UTEP Football Recruiting Radar: Miners Pushing to Land Big Talent
It's recruiting season for UTEP football and their coaching staff, as they try to build upon their team as it stands and grow with some depth.
As the season concluded in November, head coach Dana Dimel told the media that the team has 11 scholarships to work around with. However, with verbal commits coming in, the coaching staff will juggle with a smaller amount of scholarship offers and will have the flexibility to offer recruits preferred walk-on (PWO) opportunities. Here's what we know so far:
- QB TJ Goodwin - 6-4 | Cy Falls (Houston) | 3-star
- RB Deion Hankins - 6-1 | Parkland (El Paso) | 3-star
- WR Ajani Carter - 6-2 | North Shore (Houston) | 3-star
- WR Quintavius Workman - 6-4 | Chapin (El Paso)
- DT Sua'ava Tupua - 6-1 | Narbonne (Harbor City, CA)
- OLB Joe Jay Smith Jr. - 6-2 | Garden City C.C.
- CB Miles Banks - 6-1 | Blinn College
UTEP football excited fans with early commits by the likes of TJ Goodwin, Deion Hankins, Sua'ava Tupua and Ajani Carter. Hankins inked his name in Texas high school football history by being the first El Paso player to rush for over 6,000 yards in his career. He finished his career with 7,491 rushing yards for the Parkland Matadors.
Quintavius Workman out of Chapin is a sleeper for UTEP, though. His height, speed and natural ability to catch the ball jumps off the page, and he was able to do some nice things with a Chapin Huskies team that wasn't the best in the passing game this past season.
The Miners landed Joe Jay Smith Jr. and Miles Banks within the past week out of the JUCO ranks. Dimel and staff talked about the importance of replacing players at the linebacker and corner spot, so landing these players was of high importance for the group moving forward. Both Smith Jr. and Banks could work toward solidifying playing time this fall for UTEP.
On the Radar:
Ronathon Elmore (6-6, 260) - EDGE/OLB - Mesa Comunity College
Ronathon Elmore is a scary dude on defense. Just check out his Hudl, which is titled "BBQ Season." For a 260-pound pass rusher, Elmore can break into the backfield with his quickness and strength. This past weekend, Elmore took his official visit to UTEP, but has not declared where he will take his talents. The Miners will need a pass rusher or hybrid linebacker to replace the likes of A.J. Hotchkins and CJ Reese.
Jaylin Bannerman (6-5, 240) - OLB - Arizona Western College
Jaylin Bannerman was another member of this past weekend's official visit list. How did it go for Bannerman of Arizona Western College? He took it to Twitter saying "UTEP visit was smooth." This is a player the Miners want to capture. He's ranked the seventh best in his position by 24/7 Sports and has been actively recruited by Liberty, UMass, Jacksonville State and Southeast Missouri State.
Jonathan Alexander (6-3, 205) - Safety - Kilgore Junior College
Another JUCO prospect the Miners are actively pursuing is Jonathan Alexander, who has lived and played in Texas his whole life. Downside for Alexander, however, is the fact that he is being actively recruited by Old Dominion, Prairie View A&M, Texas State and Grambling State, among others. But here's a positive nugget: Alexander and UTEP offensive lineman Darta Lee both played at Kilgore Junior College, so there's a connection already established there. He's ranked the 13th best safety and 14th overall prospect in Texas by 24/7 Sports.
Others on the radar: (Updated)
UTEP offered center Robert Mervin, who is a 6-foot-4, 325-pound big man out of Hutchinson Community College. Former UTEP offensive coordinator and tight end Brian Natkin is now at Hutchinson junior college, who also probably had some good words of advice to tell Mervin.
They have also offered Kelvin Clemmons, a highly sought after cornerback from Hutchinson as well. He has received offers from Kentucky, South Florida, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, among others.
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