Former UTEP Lineman Will Hernandez Reunites with Sean Kugler, Signs with Cardinals
As free agents start finding their next landing spot across the NFL, a former UTEP star has reunited with his college coach.
When the Arizona Cardinals signed former Giants guard Will Hernandez, it meant that the former Miner standout would be working directly under Arizona run game coordinator/offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who coached him from 2014-17 at UTEP.
Hernandez was a two-time AP All-American at UTEP (2016 & 2017) en route to becoming a second round draft pick to the Giants. With the Miners, he started all 49 games of his college career and he was also a four-time All C-USA selection.
With the Giants, Hernandez played mostly guard through four seasons. He made 56 starts in 62 games over his young career. The 2020 season was tough for Hernandez, who dealt with an ankle injury and also missed time due to contracting the coronavirus. In 2021, he played right guard for the Giants.
Following an 18–36 record between 2013-17, including an 0-5 start to the 2017 season, Kugler resigned as head coach for UTEP. He returned to the NFL as Kugler became the Broncos' offensive line coach in 2018. Since 2019, Kugler joined Kliff Kingsbury's staff in Arizona and he was promoted to run game coordinator during last offseason.
The Cardinals went into the offseason with questions around the right guard position. They have Josh Jones, who was a 2020 third-round draft pick but struggled with consistency. Justin Murray, who dealt with a back injury in 2021, is also a candidate for the right guard position.
So for Hernandez, he gets a second contract in the NFL with the college coach that helped him get to this point. He should be in the a good position to fill the need for a right guard in Arizona if he's able to beat Jones and Murray on the depth chart.
And for Kugler, he gets one of his favorite prospects from college to join him in the pros.
It's a great UTEP reunion in the NFL, most likely the first of its kind.