UTEP Depth Chart Outlook: Time to Look at Redshirt Possibilities
Not much has changed for the UTEP depth chart following Texas Tech and their bye week.
But what we can start to look at are the different possibilities for the Miners to redshirt a couple of their younger players to allow them to develop more in the system and be ready for the gridiron.
First, here's the offensive and defensive depth chart going into Nevada.
Note: at the linebacker position, the Miners will still continue with Jason VanHook, Sione Tupou and Joe Jay Smith in place of the injured Kalaii Griffin. Expect Elijah Ruiz and Dylan Parsee to see some action on the field in this game.
For the most part though, the team is pretty much identical now to how they looked in week one. Now comes the possibility of redshirting some players. Per NCAA rules, coach Dana Dimel plans to use as much of the four-game rule he can for some of these players, allowing them to gain some on-field experience in a couple of games and then redshirting them.
One in particular who the Miners are eyeing to potentially redshirt is hometown running back freshman Deion Hankins. The city's all-time high school rushing leader came in with a ton of expectations, and Aaron Jones comparisons, but a decision to redshirt him isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The Miners have a well established running back unit right now, with senior Treyvon Hughes leading the way (171 rushing yards and two touchdowns), followed by junior Josh Fields (88 rushing yards).
It will take time for Hankins to get acclimated to the Divison I level, like it does most college athletes. Dimel and his staff seem to want to harbor young talent and not rush anyone onto the field when they aren't ready.
"Right now with that four-game rule, we are very much considering [redshirting Hankins] as a possibility," Dimel said. "I sit and visit with Joe Robinson, our special teams coach, about how we are using each and every one of our players. One thing we talk about is our personnel and how we are planning to use them. We just got to be really smart because we have four games that Deion can play and still redshirt. If we are going to play him, we want to play him for a significant amount in a game. At this point, yes."
However, this doesn't mean that this is a set-in-stone scenario, according to Dimel.
"As you know, one injury to the running back position and all of a sudden, Deion is thrown into the mix that much quicker," Dimel said. "He is improving on his transition each and every day and you can see it. Showing us the things we saw in recruiting, that's for sure."
Aside to receiver Jacob Cowing, who has played at a high level through these first two weeks of action, the Miners haven't really debuted any other true freshmen on their roster. Look at other well-regarded 2019 recruits, like 3-star quarterback TJ Goodwin, to possibly redshirt this season.