RUIDOSO, N.M. – Sunny skies returned to the practice fields on Wednesday as the UTEP Miners grinded out another two-hour practice at the MCM Eleganté Lodge & Resort in Ruidoso.
A significant storyline in this year’s fall camp is the homegrown talent displayed on UTEP’s roster. A total of 23 players on the 2019 UTEP Football roster are considered El Pasoans, hailing from local high schools and looking to make a major impact this upcoming season for the Miners.
One of those local products is redshirt junior Greg Long, who was a standout lineman at Eastwood High School during his prep days before joining the Miners in 2016. Long is gearing up to make his long-awaited return to the offensive line after missing the majority of the last two seasons due to injuries.
“The offense is really working to establish our identity,” Long said of his team’s progress through fall camp. “It is a lot of fun being out here with my team playing for UTEP and I am really excited for the season. Being a hometown hero for my town and playing for UTEP means a lot, especially after what happened last week. I am proud to be a Miner, proud to be an El Pasoan and proud to be El Paso Strong.”
Another offensive lineman found right in UTEP’s backyard is redshirt sophomore guard Bobby DeHaro, who earned All-Conference USA Honorable Mention accolades in 2018 after starting every game for the Miners a season ago. The El Paso native hails from Montwood High School and looks to continue to be a mainstay on the Miner offensive line in 2019.
“This is my third camp and I am just trying to perfect my craft,” DeHaro noted. “Coach (Dana) Dimel and Coach (Mike) Simmonds have a really good system going on here. It’s about being mentally tough and getting through the camp grind. With what happened last week, I want to give my condolences to the families. These are tough times, but we are working hard. We are aware of what is happening with everything going on back home right now. We want to do everything we can for the town of El Paso and be El Paso Strong.”
In addition to the El Paso natives on the offensive line, another local standout looking to make a name for himself in a Miner uniform is freshman running back Deion Hankins. Hankins graduated from Parkland High School in El Paso and joins the Miners fresh off a stellar prep career where he set city records for rushing yards and touchdowns during his high school days.
“I am still getting used to the experience and trying to get the plays down,” Hankins said following the team’s third practice in Ruidoso. “I am just trying to be myself and more comfortable in my running style. Once I get the plays down, I will be good. I am just trying to execute better. Coach (Reggie) Mitchell is really concerned about every little detail, so I am just trying to get the small things down and put everything together for this season.”
The Miners return to the practice fields at 9:40 a.m. on Thursday for a one-hour walk-through at the MCM Eleganté Lodge & Resort in Ruidoso, New Mexico. UTEP will practice in Ruidoso for the remainder of the week before heading back to campus on Sunday.
The 2019 season begins with the Miners playing hosts to Houston Baptist on Saturday, Aug. 31 in the Sun Bowl. Kickoff for the season-opener is set for 6 p.m. MT.
UTEP Football Season Tickets are on sale now and prices have been reduced at all levels from the 2018 season. The UTEP Season Ticket Office is located at Brumbelow Building Room 109 (next to the Don Haskins Center). Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased online, or by calling (915) 747-6150.
For complete coverage of UTEP Football, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPFB (Twitter/Instagram) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics at UTEPMiners.com.