In The Dig: Three local kids make a UTEP roster; a Dallas powerhouse tries to find a replacement for a UTEP QB; 2 new offers to report in basketball; and the Houston Cougars lose a stud recruit to academic issues. First, the Dig kicks off with another UTEP Camp Socorro Video- a nice look at the mechanics of camp.
The UTEP Miners
Big Shoes to Fill
NFL Legend Charles Haley's son, C.J., is a frosh defensive back for the UTEP Miners. Bret Bloomquist has a feature up on him.
"Everybody hears 'Haley' and they expect 6-foot, 200-something pounds," C.J. Haley said. "Then they see me and say, 'Oh.'"
While we're lucky to have Javia Hall, the frosh QB, in the UTEP program now, his old high school, powerhouse Dallas Skyline High, is struggling to replace him. The Dallas Morning News has the story.
His name was Javia Hall. He was the team's quarterback and last season he threw 2,600 yards, 33 touchdowns and only two interceptions. His successor, Devante Kincade, is only a sophomore and for that reason Skyline coach Reginald Samples is tamping down the expectations.
Turn Up The Orange is Back
TUTO's Jay Koester has a nice breakdown of Phil Steele's preseason impressions of the Miners.
After reading all the critical comments on Pablo's prediction of a loss to Memphis, I found this note on the game interesting: "UTEP has been upset in all 3 meetings with Memphis but has outgained Memphis in 2 of the 3 as they are a combined -12 in turnovers."
Steele's final prediction: "They do have just 12 returning starters but were much better than their 3-5 C-USA record last year, and 8 of my 9 sets of power ratings call for them to be bowl eligible."
Joe Muench doesn't quite see the benefit of the Miners having training camp in Socorro, New Mexico. He concedes that the cost is probably about the same as having camp in El Paso and that coaches probably love the 24/7 and team building mentality the environment provides. He also just thinks that the players are probably bored, because they can't go out past curfew.
All that said, I bet if you take a poll of players next week, the vast majority will have wished they'd stayed in El Paso and worked out at the Sun Bowl or Glory Field - and then had the early evening hours to roam free. Or later, if they didn't get caught.
Random But Appreciated
The Times Milan Simonich has a feature up on how Don Haskins decision to turn down Detroit led to the rise of fame of Dick Vitale. I know a lot of college basketball fans get annoyed by Vitale, but I can't help but appreciate his passion for college hoops, and his voice can make otherwise boring games watchable.
Vitale, then 33, had so much energy and enthusiasm that he leapt out from the pack. He had won two high-school state championships in New Jersey and was an assistant at Rutgers when Detroit hired him as head coach. "With the Bear turning that job down, I ended up with a great opportunity," Vitale said of Haskins' brief stay in Detroit.
Another UTEP Preview
CBS Sports has a nice UTEP preview up.
K/P Dakota Warren -- Even though he's never played a down for the Miners, he might actually fit under the "Most important player" category. UTEP is hanging its hat on the transfer as there isn't another scholarship player on the roster who can kick or punt. Only walk-ons back him up. Warren did not participate in spring drills, but he is still the dual-role starter in the kicking game for the season.
Our Loss is Their Gain
Former UTEP basketball player Eric Moreland has been granted a waiver by the NCAA which will make him eligible for the Oregon St. Beavers immediately. This article has some nice insight on how excited the Beavers are to have him, and on why he chose to leave UTEP. Gotta love the honesty of the staff....
"It’s big, because one of the things we were really worried about this season was depth and having another player of Eric Moreland’s quality available is going to help out a whole lot,’’ said OSU coach Craig Robinson, who showed up briefly at football practice to talk about the Beavers’ roster news. Robinson said Moreland, "has got a motor like no other player we’ve had, so we’re really looking forward to getting him on the court.’’ Robinson said Moreland had no intention of leaving UTEP until he was "told he wasn’t going to play’’ by the staff of incoming coach Tim Floyd.
Don't Call it Soccer
It's always good to see local kids catch on with various UTEP teams. Three local kids will be suiting up for the UTEP soccer team in the fall.
3 El Pasoans........5 foot 7 junior midfielder Katie Dorman returns to UTEP. Dorman was tied for 4th on the team in assists and she was the only reserve to start every game during the 2009 season........Freshman forward Alejandra Carpio joins the UTEP soccer team. The Socorro High grad was a four-year letterman at Socorro High and was the District 1-5A MVP her junior season with the Bulldogs after scoring 34 goals which was a single-season record. Carpio was Offensive Player of the Year her sophomore year after guiding Socorro to a 13-3 record. Ginalen Soto, a freshman midfielder joins the orange and the blue after playing for the Waterford School in 2007, El Dorado High in 2008, and Provo High School.
Interest Growing: Jake White is a 6'7 small forward from Chaska, Minnesota. He just received an offer from UTEP to go along with his offers from Navy, Colorado St., and Wichita State. Here's a link to his Rivals page. Here are some highlights, he definitely plays more like a post player than a wing.
Maybe a Good Source? This site looks sketchy, but the author is claiming that UTEP is recruiting David Rivers a 6'6 small forward from Little Rock, Arkansas. Scout has Rivers listed as the #29 small forward in America in the 2011 class.
A Swing and a Miss: Shooting guard Robbie Stenzel reportedly turned down a UTEP offer to play for Western Kentucky.
Another Loss: Richmond (TX) Travis quarterback Connor Smith has chosen Colorado St. over a UTEP offer.
Imitation is a Form of Flattery: The New Mexico Lobo's are taking a page out of UTEP's playbook and conducting their fall camp in a remote, New Mexico town. They've selected Ruidoso.
Great Expectations: New Mexico State's basketball coach Marvin Menzies expects the Aggies to do really well next year. ESPN has the story.
"Second round of the NCAAs, at least," Menzies said, laughing. "That's the plan. "It's one of those type of deals where you have the dream and the vision to be a perennial player in the Big Dance every year, and we're hopeful and optimistic that we can get back again this year."
Harris is a potential top-100 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, but not just because of his special-teams ability. He was a first-team all-conference receiver as a junior, leading the Pirates in receiving with 83 catches for 978 yards and seven touchdowns. It was the second straight year he was ECU's leading pass-catcher, grabbing 58 passes for 654 yards and a score in 2008.
Nice Shot: Check out this great photo from Tulane's practice- A flip!
A Very Tough Loss: The Houston Cougars have lost some players to off the field issues this past off-season (most notably stud running back Charles Sims). They just lost a highly rated receiver, Jordan Holly, due to academic issues. Jolly was a 3 star receiver out of Missouri City who chose Houston over offers from Baylor, Nebraska, and Kansas. Remember, Houston lost A.J. Dugat, a Parade All-American, earlier in the year. Dugat was considered the prize of Kevin Sumlin's 2009 class.
More Coogs: SB Nation Houston has a nice rundown of the Top 5 Newcomers to the Houston squad. Nice idea for a post and I very likely might borrow it to do a UTEP version.
25 Days, Fellas.