UTEP Football Announces Several Signees From the Borderland
National Signing Day is finally here, and as players declare where they will spend the next years of their lives, there are surprises that come up.
This was the first full calendar year that the new UTEP football coaching staff had to fully recruit and get their own batch of players to the program. Although the team decided not to announce their early signees back in December, the program announced today their official signees that included some surprises.
It seemed to be that head coach Dana Dimel and his staff chose to recruit heavily in East Texas, California, Kansas and a sprinkle of Arizona. They offered some of the city's top prospects, like Parkland standout running back Deion Hankins and Chapin wide receiver Quintavius Workman, but we didn't hear too much about other local players being offered up until last week.
Today, though, the Miners announced the signings of Andress running back Jalen Joseph and kicker Mark Ramos, Chapin tight end Julian Lopez and Pebble Hills offensive lineman Fabio Novoa, along with Hankins and Workman.
Hankins not only leads the way among local recruits, but he has the highest prospect grade of all UTEP's recruits, according to 247 Sports. He has the pedigree to back it up too. Hankins became the only player in El Paso high school football history to eclipse 6,000 rushing yards, to which he shattered by the end of the season and ended his career at Parkland with a remarkable 7,491 rushing yards.
Yup, now it's really time to throw in the Aaron Jones comparisons.
I really enjoyed watching the two Chapin signees in Workman and Lopez this season too. Workman's numbers don't exactly jump off the page (32 catches, 503 receiving yards, two touchdowns), but Chapin didn't throw too much this season and at 6-foot-5, Workman has a lot of promise. Just look at his Hudl. For Lopez, he can play anywhere on offense or be a factor on special teams, if desired by the coaching staff. He's a 6-foot-2 athlete that played on both sides of the ball.
The Andress duo in running back Joseph and kicker Ramos is also a nice pair of grabs for the Miners. Joseph is a really strong runner, who totaled 773 yards on the ground this year for the Golden Eagles. Ramos was one of the city's best field goal kickers, hitting 34-of-47 in his career with a long of 45. The Miners desperately need a kicker and Ramos could be the guy down the line.
Offensive lineman Fabio Novoa is another interesting pickup for the Miners. At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, Novoa can mix his big body with his deceiving speed on the offensive line. Interestingly enough, Novoa was also coached by former UTEP offensive lineman Derek Elmendorff, who is now the offensive line coach at Pebble Hills.
In all, there's no real clarity of who will be on scholarship among this local bunch, but the Miners received some hard-working local guys that will enter this program with something to prove. Some might earn scholarships, while others will be walk-on's. Some might be grey/blue shirted, while others could see the field as soon as the fall.
This also means that this coaching staff will continue to recruit the city's top prospects. This big question is whether or not they are offering scholarships to these local guys or if they want them to earn their spot on the team. Regardless, the Miners showed in this class that they are willing to give opportunities to El Paso products, but in a different way than in the Sean Kugler regime.
Kugler would often offer top name recruits in the city full scholarships, while missing out on some out of town talents. Dimel's regime, although they missed out on some names, prioritized getting the best available talent, no matter the location.
Just missed out:
There were a handful of prospects from El Paso that decided to go elsewhere, some of which that received offers from UTEP. One of the main ones that UTEP had on their radar was Parkland wideout Khatib Lyles, who signed with C-USA affiliate North Texas instead. They offered Chapin linebacker/safety Will Williams after he was already offered by Baylor, to which he ended up signing with. Another Chapin player they missed out on was Lama Lavea, as the defensive tackle chose to sign with NMSU instead.
There were two prospects that the Miners did not have on their radar, but ended up getting some nice offers to play Division I football. Coronado lineman Jack Niland declared he would sign with TCU as a preferred walk-on. Del Valle standout receiver Karch Gardiner will also be a walk-on at Arkansas. A tremendous opportunity for Gardiner to play for an SEC team like the Razorbacks.