Texas … was named 2016 Offensive Newcomer of the Year and All-District honorable mention … also attended Jesuit Dallas High School in Dallas, Texas, from 2011-15 … son of Brandon and Joan Laufenberg … father, Brandon “Babe,” played in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers.
Julian Lopez | TE | FR | 6-1 | 230 | El Paso, Texas (Chapin HS)
Played two seasons of varsity football at Chapin … as a senior played in five games and registered 152 yards on 13 receptions … recorded 38 yards on three catches in a win over Andress … posted a campaign-high four receptions for 35 yards in season opener against Midland Christian … posted a career-long catch of 24 yards in a win against El Dorado … as a junior saw action in six games as a defensive back … tallied nine stops, including a career-high four tackles in a win over El Paso HS.
Standout running back for Parkland HS (El Paso, Texas), who finished his career with a city-best 7,491 rushing yards and 78 touchdowns … led the school to a trio of bi-district championships and an area round championship during his record-setting career … as a senior piled up 2,270 rushing yards and 27 TDs to help the team to a District 1-5A Division II crown and a bi-district championship … voted as the 2018 El Paso Times All-City Football MVP … during his junior season he ran for 2,073 yards and 24 scores to lead the team into the third round of the Class 5A state football playoffs … as a sophomore the team advanced to the area round of the playoffs, with Hankins gaining 2,812 yards on the ground and scoring 23 touchdowns … multiple All-State and All-District honoree.
Jalen Joseph | RB | FR | 5-9 | 215 | El Paso, Texas (Andress HS)
Played three seasons of varsity football and saw action in 33 games … rushed for a total of 1,604 yards on 319 carries and 30 touchdowns … during senior season, ran for 773 yards on 163 carries and eight touchdowns in 11 games … led the Eagles to a 9-3 overall record and a bi-district championship … tallied a career-high 29 carries for 139 yards in the season opener against Coronado … registered 108 yards on 19 attempts in victory over El Paso HS … also notched 18 receptions for 156 yards and a score … as a junior recorded 526 rushing yards on 82 attempts and 14 touchdowns … rambled for season-high 116 yards on 15 carries and three scores versus Jefferson … as a sophomore, rushed for 305 yards on 74 carries and eight touchdowns.
Played two seasons of varsity football and saw action in 20 games … rushed for a total of 1,734 yards on 274 carries and 21 touchdowns … during senior season, ran for 1,175 yards on 199 carries and 15 touchdowns in 12 games … led the Lions to a 10-2 overall record … tallied a career-high 27 carries for 167 yards and a score in win over Chaparral … registered 173 yards on 20 attempts and three touchdowns in a victory over Sunrise Mountain … notched 151 yards on the ground with 15 attempts and a pair of scores … also recorded 18 receptions for 246 yards and two scores … as a junior recorded 559 rushing yards on 75 attempts and six touchdowns … hauled in a season-high 104 yards on 11 carries and a score in a win over Chaparral.
Michael Young | FB | FR | 5-9 | 215 | Euless, Texas (Colleyville Heritage HS)
Played four seasons of varsity football, seeing action in 40 games at running back and linebacker … tallied a total of 212 tackles, seven sacks, 12 quarterback hurries and an interception … as a senior, notched 123 stops (69 solo), seven tackles for loss, two sacks and three quarterback hurries … registered a career-high 18 tackles (10 solo) in win over Creekview … posted seven showings with 10 or more tackles … produced 11 solo stops and added one sack against Trinity … as a junior, recorded 65 tackles, eight tackles for loss, four sacks, five quarterback hurries and an interception … posted a season-high 11 stops versus V.R. Eaton … as a sophomore, rushed for 54 yards on five carries and a score … also notched 11 receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
Miles Banks | DB | JR | 6-1 | 165 | Missouri City, Texas (Blinn CC)
Saw action in all 11 games for Blinn CC a year ago … helped lead the Buccaneers to a 7-4 finish during the 2018 season … notched 19 tackles and six pass break-ups … registered four tackles and a pass break-up in a victory over Scottsdale CC … played high school football at Fort Bend Elkins HS … as a senior, recorded 41 stops (34 solo), two interceptions, six pass break-ups and a sack … posted a career-high nine tackles in a 41-10 win over Santa Fe … opened the season with back-to-back interceptions versus Dickson and Oak Ridge … tallied four pass break-ups versus Fort Bend Travis … father, Robert, played football at Notre Dame and in the NFL for the Houston Oilers and Cleveland Browns, and is a member of the Virginia Hall of Fame of Lower Virginia.
Robert Corner III | DB | JR | 6-1 | 180 | Compton, Calif. (Cerritos College)
Saw action in 21 games for the Falcons … helped Cerritos College finish 7-4 during the 2018 season … recorded a total of 48 tackles (27 solo), four interceptions (12 yards), 10 pass break-ups and two forced fumbles … had two interceptions, two tackles and a pass break-up in a 36-14 win over Mt. San Antonio … posted six tackles versus Moorpark and El Camino … as a freshman notched 15 stops, four pass break-ups and one interception … played varsity football for three years at Buena Park HS … named second team All-CIF and first-team All-Freeway League … helped the Coyotes win the league championship as a senior … tallied a total of 125 tackles (81 solo), four pass break-ups and 1.5 sacks.
Led Butler CC to an 8-3 overall record in 2017 … registered 20 total tackles, six pass break-ups and one interception … opened the 2017 season with a season-best five stops in a 42-14 win over Fort Scott … notched three pass break-ups versus Dodge City … registered an interception to edge out Iowa Western, 21-19 … played varsity football at Aquinas HS … recorded 51 total tackles, two interceptions, 24 pass break-ups and one forced fumble as a senior … finished the season with a career best 11 stops … tallied six pass break-ups in a 42-13 win over Blue Valley North.
Played three seasons of varsity football and saw action on defense and offense … as a senior notched 39 tackles, five interceptions and five pass break-ups … rushed for 226 yards on 40 attempts and six touchdowns … also registered 35 receptions for 376 yards and a score … posted a season-high nine stops (seven solo) and two pass break-ups against Bishop Amat … recorded 144 all-purpose yards in a victory over Chaminade … as a junior rushed for 451 yards on 80 attempts and six scores … added 19 receptions for 334 yards and four touchdowns … registered a career-best 108 receiving yards while hauling in five receptions and two scores against Chaminade … as a sophomore tallied 189 all-purpose yards, including 95 yards on nine receptions.
Dy’vonne Inyang | S | 6-0 | 180 | Missouri City, Texas (Kilgore College)
Saw action in 10 games last season and helped Kilgore College finish 10-2 overall … registered 52 tackles, two sacks, five pass break-ups, one fumble recovery, one interception and one blocked kick … recorded a career-best 12 tackles (10 solo), one sack, one pass break-up and a blocked kick in a win over Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College … posted seven stops (five solo), a tackle for loss and a pass break-up in a victory over New Mexico Military Institute … played in nine games as a freshman and notched 31 stops, three forced fumbles and a pass break-up … tallied eight tackles and a forced fumble in a victory over Cisco … posted six stops in back-to-back games against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and New Mexico Military.
Ty’reke James | S | JR | 5-11 | 190 | Richmond, Calif. (Contra Costa College)
During the 2018 season, posted 30 tackles, five pass break-ups and one interception … registered a season-best eight tackles against Monterey Peninsula … tallied five stops and two pass break-ups versus Foothill … recorded first interception of the season against Redwoods while also adding three tackles in the game … notched four solo stops and a pass break-up against Reedley … named to All-Pacific 7 first team.
Joe Jay Smith | LB | R-JR | 6-3 | 225 | Bethlehem, Pa. (Garden City CC)
As a sophomore recorded 38 tackles, 5.5 sacks, one interception, three pass break-ups and one forced fumble … helped the Broncbusters finish 10-1, including an appearance at the 2018 NJCCA Championship game … had a career-best 11 stops in a 44-14 win over Iowa Central … posted four tackles, a sack (18 yards), a forced fumble and a pass break-up against Highland CC … registered 44 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, four pass break-ups, one forced fumble and a blocked kick as a freshman … posted a season-best nine tackles and added a forced fumble and a pass break-up in a victory over Highland CC … tallied seven stops (five solo) and two pass break-ups versus Independence CC … recorded six tackles against Hutchinson CC.
DJ Turner | LB | 5-11 | 217 | Santa Clarita, Calif. (Moorpark College)
Saw action in 10 games last season … rated second on the team in total tackles with 67 … opened the season with a campaign-best 10 stops (seven solo) against Palomar … registered back-to-back showings with nine tackles versus Ventura and Long Beach … posted an interception (10 yards) and six tackles against Saddleback … played varsity football for two seasons, seeing action at running back and linebacker … as a senior registered 60 tackles (43 solo), four quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception and a sack … posted 12 stops and added two pass break-ups in a win over Fountain Valley.
Played varsity football for two seasons … registered 119 tackles (43 solo), one fumble recovery and one quarterback hurry … during senior season recorded 56 stops, two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery … ended the season with a career-high 13 tackles against Chino Hills … posted back-to-back showings with seven stops versus Upland and Damien … recorded six performances with five or more stops last season … as a junior tallied 63 tackles, a quarterback hurry and four pass break-ups … achieved a season-best 11 stops (five solo) against Oak Hills … registered 10 stops in a victory over Los Osos … notched three tackles for loss and six total tackles versus Damien.
Armonie Brown | DE | FR | 6-2 | 250 | Refugio, Texas (Refugio HS)
Played four seasons of varsity football, making 62 starts … led the Bobcats to the state playoffs three times and helped them secure the 2016 UIL State Championship … last season registered 151 tackles, 55 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one pass break-up … named Class 2A Defensive Player of the Year on the Associated Press Sports Editors All-State football team … earned placement on the 2018 MaxPreps Small Schools All-American football team and Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s Whataburger Super Team … also garnered 2017 AP Class 2A first-team honors.
Demarr Hays | DE | FR | 6-4 | 225 | Waco, Texas (La Vega HS)
Was a two-year letterwinner … registered a total of 78 tackles (21 solo), five tackles for loss, 29 quarterback hurries, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one interception … was named unanimous District 5-4A first team Defensive End, Waco Tribune Herald Super Centex first team, ESPN 160 Central Texas Football first team and Carl Padilla Coaches Class 4A All-State first team.
Tre’jon Lewis | DE | FR | 6-3 | 230 | Manor, Texas (Manor HS)
Played three seasons of varsity football for the Mustangs … recorded a total of 104 tackles, four sacks and one fumble recovery … during junior season, posted 55 stops, seven tackles for loss, three sacks and a fumble recovery … opened the season with a season-best eight stops in 42-13 win over Rouse … tallied eight tackles and a sack against Bowie … notched seven stops, including five solo, versus Stony Point … as a sophomore, combined for 41 tackles and a sack … notched a career-high nine stops in a 35-18 win over Bastrop.
Played two season of varsity football at Junipero Serra HS and saw action in 22 games … registered a total of 83 tackles (29 solo), 1.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries … as a senior recorded 46 stops, 1.5 sacks and one fumble recovery … established a season-best eight tackles (five solo) and four tackles for loss against Narbonne … posted five showings with five tackles or more … as a junior tallied 37 stops and a fumble recovery … notched a career-high nine tackles against Chaminade … recorded five stops versus Loyola and Bishop Amat … had a fumble recovery and four tackles in a win over Long Beach Poly.
Played three seasons of varsity football for the Gauchos … registered a total of 120 tackles, 17 sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery … during senior season, notched 65 stops, six sacks, seven quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles … posted a career-best 10 tackles (six solo) and added a sack and quarterback hurry in a win over Garfield … tallied nine stops in a 34-10 victory over Palos Verdes … credited with two sacks and added seven stops in a 50-0 win over Banning … as a junior, recorded 55 tackles, including 36 solo stops … helped Narbonne finish 11-3 overall in 2017.
Mark Ramos | K | FR | 5-8 | 165 | El Paso, Texas (Andress HS)
Played four seasons of varsity football and saw action in 44 games … as a senior, went 16-24 on field goals … connected on 41-of-43 PATs … made a career-long 43-yard field goal in a win over El Dorado … scored 14 points in a win against El Paso, going 5-of-5 in PATs and 3-of-4 on field goals … went a perfect 8-of-8 in PATs versus Jefferson … registered 70 kickoffs with 45 touchbacks … posted 11 punts inside the 20-yard line, including a career-long 64-yard boot … during junior campaign, went 10-of-12 on field goals … connected on 57-of-59 PATs and tallied a total of 87 points … helped the team go 9-3 overall and undefeated in league play … saw action in 11 games as a sophomore … was 50-of-55 on PATs … posted a season-long 40-yard field goal against Chapin … played in nine games as a freshman … was 24-of-28 on PATs.
Played three seasons of varsity football and saw action in 17 games … as a senior, went 50-of-50 on PATs … connected on 8-of-8 PATs in win over Cypress Springs … went 7-for-7 in victory over Bridgeland … went 6-for-6 three different times (vs. Cypress Lakes, Cypress Park, Cypress Woods) … also registered 14 kickoffs for 681 yards … as a junior, played in five games … recorded 13 points for the Mustangs … went 4-for-7 on field goals.
Tanner Boston | LS | FR | 6-1 | 250 | Cypress, Texas (Cypress Ranch HS)
Played three seasons of varsity football and saw action in 23 games … played in seven games as a senior at the long snapper position … as a junior, saw action in eight games … as a sophomore, rushed for 47 yards and four touchdowns.
Matchups with regional foes NM State and Texas Tech, plus the renewal of a rivalry with former Western Athletic Conference opponent Nevada highlight the 2019 UTEP Football Schedule, released on Thursday.
“We’re moving to year two and wanting to get the culture established in our second season,” UTEP coach Dana Dimel said. “I’m looking forward to seeing that take shape as we take the field.”
The Miners will kick off the campaign by hosting FCS squad Houston Baptist on August 31 in the Sun Bowl. UTEP will play a game in the month of August for the first time since 2014.
It’s the first of six home games for UTEP in 2019. The Miners will also host Nevada (September 21), UTSA (October 5), LA Tech (October 26), Charlotte (November 9) and Rice (November 30).
“We have three teams from the state of Texas coming to play in our stadium, which is always exciting,” Dimel said. “Also, we have three teams in our division coming here plus a Mountain West Conference opponent in Nevada, which I’m sure will thrill our fans.”
UTEP will play its first road game of the season in week two (September 7) at Texas Tech. The Miners will alternate playing home and away in the first nine contests of the campaign.
The matchup with the Red Raiders is the first between the Southwest rivals in Lubbock since 2015. UTEP and Texas Tech will square off for the 24th time overall.
The Miners have two bye weeks scheduled – one on September 14, and another on October 12.
Following the first open week, UTEP will battle Nevada in the Sun Bowl (September 21) for the first time since 2001. The Miners and the Wolf Pack met three times as WAC members from 2000-02.
Nevada is coming off an 8-5 season and a 16-13 triumph over Arkansas State in the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl. The Miners will face five teams that appeared in bowls during the 2018 season, including C-USA adversaries FIU (Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl), LA Tech (SoFi Hawai’I Bowl), North Texas (New Mexico Bowl) and UAB (Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl).
Four of those teams (Nevada, FIU, LA Tech, UAB) won their postseason contest.
UTEP will open C-USA action at Southern Miss on September 28. The Miners will turn around and host UTSA on October 5 prior to their second bye week, which falls five games into the season.
Beginning on October 19, the Miners will tackle a demanding stretch that will see them face four 2018 bowl opponents in five games. UTEP will play at FIU on October 19, at North Texas on November 2, and at UAB on Nov. 16, sandwiched around home dates with LA Tech (October 26) and Charlotte (November 9).
UAB, the defending Conference USA champion, was 11-3 a year ago. UTEP will be taking on Charlotte, which joined C-USA and the FBS ranks in 2015, for the first time in its football history.
The Miners will play their final road game at NM State on November 23. The I-10 rivals will meet for the 97th time overall, and in the month of November for the first time since the 1960’s. It’s the latest Battle of I-10 since a November 26, 1960 matchup in Las Cruces.
The regular season finale is at home against Rice on November 30. The Conference USA Championship Game is slated for December 7.
All dates are subject to change in order to accommodate national television. A schedule of televised games will be released at a later date. UTEP season ticket information will be released later this spring.
Twenty-two past and present UTEP student-athletes will graduate from the university on Saturday, December 15.
The list includes 12 representatives from the football program, six from track & field, three from soccer and one from volleyball.
Highlighting the list of graduates are three-time first team All-American Jonah Koech and seven-time Conference USA champion Lilian Koech from track and field.
Of the 12 graduating football student athletes, 10 have made starts for the Miners (OL Jerrod Brooks, DT Sani Buckingham, RB/LB Treyvon Hughes, DB Alex JeanCharles, WR Terry Juniel, TE David Lucero, DB Nik Needham, WR Warren Redix, OL Tanner Stallings, TE Josh Weeks).
Juniel is ranked in the top-10 in school history in kickoff return yards (1,253) and Needham is UTEP’s career leader in pass breakups with 33.
Nine of the graduates have earned a spot on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll during their careers for posting a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
Kylie Baumgartner (Volleyball)
Pleasant Hill, Calif.
Ranks third all-time for block assists (300) and fifth in total blocks (341) in program history … the only Miner to lead the team in block assists and total blocks for three consecutive seasons … participated in 105 matches and had 352 sets played throughout her career … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Biology major.
Ada Benjamin (Track & Field)
Helped the women’s track and field team claim four Conference USA titles, including its first conference outdoor title … registered a personal best of 52.76 seconds in the 400m at the 2017 Conference USA Outdoor Championships, earning a spot at the NCAA West Preliminaries … one-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Entrepreneurship major.
Jerrod Brooks (Football)
Offensive lineman who played in 37 games and started in 18 for the Orange and Blue … a four-time letter winner for the Miners … helped Aaron Jones gain a single-season program-record 1,773 yards in 2016 while becoming UTEP’s all-time leading rusher … double major in Communication and Criminal Justice.
Sani Buckingham (Football)
Tafuna, American Samoa
A two-time letterwinner … has seen playing time at tight end and in the defensive line while appearing in 17 games in the Orange and Blue … one-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Economics major.
Kennadie Chaudhary (Soccer)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Played in 73 games and started 53 for the Miners … tallied 11 goals, seven assists and 29 points … scored three game-winning goals … helped the Miners to a 1-0 win over Rice at the 2016 C-USA Championships … four-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Forensic Science major.
Stephen Forester (Football)
A three-year letter winner for the Miners … saw action in 18 games for UTEP … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Finance major.
Asa Guevara (Track & Field)
Chaguanas, Trinidad & Tobago
Took gold in the 400m at the 2018 Conference USA Outdoor Championships with a personal best time of 45.26 seconds … was ranked 26th nationally with a personal best of 20.51 seconds in the 200m, posted at the 2018 Desert Heat Classic … advanced to the NCAA West Preliminaries twice … Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Treyvon Hughes (Football)
Played in 33 games and made eight starts for the Orange and Blue … rushed for 320 yards on 98 attempts … made six starts at linebacker and registered 40 tackles and two quarterback hurries during the 2017 season … Criminal Justice major.
Adrian Hynson (Football)
Corpus Christi, Texas
Played in 37 games on special teams and defense for UTEP … a three-year letter winner for the Miners … registered 28 tackles and a sack … Organizational & Corporate Communication major.
Alex JeanCharles (Football)
Winter Haven, Fla.
Played in 10 games and made one start for the Orange and Blue … a two-year letter winner for the Miners … Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Terry Juniel (Football)
Tallied 2,209 all-purpose yards in his UTEP career … ranked eighth in school history in kickoff return yards … finished the 2018 season ranked third in C-USA in punt return average … Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Jonah Koech (Track & Field)
Made six NCAA Championship appearances … finished the 2018 outdoor season with a personal best of 1:46.23 seconds in the 800m, finishing sixth at the NCAA Championships … garnered first team All-American honors three times … helped the men’s cross country team claim two Conference USA titles … Management major.
Lilian Koech (Track & Field)
Helped the UTEP women’s cross country team capture the first conference title in program history … also aided the women’s track and field squad to four Conference USA titles … earned seven Conference USA gold medals and advanced to the NCAA Championships once … Biological Sciences major.
David Lucero (Football)
Registered 20 catches for 322 yards in 2018, becoming only the sixth UTEP tight end to tally 300 yards in a campaign … played in 20 games for the Miners and made 12 starts … closed out his career with 37 receptions for 451 yards and three touchdowns … Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Rasmus Maukonen (Track & Field)
Closed out the 2015 season with an NCAA Championship appearance in the javelin and finished 20th overall … launched the seventh-longest throw in program history of 73.64m in the javelin at the 2016 UTEP Springtime meet … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Mechanical Engineering major.
Nik Needham (Football)
Buena Park, Calif.
Started in 41 games for the Miners … registered a school record 33 pass breakups … concluded career with 213 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions … Organizational & Corporate Communication major.
Tyler Ragin (Track & Field)
Helped the UTEP women’s track and field team claim four Conference USA titles, including its first conference outdoor crown … posted a personal best of 5.94m in the long jump at the Sun Angel Classic … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Organizational & Corporate Communication major.
Warren Redix (Football)
El Paso, Texas
Played in 46 games for UTEP and made 18 starts at wide receiver … registered 85 catches for 856 yards and five touchdowns … saw the field as a running back, receiver and returner … Multimedia Journalism major.
Sheridan Smith (Soccer)
Appeared in 28 games for the Miners … logged 170 minutes in the Orange and Blue … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Tanner Stallings (Football)
Played in 17 games and made nine starts for the Orange and Blue … efforts in the offensive line helped the Miners average 185.5 rushing yards per game and 20 rushing touchdowns in 2016, while aiding Aaron Jones to a single-season program-record 1,773 rushing yards … Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Carmen Webster (Soccer)
Played in nine games for the Miners … assisted on the game-winning goal against Houston Baptist during her first year at UTEP … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Biology major.
Josh Weeks (Football)
Show Low, Ariz.
Played in 19 games and made two starts for the Miners … registered 14 catches for 221 yards and one touchdown in his career … Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Southern Miss got off to a fast start with 16 first quarter points, more than enough for a stout Golden Eagle defense to protect in a 39-7 victory over UTEP on Saturday afternoon in the Sun Bowl.
“Obviously the start wasn’t what we wanted it to be,” UTEP coach Dana Dimel said. “We went in with the direct focus of eliminating turnovers, because I really felt like our defense matched up well against these guys and could hold their own if we didn’t put them in bad situations early in the ballgame. But we had too many costly turnovers, three more interceptions in the game and then the fumble there to start the second half. We’ve got to eliminate those things, we’ve got to be more disciplined with our decision making.”
For the third straight game, the Miners turned it over on their opening possession as Brandon Jones’ interception led to a 41-yard return for a touchdown by Rachuan Mitchell.
That was the first of four turnovers by UTEP, leading to 23 points for the Golden Eagles.
Southern Miss converted two Miner turnovers into nine first-half points in building a 19-0 lead at the break.
The Miners couldn’t get going offensively in the first half, tallying 77 yards and five first downs. Jones made his first career start and was operating behind the Miners’ 10th different offensive line combination in 12 games, as Gamaliel Barboza made his first career start at left guard.
Southern Miss converted a couple more Miner miscues into 14 points in the second half.
UTEP was only able to mount two sustained drives offensively. The first, in the second quarter, produced 54 yards on 12 plays and ended with a 39-yard missed field goal by Jason Filley. The second came at the end of the game, as the Miners moved 58 yards on three plays in 20 seconds and avoided the shutout with a 41-yard TD pass from Jones to Erik Brown.
The UTEP defense was solid for the most part, yielding 378 yards, with 162 coming on two touchdown drives.
A Southern Miss defensive unit that entered the game rated ninth nationally in yards allowed was nearly impenetrable, as the Miners finished with 187 yards and 12 first downs.
Jones completed 11-of-23 passes for 114 yards and rushed 14 times for 29 yards.
“Brandon had some really good games, he did not have a good game today,” Dimel said. “That was disappointing but he showed some good things. Down the stretch here, we had seven offensive linemen healthy for this ballgame. We’re playing guys who haven’t played all year up front. And that makes us more one dimensional in what we do and we can’t establish the run game.”
Southern Miss gained 252 of its yards on the ground, as Trivenskey Mosley ran for 107 yards on 14 carries.
Jamar Smith led the Miners with 11 tackles, and Kahani Smith chipped in with 10. A.J. Hotchkins was credited with nine stops and, with 126 on the season, tied FIU’s Sage Lewis for the Conference USA lead.
The Miners will get some reinforcements back on offense in 2019 and will have to replace some playmakers on defense. They’ll look to build on the progress made in year one under Dimel, when they were competitive in nearly every C-USA game before running out of gas (and bodies) down the stretch.
“I think they’ve really learned how to compete and to stay in ballgames and battle, and be that type of a football team that battles and has pride in what they do,” Dimel said. “So I’ve been very happy with the progress and the buy-in that they’ve had. I brought the guys up on the field at the end of the game and wanted to talk to them about that and what the seniors have done for this program, and how proud I am that they’ve been able to contribute and of where they’ve taken us. Obviously, it’s a development process for us. We had our ups and downs this year. We showed some stretches where we played really good football. Even when we were beat up and battered, we played some really good football. We have taken some steps, but in the end injuries just got to be insurmountable for our football team.”
The Miners concluded the 2018 season with a 1-11 record (1-7 C-USA), while the Golden Eagles became bowl eligible at 6-5 overall and 5-3 in league play.
Galleries by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post
The University of Texas at El Paso will honor the contributions of teachers, administrators and support staff at public and private schools throughout Region 19 during the UTEP football game against Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.
UTEP, with the help of TFCU, El Paso Area Teachers Federal Credit Union, organized this annual event to recognize the efforts of all school personnel who teach, engage, nurture and mentor students in their care.
Their encouragement helps thousands of area students to believe in themselves and their dreams. The ripple effect positively impacts the families, friends and neighbors in our community.
Each teacher, administrator and support staff member received an invitation to the game along with the opportunity to register for up to four general admission tickets.
School employees in attendance will receive a commemorative UTEP/TFCU teacher appreciation t-shirt as they enter the stadium on game day.
For more information contact UTEP’s Office of University Relations at 915-747-8244.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – UTEP quarterback Brandon Jones threw for a career-high 340 yards and two touchdowns. But four first quarter turnovers did UTEP in, as WKU scored the game’s first 40 points, including 27 during the first quarter as the Miners fell 40-16 on a brisk Saturday night at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
After an abysmal first half (down 40-0), the Miners put up a fight in the second half.
“We didn’t start as well as we needed to start and had a lot of turnovers,” first-year UTEP head coach Dana Dimel said. “Five turnovers in the first half all by interception were critical mistakes and led to some great field position and great momentum from [WKU] allowed them to take some chances and they executed. We obviously didn’t play well in the first half.”
WKU gained 422 yards of total offense, while Steven Duncan passed for 214 yards and two scores. Quin Jernighan caught seven passes for 82 yards and a score, while the Hilltoppers ran for 208 yards on 50 carries and two touchdowns.
“During the second half, I was really proud of the effort we put out and coming back and keeping our fight,” Dimel said. “We tried to get to a two-score game at the end if we could’ve got in [the end zone]. So, I was proud of that part. Now we’re moving forward with this last game for our seniors who have been incredible this year.”
With the score 40-8, Jones found senior David Lucero down the left sideline and he took it 88 yards to pay dirt. It was a career-long play for both and the longest scoring play since Aaron Jones’s 91-yard touchdown run at Texas Tech in 2015.
Jones made the score 40-16 when he hooked up with Lucero again, this time on the two-point conversion.
Jones’s 340 yards was the most for a UTEP signal caller in 2018. He surpassed Ryan Metz’s 313 yards against North Texas on Oct. 6. Jones went for career highs in completions (14) and pass attempts (25), and at one point went 6-of-7 after a slow start.
Jones’s 340 yards were the most since Jameill Showers’s 365-yards passing at Colorado State in 2013.
Lucero registered his first career 100-yard game, tallying 118 yards on a pair of receptions.
The Miners opened the second half with a 75-yard, seven-play scoring drive. During the drive on a third-and-16, Brandon Jones rushed for 15 yards to the UTEP 34. Dimel elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 and was successful. The offense was in a bunched formation when Jones dropped back, throwing off the WKU defense and completed a short pass to Josh Weeks. The tight end took it for a season-long 38 yards to the WKU 28-yard line. Three plays later, Jones hooked up with Terry Juniel. Jones followed with a completed two-point attempt to Warren Redix, making the score 40-8.
WKU then went three-and-out on its first offensive possession in the third quarter.
Tre’shon Wolf followed with a career-long 48-yard reception from Jones into WKU territory. But the Hilltoppers’ defense stopped the Miners on a fourth-and-two play.
But WKU was too much after UTEP fell 40 points back. The Miners got the ball to the WKU six-yard line, but couldn’t find the end zone after four plays with under two minutes remaining. WKU got the ball back and ran the clock out.
Wolf gained a career-high 63 yards on a trio of catches.
The UTEP defense stepped up in the second half. After allowing 277 yards, the WKU offense was held to just 145 in the second half. The UTEP offense found life during the second half, accounting for 336 of its 392 total yards.
A.J. Hotchkins kept doing what he does best, which was tackling. He was credited with 12 tackles, his seventh double-digit performance of 2018, while the senior linebacker tallied a career best of two sacks.
Justin Rogers tallied a career-high nine stops, while Sione Tupou tied his career best with nine tackles. Kalon Beverly intercepted his second pass of the season during the fourth quarter. It was also Beverly’s fourth of his career.
UTEP will conclude the 2018 campaign on Nov. 24 as it will host Southern Miss on ‘Senior Day’ in the Sun Bowl Stadium with a 1 p.m. kickoff.
Brent Stockstill threw for 352 yards and four touchdowns, and Conference USA East Division leader Middle Tennessee won for the sixth time in seven games with a 48-32 victory at UTEP on Saturday afternoon.
Ty Lee recorded 10 catches for a career-high 158 yards for Middle Tennessee (7-3, 6-1 C-USA), which jumped out to a 14-0 lead and scored 27 of the game’s first 34 points.
The tone was set early as Middle Tennessee drove 75 yards on nine plays for a touchdown on its opening possession, then capitalized on a UTEP fumble to score again less than three minutes later.
“That was a pretty frenetic game for sure, a lot of stuff going on,” UTEP coach Dana Dimel said. “I obviously wasn’t happy with the way we started the ballgame. On the first drive we got them into a third and long, they converted (it) and got a nice drive going. They got the first score in. But then offensively, we had a turnover right after that and put them in good field position. So I wasn’t happy at all with our early execution. It allowed them to get some momentum on the road. You’ve got to come out and start faster and start a little more precise than we did tonight. And from then, we were just playing behind.”
The game got away from the Miners after they pulled within a touchdown (14-7) on a seven-yard rushing score by Quardraiz Wadley early in the second quarter. Middle Tennessee tacked on a couple more touchdowns in the quarter, and UTEP couldn’t get closer than 16 points in the second half.
The Miners did get the ball back down a couple of scores with 3:25 to go, but Kai Locksley was sacked twice on the series and UTEP was unable to pick up a first down.
“We made some runs in the game,” Dimel said. “We got some deficits there that were larger than what we’ve been in for quite a while, but again our team rebounded in those types of situations and showed a lot of fight and a lot of character. I really liked what they did as far as making plays and battling. Our defense was out there quite a bit, but they battled and they battled and did some really positive things even though to the naked eye it may not appear that way. And then our offense found some rhythm in the second half and responded, had some success.”
A late flurry gave the Miners (1-9, 1-5 C-USA) a season high for points. They have scored 30+ points in consecutive C-USA games for the first time since the 2014 season. UTEP scored 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Wadley had a big day for UTEP, rushing 15 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns while going over 1,000 yards (1,019) for his career.
Stockstill was precision-sharp for Middle Tennessee, completing 31-of-40 passes with no interceptions.
“He played as good of a game as any quarterback I’ve been around for quite a while,” Dimel said. “That kid really, really played a ballgame today. He put some passes in some spots and he had to go to his third, fourth and fifth progressions at times and he does it so quickly and gets out there. You can just tell that he grew up in the game, he’s talented and he’s got some moxie and some savvy to what he does.”
The Blue Raiders gained 491 yards to the Miners’ 333.
Locksley and Brandon Jones both saw action for the Miners at quarterback, combining to complete 18-of-39 passes for 218 yards. The tight ends had a huge afternoon for UTEP, as Josh Weeks (4-71) and David Lucero (4-62) were the top two receivers.
UTEP had a pair of double-figure tacklers in A.J. Hotchkins (14) and Nik Needham (10), while Reed Blankenship led Middle Tennessee with nine tackles and two pass breakups.
The special teams standout for the Miners was Terry Juniel with 95 kickoff return yards and 21 punt return yards. He now ranks ninth in school history with 1,103 kickoff return yards.
“Overall our execution can be better than what it was today, but our effort was tremendous,” Dimel said.
The Miners will play their final road game of 2018 next Saturday (Nov. 17) at WKU. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. MT and the game will be televised on beIN Sports.
Photo gallery courtesy Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta, Chief Photographer, El Paso Herald-Post
UTEP football’s Quardraiz Wadley was named to the honorable-mention list for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week, the organization announced Tuesday
The junior helped the Miners to a 34-26 win at Rice on Nov. 3. Wadley rushed for 91 yards, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, in the victory.
Wadley put the Miners on the board first with a 12-yard run. Later in the second quarter he added another 12-yard rushing touchdown to extend UTEP’s lead to 20-0. His longest rush of the game came late in the fourth quarter, when he dashed for 25 yards.
Through nine games, the junior has compiled a total of 475 yards rushing yards. His season high came against NM State (Sept. 22), when he registered 111 yards on the ground. He has also contributed to the Orange and Blue offense by picking up 90 receiving yards.
SMU quarterback Ben Hicks was named The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week, while Josh Adkins (QB, NM State), Eno Benjamin (RB, ASU), David Blough (QB, Purdue), Corey Dauphine (RB, Tulane), J.K. Dobbins (RB, Ohio State), Caleb Evans (QB, ULM), Willie Jones III (QB, Texas State), Lee Morris (WR, Oklahoma) and Aca’Cedric Ware (RB, USC) earned-honorable mention recognition alongside Wadley.
UTEP meets Middle Tennessee on “Fan Appreciation Day” Saturday. Early kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in the Sun Bowl. Special fan rewards will be given away throughout the game, and fans are invited to come on the field postgame. The first 2,500 fans will receive free hats. Purchase of a football ticket gains free admittance to the UTEP women’s basketball season opener versus Alcorn State that evening (7 p.m.) in the Haskins Center. For tickets, please call 747-5234.
UTEP burst out to a 27-0 lead in a dominating first-half performance, then held off resurgent Rice in the second half for a 34-26 win, its first victory since 2016.
The Miners (1-8, 1-4 C-USA) stamped out their 20-game losing streak, notched their first win under coach Dana Dimel and handed Rice (1-9, 0-6 C-USA) its ninth consecutive defeat.
It was UTEP’s first triumph at Rice Stadium since 2005, its initial year in Conference USA.
“Obviously the first half was the style of football that I love to see our team play,” Dimel said. “That was good football in all three aspects of what we did. In the second half, give credit to Rice. They came back and did some really positive things and hung in there. That team’s got a lot of fight. But our guys found a way to win. There wasn’t any panic in what we were doing and we just stayed within the game plan. The defense made a couple of great stands there in the fourth quarter. Overall I was very, very happy with the way our football team played and very excited to get the victory.”
The Miners scored the game’s first 27 points for only the third time against a C-USA opponent. UTEP led 34-0 at UTSA in 2014 and 28-0 at North Texas in 2014.
UTEP piled up 310 yards of offense in the first half. Kai Locksley threw for 193 yards in the first 30 minutes, and joined Quardraiz Wadley in rushing for two touchdowns.
It didn’t take long for the Miners to get on the board. Wadley’s 12-yard scoring run with 12:32 left in the first quarter made it 7-0. It was UTEP’s quickest TD versus a C-USA opponent since 2011, also at Rice.
Wadley and Locksley alternated TD runs in the first half, with Wadley scoring twice on 12-yard runs and Locksley picking up a pair of one-yard scores.
Rice only managed four first downs in the first half, with one coming on a 35-yard pass from Wiley Green to Austin Walter late in the half that set up a 43-yard field goal. The Owls had 96 yards in the first half.
The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, with Treyvon Hughes picking up a 19-yard rushing score.
But Rice came alive in the final period, as Green connected with Austin Trammell for a pair of long scores and the Owls converted back-to-back two-point conversions, suddenly making it a one-possession game (34-26) with a little over eight minutes to go.
The Owls would get a few more cracks at it, but a UTEP defense that has been solid all season long stepped up time and time again. First, the Miners forced a three and out. Then Justin Rogers picked off Green’s desperation pass on 4th and 20 at midfield. The game ended on a 25-yard completion from Green to Jordan Myers at the Rice 36-yard line when the clock ran out.
UTEP was balanced as can be offensively with 210 yards passing and 200 rushing. Locksley completed 13-of-21 passes for 193 yards. Wadley and Hughes rushed for 91 and 76 yards, respectively.
The Miners had a slim edge in total yards (410-383) as the Owls put up 287 yards in the second half. Green threw for 313 yards for Rice, which had a pair of 100-yard receivers in Trammell (112 yards) and Walter (104 yards).
UTEP meets Middle Tennessee on Fan Appreciation Day Saturday, Nov. 10. Early kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in the Sun Bowl. Special fan rewards will be given away throughout the game, and fans are invited to come on the field postgame.
The first 2,500 fans will receive free hats. Purchase of a football ticket gains free admittance to the UTEP women’s basketball season opener versus Alcorn State that evening in the Haskins Center.