Let me just start by saying I love this move by the UTEP coaching staff. When your team is 1-7 and out contention for a postseason bowl game, it is time to look towards the future. For the UTEP football team, they are wasting no time to see what they have at the quarterback position for the next three years. Head Coach Sean Kugler announced this morning that true freshman Mack Leftwich would start for the Miners this Saturday in Denton against North Texas. The move comes as a major surprise since Coach Kugler said last week that he had no intention of removing Leftwich's redshirt to play this season. However, the former North Allegheny (Pennsylvania) High School star has been impressive in running the scout team and UTEP is hoping Leftwich provides a spark to their offense with Jameill Showers out for the rest of the regular season with a separated right shoulder.

Last season, Leftwich was the Pennsylvania Player of the Year. He led North Alleghany to a 16-0 record and a state 4-A title. His team was also ranked #4 in the nation. Coach Kugler and Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin were both in attendance for the state championship game, and Tomlin raved about Leftwich's play. As a senior, he connected on 177-of-268 passes for 3,331 yards with 45 touchdowns and four interceptions, while he also ran for 553 yards on 138 carries with 10 rushing TDs. His father, Spencer, is UTEP's Assistant Head Coach and also coaches the offensive line for the Miners. The only knock against Spencer Leftwich is his lack of size. He's listed as 5-foot 10 inches tall and many feel his small stature will not allow him to succeed at the college level. UTEP coaches would beg to differ and this Saturday, Leftwich will have his first chance to prove his critics wrong.