The Breakdown: How Proximity Plays a Significant Role for UTEP Recruiting
When head coach Dana Dimel first stepped foot on campus, his recruiting promise seemed ambitious: hit Texas, grab the best local players, splash JUCO transfers and snag some graduate transfers on the way.
And today, with the announcement of a whopping 32 names signing to UTEP, it served as a good glimpse to see how Dimel and his staff will recruit and exactly where they will turn their focus toward.
With 21 products coming from the Lone Star state, needless to say, Dimel executed on his promise on recruiting Texas.
"We said when we got here we were going to recruit the state of Texas. We have 21 players from the state of Texas in this class, which is a great number," Dimel said.
But beyond Texas, it's clear that Dimel has made California a promising JUCO hub and wants to continue to recruit in Arizona, Kansas, Las Vegas and elsewhere in the southwest.
"We have seven players from the state of California," Dimel said. "We have two players from the state of Arizona, which I do want to develop more numbers in the state of Arizona moving forward. Then we have one player from Pennsylvania and one player from Kansas, so that rounds out our 32."
And the strategy for Dimel and his staff was to be patient with recruiting, honing in on some big names in which they snagged as late as last week. For example, safety McKel Broussard, a 3-star prospect out of California, had been getting looks from Texas, Florida Atlantic and Rice, but decided to play for the Miners. Broussard expected to also pickup offers following his showing at the All-American Bowl that showcases the top high school athletes, but UTEP was the school patiently waiting for him and eventually signed him.
"The last two weeks of recruiting we made some trips out to California and found some really good players," Dimel said. "We found some good kids in the state of Texas because what happens is if you are sitting in January and you have scholarships in your pocket, you're a popular guy. When you walk into a high school with scholarships in your pocket, all the coaches and players flock to you. That's when you can get some great players."
Earlier in December, fans were upset with the fact that UTEP did not announce their early signees. Dimel explained that a slow-down approach would help the staff better evaluate talent on their radar.
"The urgency to sign players early, things are getting so fast now that you have to make decisions on kids that are 16 years old," he said. "We want to make decisions on kids that are 18 years old. The longer we wait, the longer we see them mature."
Aside to recruiting on a state-wide scale, the Miners also snagged six prospects from the Sun City, including 3-star running back Deion Hankins. Although Dimel missed out on a few targetted players in the city, he felt content with getting the best available talent across El Paso.
"The El Paso community and the El Paso high school coaches care so much about our program and they want us to have success and it's so obvious when you go out to their programs," Dimel said. "We are going to be select. We're not going to take guys just because they are from El Paso. That has nothing to do with it. Coaches are tremendous. They come to practice, support us, and it doesn’t go unnoticed."
Check out the full list of 2019 signees here.