UTEP Football Roster Outlook: Wide Receivers
Last year, UTEP's passing offense was among the bottom-10 in the nation, gaining only 134.9 yards per game through the air. Both head coach Dana Dimel and offensive coordinator Mike Canales have showed how adamant they are in turning the offensive schemes around, and one particular unit that feels extremely confident in their off-season progress is the receiving core.
Below is the UTEP football receiver outlook for the 2018 season:
Terry Juniel - Senior - Glendale C.C.; Surprise, Ariz.
Terry Juniel is a promising return man, who's likely to take the spot for the Miners' kickoff team. He has elusive speed with the ability to juke defenders. He prides himself as being a shifty utility man, and if healthy, could do a lot of damage in the slot. He’s currently one punt return away from entering the school’s all-time top-10 punt return list, as well as compiling 254 career punt return yards.
Keynan Foster - Junior - Florida A&M; Lake Stevens, Wash.
Haven't seen as much action from Keynan Foster, but former head coach Sean Kugler was set on Foster to emerge into a tactical weapon for their offense. It seems like Foster's athleticism makes him a pretty interchangeable offensively, and if he sees the field, he can help the offense with his speed.
Last season, he played in four games with the Miners, but missed the rest of the season to an injury. Foster also received a full scholarship at Camp Ruidoso for his performance on the field and in the classroom.
Kavika Johnson - Senior - Mayfield; Las Cruces, N.M.
From a pure football perspective, there was not a more athletic player I covered in high school than Kavika Johnson of Las Cruces Mayfield. He could sling the ball exceptionally and run when there was a good look. Johnson translated his athleticism extremely well into the college ranks, but I wish he had been utilized even more throughout his years because this guy has a tremendous football IQ. He’s complied 890 total yards of offense through the air, on the ground and receiving yards, while scoring six times during his three years.
Johnson started off as a quarterback for the Miners, and even started some games during his freshman and sophomore seasons. He was also used as the Wildcat quarterback for the Miners in some cases as well. Last spring season, Johnson made the switch to receiver and made a lot of good first impressions, which translated well in the fall. Johnson is looking for a strong season, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him or Warren Redix lead the way in receiving.
Alan Busey - Senior - Chabot C.C.; Minneapolis, Minn.
Alan Busey had a lot of promise going into last season, but his growth was stunted to an injury he suffered early into the season. Prior to UTEP, Busey played two seasons at Chabot Junior College, where he caught 23 passes for 441 yards and scored six times.
Warren Redix - Senior - Montwood; El Paso, Texas
The El Paso product that is Warren Redix thinks that this team will surprise a lot of people through the passing game. The Miners ranked last in the conference in passing offense in 2017, but Redix is optimistic for his senior season.
He's is coming off the best spring season of any player on offense, showing he can catch on out-routes, vertical pass plays and can score touchdowns. The way Redix is able to cut so smoothly on passes makes him a prime target for any quarterback. I expect him to have a big season this year. He’s accumulated 414 total yards of receiving and has scored five times with the Miners.
Erik Brown - Senior - Riverside C.C.; Rialto, Calif.
Erik Brown joined the Miners late last season, but you could already see what kind of player he was, playing in nine games and totaling 151 receiving yards. He could catch the ball downfield, or even be a quick go-to target for screens. If coach Dimel and coach Canales' offense is implemented well with the group, guys like Brown could be the perfect third down receiver for UTEP.
Andrew Nwachukwu - Freshman - Wylie; Wylie, Texas
The Wylie, Texas prospect comes to UTEP with a decorated background in high school ball and might be a name that Miner fans talk about in the coming years. Nwachukwu is a winner, and proved it at the high school level, as he was named to the 2017 District 6-6A first team offense. He led Wylie High School with 785 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Richie Rodriguez - RS Freshman - Eastwood; El Paso, Texas
Another homegrown talent in Richie Rodriguez might get to see the field more this season, as the offense continues to implement more of a slot receiver into their schemes. Rodriguez lit up the state of Texas on the high school level, leading the state with 1,709 receiving yards, so it will be interesting to see where coach Canales has him at. Considering his speed, I would also like to see how Rodriguez could do on special teams.
Justin Garrett - Junior - Cerritos C.C.; Compton, Calif.
Coming as a JUCO transfer, Justin Garrett already has been praised by quarterbacks like Kai Locksley and Ryan Metz as a prime newcomer for this offense. At Cerritos College, he caught 38 passes for 592 yards. If he has a good camp Ruidoso, though, we might be talking about Garrett getting a starting job for this offense, especially considering how this new offensive unit praises his name.
Eddie Sinegal - Junior - Andress; El Paso, Texas
No one on the field prides themselves as having the most swagger on the field as Eddie Sinegal, who always has the electric jump off the snap. He's a great team guy, always joking with the squad, while still showing what he can do on the field. Sinegal will be the receiver to make the highlight plays for the Miners and I'm excited for his junior season.
He's totaled 482 receiving yards for the Miners on 46 catches. His explosiveness is key for the Miners, so look for him to be utilized effectively this season.
Walter Dawn Jr. - Senior - Texas Poteet; Mesquite, Texas
Shifty and elusive: two easy words to describe Walter Dawn Jr. Last season, Dawn Jr. started the season as the Miners' starting tailback after the loss of Quadraiz Wadley early on to an injury. Midway into the season, Dawn Jr. switched back to the slot receiver spot, where he was clearly missed. He contributed with 182 yards of total offense last year with four touchdowns.
Dawn Jr. is a deceiving target for the Miners' offense because of his ability to slip past defenders. He is a no-brainer start at the slot position for the Miners, and I want to see more handoffs with him on jet sweep plays.
Jonathan Patrick - Freshman - Cypress Falls; Houston, Texas
Coming from the Cypress Falls High School, Jonathan Patrick can be a strong future investment for the Miners. He was named to the 2017 All-District 17-6A second team offense. He hauled five catches for 149 yards and a touchdown.
Erin Portillo - Sophomore - Eastwood; El Paso, Texas
A source close to the Eastwood football team told me that Erin Portillo was one of the hardest working kids he saw in the locker room for the Troopers. Portillo spent his first season of college at Western New Mexico, and was a threat at the high school level, where he produced 2,229 yards on 134 receptions and 17 touchdowns in three varsity seasons at Eastwood High School. While his playing time might not come right away, it will be interesting to see his progression with the team in years to come.
Tre’Shon Wolf - RS Freshman - Texas Victoria East; Victoria, Texas
Ryan Metz told me during spring ball that people should definitely keep Tre'Shon Wolf's name in the back of their heads, and went on to say that he will be a promising addition to this team. Wolf is coming off his redshirt season with the Miners and looks to add more depth to this receiving core. At the high school level, he was named to 2016 UIL District 27-5A All-District first team offense, as he caught 55 passes for 1,374 yards and 16 touchdowns during his senior year.
Ricky Baker - Freshman - Texas Prestonwood Christian Academy; Plano, Texas
Ricky Baker is another one of the receiving prospects the Miners recruited for the class of 2018. With Texas Prestonwood Christian Academy, he tallied 1,088 yards on 74 receptions and scored 12 times in 14 games through his senior season. Prestonwood Christian and Baker won a TAPPS Division I state title this past season, to go along with his decorated resume.