Looking Back At 15 Years of UTEP Football Recruiting
Today, UTEP announced that 32 players had signed National Letters of Intent to play football for the Miners beginning in the 2019 season. Many fans judge the quality of a signing class on the number of stars that their college program gets. Over the years, UTEP has not landed many prospects over two stars. For 2019, head coach Dana Dimel secured five 3-star prospects according to Rivals.com and seven 3-star prospects according to 247sports. That still puts them no better than 10th in Conference USA according to the recruiting sites. Have you ever wondered what some of UTEP's best players were ranked coming out of high school? Here is a look back at the last 15 years of recruiting and how Rivals rated each player out of high school or junior college.
2004 - all 2-star recruits, 13 total signees
Among the more publicized players Mike Price recruited were Parade All American running backs Tyler Ebell and Marcus Thomas, tight end Jamar Hunt, and defensive backs Rickey Porter, Andre Bailey, and James Delgardo.
2005 - four 3-star recruits, 31 total signees
Quarterback Brandis Dew was highly regarded but he never panned out at quarterback and did not want to play defensive line for the Miners. Their best three star player was Braxton Amy. Defensive end Aaron King, offensive lineman Cameron Raschke, and wide receiver Dashan Miller were two star recruits.
2006 - three 3-star recruits, 29 total signees
While running back Donald Buckram was top three star recruit, the Miners had plenty of successful two star players. Cornelius Brown, Trevor Vittatoe, Alex Solot, Robert Soleyjacks, and Jose Martinez were all two-star rated by Rivals.
2007 - six 3-star recruits, 23 total signees
Defensive back Roddray Walker was the best of the three star bunch, while Jeremy Springer, Nathan McCage, Jason Boyce, Russell Carr, and Isaiah Carter highlighted the two star recruits.
2008 - three 3-star recruits, 26 total signees
Antwon Blake, Bernard Obi, Clarence Ward, Jamie Irving, Eloy Atkinson, and Wiston Jeune were all two stars. Blake played seven years in the NFL, most notably with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
2009 - seven 3-star recruits, 19 total signees
Three star standouts like Richard Spencer and Adam Ayala highlighted the class. Brandon Miller, Jerel Watkins, Hunter Nix, and Germard Reed were two star players.
2010 - eight 3-star recruits, 28 total signees
Although Javia Hall never panned out at quarterback, Jordan Leslie (who later transferred to BYU), Eric Tomlinson, and Marcus Bagley were all three stars and solid contributors. Meanwhile, two star prospects like Malcolm Trail, Dakota Warren, Nathan Jefferey, Katrae Ford, and Traun Roberson all left their mark over their careers at UTEP.
2011 - two 3-star recruits, 21 total signees
Roy Robertson and A.J. Ropati were the Miners' three-star signees, and Robertson is currently wrecking havoc in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. Meanwhile, Cole Freytag, James Martin and Josh Fely highlighted the team's two-star prospects.
2012 - five 3-star recruits, 25 total signees
Dashone Smith and Autrey Golden were the three-star standouts from this class. Brandon Moss was the best two star prospect to come out of this very weak class.
2013 - one 3-star recruit, 15 total signees
Aaron Jones was the best player from this group, and the two star prospect is now starring in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers. Interestingly, both Alvin Jones and Will Hernandez were not even listed in Rivals, and both enjoyed stellar careers and are now playing on Sundays. This class will go down as one of the most successful in program history. The list of two star prospects who enjoyed great careers at UTEP is long: Darrin Laufasa, Lawrence Montegut, Devin Cockrell, Derek Elmendorff, Nick Usher, Jameel Erving, Nick Gathrite, Ryan Metz, Mack Leftwich, and Tyler Batson.
2014 - one 3-star recruit, 19 total signees
This class was a bust compared to the previous season. Derron Gatewood has enjoyed a strong career and will be back for his senior season. Nik Needham, Jimmy Musgrave, and Sterling Napier rounded out their two star prospects.
2015 - no 3-star recruits, 14 total signees
Greg Long, Markos Lujan, Ruben Guerra, Kavika Johnson, Kalon Beverly, and Sky Logan are the two-star highlights from this class. Guerra and Johnson are still on the current roster.
2016 - one 3-star recruit, 24 total signees
Dedrick Simpson, Sione Tupou, Walter Dawn, Quadraiz Wadley, Dylan Parsee, Justin Rogers, Mark Torres, and Tanner Stallings are players who are still with the team and have opportunities to play this season.
2017 - one 3-star recruit, 17 total signees
Sean Kugler's final class included Josh Fields, the team's lone 3-star signee. While Fields has yet to star as a Miner, Trace Mascorro, David Lucero, and Kahani Smith rounded out the two-star prospects.
2018 - one 3-star recruit, 28 total signees
Kai Locksley was the junior college player of the year and UTEP's lone 3-star commit. It is too early to project how Dana Dimel's inaugural class will pan out, but Coach Dimel indicated to us today that as many as 18 players should have a chance to play for the Miners. Zuri Henry and Elijah Klein have already seen action on the field.