The transfer portal era strikes UTEP again, and this time it's standout wide receiver Jacob Cowing. 

By all accounts, this is seen as a shock to Miner football fans. Cowing, who still has two years of eligibility under his belt, is by far the team's best player and is coming off a historic season. The first team All C-USA recipient caught 69 passes for 1,354 receiving yards (19.6 ypc) and totaled seven touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Justin Garrett was even set to give the No. 2 jersey that honors the late Luke Laufenberg to Cowing for the 2022 season.

Now, only 72 hours removed from UTEP's first bowl game in seven years, Cowing is in the portal. Matt Zenitz was the first on social media to report the news on Tuesday. College football fans from Power 5 schools like Texas, Alabama and Oregon have already been begging the Maricopa, Ariz. native to choose their university.

"Dear Miner Nation,
I just want thank you for all the love and the support of my three seasons here at Utep! To all my coaches and all the friendships I’ve got while being here you guys will forever be family to me ✊🏾 one of the hardest things I’ve done but I have to do what’s best for my family ‼️ coach dimel thank you for the opportunity and believing in me and letting me play for you it was a great journey ❤️
With that being said I’ve decided to enter the transfer portal for my last two years of eligibility, Gods plan."

- Jacob Cowing via Instagram

Because of the one-time transfer rule that the NCAA adopted back in the summer, student-athletes are allowed to transfer to the school of their liking and can be immediately eligible.

There are several factors to look at with this decision by Cowing.

One of them is obvious in his family. Cowing has a son back in Arizona and he might want to be closer to home. Cowing has been extremely responsible in balancing his athletics and fatherhood. He even missed the birth of his son when he was a freshman at UTEP on November 16, 2019, when the Miners lost 37-10 to UAB (Cowing finished with 85 receiving yards and left immediately after the game to be with his son). Maybe a squad like Arizona State or Arizona is in Cowing's ear to transfer closer to home.

The other possibility is the desire for more national exposure as an NFL Draft hopeful. Another university at the Power 5 level could've promised Cowing substantial playing time on national television. Texas had their eyes on Cowing briefly during his recruiting period and then backed off once they signed more players in 2018. If Cowing stayed at UTEP, the wideout could've been a late round draft pick. Maybe at a Power 5 school, Cowing can boost his stock.

Still, this stings for a UTEP program that has higher hopes in 2022.

Cowing will finish as one of the most productive receivers UTEP has ever seen. He tied a school record with 13 100-yard games during his career. His 1,354 yards rank second-best in school history for a single season. His best game came against New Mexico, finishing with 174 receiving yards on just five receptions. Against Rice, Cowing also finished with 11 catches for 170 yards and a touchdown.

"We feel like Jacob is one of the best receivers in the country, if not the best receiver in the country," said head coach Dana Dimel following his recognition to the All C-USA team. "We sure think he is; he's brought our offense to a whole new level."

Now we wait to see which other UTEP players enter the transfer portal during the offseason.

Photo gallery by Jorge Salgado

 

UTEP Falls in New Mexico Bowl to Fresno State, 31-24