UTEP Football Names to Note Going into the Summer
It was a busy spring football season for first-year head coach Dana Dimel and his new staff as they worked to implement new offense, defense and special teams.
After the spring, some individuals stood out among the rest, taking some new fresh looks for the team. UTEP returns 50 lettermen, with 22 offensive, 25 defensive and three special teams players.
The Orange beat the Blue squad 20-13 in the team's annual spring game, thus concluding the spring season. During the game, the Miners aired the ball out and showcased some pretty good defense.
Now, the squad and the fans will wait about four and a half months for their regular season opener against Northern Arizona on Sept. 1.
“The guys have got a lot to work on, obviously, but I thought we had a really good scrimmage. When I say a lot to work on, it doesn’t stop here. It just keeps progressing. But overall I was very, very pleased with the scrimmage and very pleased with what they did. I love the attitude and the effort was fantastic. The things they’ve got to work on now, are getting in the weight room and finishing up the academics very hard these next couple of weeks going into finals.”
-UTEP head coach Dana Dimel
Here are some names that stood out during UTEP's spring season:
Treyvon Hughes (Junior Running Back)
Here's a name that not a lot were talking about at the start of the spring season. The 6-foot-1, 235-pound tailback took the off-season to convert from linebacker to running back, and has been swift in his transition.
Little did Hughes know that his talents would be called upon after former running back Kevin Dove announced his intentions to transfer. Hughes has been the big back for the Miners, taking the third down runs up the middle and pounding through defenses.
Last season at linebacker he had 40 tackles, two quarterback hurries and played in 12 games.
Kahani Smith (Senior Safety)
It’s no surprise senior defensive back Nik Needham will be leading the charge for UTEP’s defense this year. He’s gotten 24 pass breakups during his career, just two away from two pass breakups to be UTEP’s all-time leading defensive back.
And he has a close counterpart on the opposite side who is making waves in the secondary. Senior Kahani Smith had a breakout year last year, joining the secondary when it was injury plagued in 2017.
He started seven games last year and took two interceptions for a touchdown. He had 46 tackles and three pass breakups.
This spring year, Smith has become a strong anchor to the defensive secondary, along with Kalon Beverly. He’s fast and could become one of the best secondary members on the team.
Warren Redix (Senior Wide Receiver)
New coaches have tossed around the phrase underutilized to describe UTEP’s wide receiving core. That initial theory was exploited in Friday’s scrimmage, as UTEP threw the ball 63 times in the scrimmage and amassed 380 yards.
Moreover, there’s not an offensive player that took more of a step forward than El Paso hometown boy Warren Redix. He was a prime target for quarterbacks through various practices, showed his potential as a route runner and caught seven passes for 56 yards at the spring game.
Watch out for him this fall because he will be a threat to defenses.
Chris Richardson (Junior Defensive Lineman)
Contributing to the switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3, UTEP junior defensive lineman Chris Richardson has been improving more and more on the defensive front.
As a freshman, he was named to the C-USA Freshman team in 2016, starting all 12 games at the nose guard position. He did not play last season, but instead contributed to the scout team.
This is the year Richardson has been waiting for. He shows all the talents as a prime run stopper, and at 6-foot-3, 300-pounds, Richardson can do a lot for this front.