Quardraiz Wadley Injury Opens Up Door for Treyvon Hughes
The UTEP football team is just days away from the start of their fall camp, and fans were dealt a big blow yesterday when they learned that senior running back Quardraiz Wadley will miss the 2019 season after fracturing his left big toe in a conditioning drill. Wadley left El Paso today for California, where a foot specialist will operate on him later this week with an expected recovery time of four to six months.
With Wadley out, many Miners fans are expecting true freshman Deion Hankins to take over as the primary running back in 2019. After all, the former Parkland star broke the city's all-time record for rushing yards early in his senior season and he finished his high school career with 7491 yards and 78 touchdowns. Hankins is an incredible person and he has succeeded everywhere he has been. That being said, he has not yet played a town of college football and it remains to be seen how difficult the transition to Division 1 will be for him. Just a few years ago, Josh Fields was considered the next El Paso star running back after he ran for 2,477 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior at Americas. Fields led the team with 362 rushing yards as a freshman in 2017 but he did not get many opportunities his sophomore season and later transferred from the program to Georgia Southern. Unless Hankins stands out in fall camp like Aaron Jones did his true freshman season, Miners fans should not expect the youngster to deliver from the opening kickoff.
Instead of putting a ton of pressure on Hankins to succeed as a true freshman, senior Treyvon Hughes has a terrific opportunity to shoulder the load at the running back position. After seeing limited action as a freshman in 2015, Hughes redshirted the following year and changed positions to linebacker, making six starts for the Miners. He returned to running back in 2018 and ranked third on the team in rushing attempts and yards. Listed at 6-1 and 235 pounds, Hughes is built like a bowling ball and can power through opposing defenses. He has already graduated and is now pursuing his Master's degree in Leadership Studies. All things point to Hughes getting an opportunity to crack the starting lineup and get the majority of reps.
Another name to keep an eye on is Ronald Awatt. The junior is also switching positions from defensive back to running back after the injury to Wadley. He played sparingly as a freshman in 2017 but he has always been a highly touted athlete among the locker room. Sophomore Reynaldo Flores originally walked on the team, but the former Ysleta star has a terrific work ethic and he has impressed when given opportunities. For Andres star and true freshman Jalen Joseph has also impressed during summer workouts. Hughes, Hankins, Awatt, and Flores give head coach Dana Dimel plenty of options to ensure his team will be able to run the ball effectively in 2019.