UTEP HC Dana Dimel | Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez

Video+Story: UTEP Football adds to 2020 Signing Class

Head coach Dana Dimel and the UTEP Football program spent Wednesday morning adding to the 2020 signing class in a big way with the addition of 20 new Miners announced on National Signing Day.

The 20 new signees announced on Wednesday is a continuation from the early signing period on Dec. 18 when the Miners inked a total of 11 signees to National Letters of Intent.

Overall, the Miners signed 31 to the 2020 class between the December and February signing periods. Dimel and his staff brought in a total of 17 players on the defensive side of the ball, 10 on offense, two specialists and a pair of athletes.

In December, the Miners brought in a defensive-minded class with eight players added on defense, two offensive signees and an athlete. It was a different story, however, on Wednesday with a much more balanced signing class with eight on offense, nine defensive additions, two specialists and an athlete.

UTEP’s defensive line and linebacker positions received the biggest bolsters in the signing class with a total of 14 from those position groups signing on to become Miners.

“We put a heavy emphasis on midyear defensive transfers [in December],” Dimel said on Wednesday afternoon. “With this group, we wanted to supplement the offense more. We feel like we’ve strengthened the offensive line, tight end and wide receiver positions, but we feel really good about the defensive line and linebacker spots as well.”

In addition to the seven junior college additions from December, UTEP signed eight additional transfers on Wednesday. Overall, the Miners brought in 16 high school products and 15 from the junior college ranks with the 2020 class.

Geographically, UTEP brought in 12 products from the Lone Star state, six from California and three from Arizona. The remaining signees were spread across the country, hailing from Florida (2), Georgia (1), Louisiana (1), Missouri (1), Tennessee (1), Iowa (1), Utah (1), Maryland (1) and New Mexico (1).

“We feel like we met all of our needs during this recruiting cycle,” Dimel stated. “Just like everybody else in the country, we’re still going to be in the market for grad transfers to fill voids. We’ll have a better idea of where those voids lie once we get through spring ball.”

The first three signees were announced between 8-9 a.m. MT on Wednesday morning when Amman Fifita (TE/Snow College/Salem Hills, Utah), Michael Flood (OL/Maricopa HS/Maricopa, Az.) and Zach Fryar (TE/NMMI/Venice, Fla.) officially signed on to become Miners. UTEP followed up with more newcomers added to the roster in Azizi Henry (OL/Wylie HS/Wylie, Texas), Michael Ike (DL/Hendrickson HS/Pflugerville, Texas), Jacob Moi (LB/Citrus Valley HS/Redlands, Ca.), Elijah Robinson (LB/Citrus Hill HS/Perris, Ca.), Xavier Simmons (LB/Parkland HS/El Paso, Texas) and Luke Soto (TE/Bakersfield/Tehachapi, Ca.) all before 10 a.m. MT.

From there, the Miners wrapped up the 10 o’clock hour with announcements for Osaiasi Taueli (LB/Mesa HS/Mesa, z.), Angelo Tejada (LS/Judson HS/Converse, Texas), Sione Tonga’uiha (DL/Tempe HS/Tempe, Az.), Connor Villalpando (LS/Goddard HS/Roswell, N.M.), Christian Willis (WR/College of San Francisco/Sandy Spring, Md.) and Tucker Dunbar (OL/American River College/Folsom, Ca.).

Included in UTEP’s latest signees are a pair of midyear transfers in Gary Theard (LB/Chaffey College/Upland, Ca.) and Q’ Drennan (WR/New Mexico/El Paso, Texas), as well as two local high school products in Davis Burns (ATH/Coronado HS/El Paso, Texas) and Kiante Liggins (LB/Andress HS/El Paso, Texas) who signed on Wednesday.

Linebacker Connor Helsius (Rancho Cucamonga, Ca.), a junior college signee from Mt. San Antonio College, closed out a full day of action for the UTEP football program with his announcement coming on Wednesday afternoon.

With the conclusion of the 2020 signing periods, Dimel and the new-look Miners will now turn their attention to the start of spring football, which is just over a month away from the March 11 start date.

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.

 UTEP Signing Day Central/Full Roster, Bios & Highlights: click here.


Name                                    Pos.       Ht.          Wt.        Yr.          Hometown (Previous School)                   

Dennis Barnes                   DB          5-11       170         R-Jr.       Jefferson City, Mo. (Fort Scott CC)

Willie Eldridge                   RB           5-11       190         Fr.           Houston, Texas (Cy Ranch HS)

Verenzo Holmes               DB          5-11       190         R-Jr.       Grovetown, Ga. (NW Mississippi CC)

Ian James                            OL           6-5          275         Fr.           Aubrey, Texas (Aubrey HS)

Tyrice Knight                      LB           6-1          235         R-So.     Lakeland, Fla. (Independence CC)

Dresden McIver                DT           6-0          278         Fr.           San Antonio, Texas (Veterans Memorial HS)

Kelton Moss                       DT           6-2          295         Jr.           Jonesboro, La. (Kilgore College)

Keenan Stewart                DT           6-2          300         R-So.     Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Iowa Western CC)

Jadrian Taylor                    DE           6-1          235         R-Jr.       Lufkin, Texas (Kilgore College)

Khalil Warfield                   ATH        6-2          205         Fr.           San Antonio, Texas (Antonian College Prep)

Deylon Williams                DL           6-2          255         R-Jr.       Smyrna, Tenn. (Independence CC)





Name                                    Pos.       Ht.          Wt.        Yr.          Hometown (Previous School)                   

Davis Burns                         ATH        6-1          185         Fr.           El Paso, Texas (Coronado HS)

Q’ Drennan                         WR         6-2          190         Gr.          El Paso, Texas (New Mexico)

Tucker Dunbar                  OL           6-4          290         Jr.           Folsom, Calif. (American River College)

Ammon Fifita                     TE           6-2          240         R-So.     Salem Hills, Utah (Snow College)

Michael Flood                    OL           6-6          305         Fr.           Maricopa, Ariz. (Maricopa HS)

Zach Fryar                           TE           6-3          245         So.          Venice, Fla. (NMMI)

Connor Helsius                  LB           6-0          215         Jr.           Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (Mt. San Antonio College)

Azizi Henry                          OL           6-5          285         Fr.           Wylie, Texas (Wylie HS)

Michael Ike                         DL           6-3          270         Fr.           Pflugerville, Texas (Hendrickson HS)

Kiante Liggins                     LB           6-1          210         Fr.           El Paso, Texas (Andress HS)

Jacob Moi                            LB           6-3          220         Fr.           Redlands, Calif. (Citrus Valley HS)

Elijah Robinson                 LB           6-2          225         Fr.           Perris, Calif. (Citrus Hill HS)

Xavier Simmons                LB           6-1          210         Fr.           El Paso, Texas (Parkland HS)

Luke Soto                            TE           6-6          255         So.          Tehachapi, Calif. (Bakersfield College)

Osaiasi Taueli                     LB           6-2          225         Fr.           Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS)

Angelo Tejada                   LS            5-10       200         Fr.           Converse, Texas (Judson HS)

Gary Theard                       LB           6-3          220         Jr.           Upland, Calif. (Chaffey College)

Sione Tonga’uiha              DL           6-1          285         Fr.           Tempe, Ariz. (Tempe HS)

Connor Villalpando          LS            6-0          185         Fr.           Roswell, N.M. (Goddard HS)

Christian Willis                   WR         6-2          195         Jr.           Sandy Spring, Md. (City College of San Francisco)