UTEP football head coach Sean Kugler presented 24 new additions to the team on Feb. 3, who will sign their national letter of intent to play at UTEP.
From Texas alone, the Miners gained 19 athletes. Out of the other 24 signees, two come from Washington, and one from Maryland, Kansas and California.
The prospects differ from both ends of the ball, emphasizing one major attribution: speed. The Miners will gain four linebackers, four defensive lineman, four running backs, four defensive backs, three offensive lineman, two wide receivers, one quarterback, one athlete and one tight end.
“One of the main things we try to do is get to know them as student-athletes, get to know their families and get to know their character,” head coach Sean Kugler said. “We try doing our best job to bring players into our program that is going to bring to right type of players for our program. I’m very excited to introduce this year’s class.”
A key project that Kugler has improved since being here is local recruitment. UTEP obtained seven individuals from the Sun City, the most in a recruitment class under Kugler. Now, the Miners have signed a total of 17 El Pasoans throughout the four years Kugler has been with the school.
“The guys we got, we are very excited about,” Kugler said. “I have goals as a head coach to have a player from every single high school on this team.”
This class that Kugler obtained have demonstrated the ability to move. Whereas last season they signed a strong recruiting class, this year shows major agility.
“I think we got more speed than we anticipated with this class, which we will always take,” Kugler said. “Our goal was to build up both sides of the ball – the offense and defensive line. Now you are going to see a 3-4 on the defense, so it will be new players in those position.”
At times, recruits that have committed to a college, end up de-committing. Even though Kugler experienced individuals who decided to take their talents elsewhere, he believes it is just part of the process.
“There’s some heartaches – you lose some guys who you’ve invested a lot of time in,” Kugler said. “It’s very rewarding to put so much work into some of these boys and have them stay loyal.”
After signing four new coaches – Brent Pease (offensive coordinator), Tom Mason (defensive coordinator), Theron Aych (receivers) and Don Yanowsky (linebackers), Kugler and his new staff had to tackle the responsibility of finding new prospects quickly.
“Usually what we do (as a staff) is take a few days off after this whole process,” Kugler said. “Don (Yanowsky) was outstanding. He’s been at some outstanding places. Don, Theron (Aych), Brent (Pease) Tom (mason) all knocked out recruits and they’ve only been here a short while. Not only excited about their coaching capability, but excited as far as recruiting.”
Here is a list of the Miners’ recruits for 2016 per UTEP Athletics:
2016 UTEP Signing Class Roster
Name POS HT WT Hometown (Previous School)
Tiano Tialavea DL 6-3 350 Seattle, Wash. (O’Dea HS)
Keith Sullivan DL 6-7 255 Houston, Texas (Aldine Davis HS)
Christian Johnson DL 6-2 255 El Paso, Texas (Parkland HS)
Josh Ortega DL 6-2 275 El Paso, Texas (Montwood HS)
Justin Rogers DB 5-11 185 Los Angeles, Calif. (Los Angeles HS)
Broderick Harrell DB 5-11 195 Wolfforth, Texas (Frenship HS)
Eric Foster DB 6-0 185 El Paso, Texas (Americas HS)
Joseph Pickney DB 6-0 185 Crosby, Texas (Crosby HS)
Sione Tupou LB 5-11 240 Allen, Texas (Allen HS)
Dedrick Simpson LB 6-2 260 Houston, Texas (Dobie HS)
Dylan Parsee LB 6-2 210 San Angelo, Texas (San Angelo Central)
Kolbi McGary LB 6-0 205 Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill HS)
Walter Dawn ATH 5-6 170 Mesquite, Texas (Poteet HS)
Brannon Bullitt WR 6-0 210 El Paso, Texas (Chapin HS)
Richie Rodriguez WR 5-9 175 El Paso, Texas (Eastwood HS)
Amorama Noel TE 6-3 240 Houston, Texas (Alief Elsik HS)
Kevin Dove RB 6-0 250 El Campo, Texas (El Campo HS)
Antonio Dupree RB 5-11 225 Baltimore, Md. (Gilman HS)
Quardraiz Wadley RB 6-0 180 Kennedale, Texas (Kennedale HS)
Ronald Awatt RB 5-11 195 Wolfforth, Texas (Frenship HS)
Mark Torrez QB 6-0 185 El Paso, Texas (Eastwood HS)
Tanner Stallings OL 6-1 300 Hutchinson, Kan. (Hutchinson CC)
Bobby Deharo OL 6-4 270 El Paso, Texas (Montwood HS)
Jared Goldwire OL 6-6 300 Covington, Wash. (Kentwood HS)
On Thursday, Feb. 4 Kugler announced the 2016 football schedule. The Miners will open their season at home against New Mexico State on Sept. 3. Then they will travel to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns on Sept. 10. Afterwards, they will return to the Sun Bowl to take on Army on Sept. 17.
The Miners’ spring game will be April 17 at 7 p.m.
UTEP Football Schedule:
Sept. 3 NEW MEXICO STATE
Sept. 10 at Texas
Sept. 17 ARMY
Sept. 24 SOUTHERN MISS*
Oct. 1 at Louisiana Tech*
Oct. 8 FIU*
Oct. 15 BYE
Oct. 22 at UTSA*
Oct. 29 OLD DOMINION*
Nov. 5 HOUSTON BAPTIST
Nov. 12 at Florida Atlantic*
Nov. 19 at Rice*
Nov. 26 NORTH TEXAS*
Home games in ALL CAPS | * Denotes C-USA Games
Adrian Broaddus may be reached at [email protected]