Yesterday, at the first media luncheon of the year, UTEP head coach Mike Price officially announced the additions of six football players for the 2012 season. Included in the new additions are four junior college transfers, as well as two true freshmen. All will be eligible to play immediately.
On top of adding six to the 2012 class, the UTEP coaching staff has been hard at work, and have already tallied another five verbal commitments for the 2013 season. Included in those five, are two defensive backs, one wide receiver, one offensive tackle, and one defensive tackle.
The additions for 2012 undoubtedly help to fill some needs at multiple positions, while the commits for 2013 act as a solid core to build upon for next year's class. Here's just a little bit on each of those 11 players, as well as a couple of names to look our for in that 2013 class.
NEW ADDS FOR 2012
Ian Hamilton - WR - 6'5 218 lbs - Pasadena City College - 3 years eligibility
We've all seen the highlights on this kid (if you haven't check them out here), and it seems like he's got it all. Great size, hands, feet, blocking skills, and deceptive speed. The question here is, why aren't his numbers better? As a senior in high school he had 28 catches for 598 yards and 5 touchdowns, and as a freshman at Pasadena, he had 34 grabs for 517 yards and 2 touchdowns. Perhaps the bigger questions is, why wasn't he targeted more? In any case, Hamilton is a nice receiver with great size and hands that gives this unit added depth in 2012. I know we'd like to see him play, and produce immediately, but whether or not that will happen is still yet to be seen.
Jarrad Shaw - WR/PR/KR - 5'10 190 lbs - El Camino College - 2 years eligibility
There have been some questions as to who exactly will fill the void created in the punt and kick return games after the departures of multiple players. Shaw just may be that guy. As a sophomore, he was the leading WR at El Camino. He racked up 48 catches for 621 yards and 7 touchdowns. Shaw also averaged nearly 8 yards an attempt, on 27 punt returns. With mid to high 4.4 speed, Jarrad will be another player that gives the Miners' receiving corp added depth, while helping to fill a void in the return game.
Eric Lee - C - 6'1 275 lbs - Riverside Community College - 3 years eligibility
After the loss of backup A.C. Patterson to multiple knee injuries, there was a huge need to find some depth at the center position. Eric Lee will be able to fill that void. Coach Price talked about the fact that Lee isn't the biggest guy, but apparently he is benching about 420 lbs. Lee also had an offer from Idaho.
Blake Bullard - OT - 6'3 275 lbs - Grossmont College - 2 years eligibility
I wouldn't expect Bullard to come in and play immediately, considering we've got some pretty good depth on the offensive line. But, with a little added size, and maintained speed (4.9 40 yd) this kid could potentially be a solid tackle for the Miners for a couple of years.
Nick Dooley - LS - 6'7 290 lbs - Scottsdale Christian High School (AZ) - True Freshman
Although I'm not exactly sure about his listed size (Scout lists him at 6'8, 315), Dooley is a kid with good size, and who could be a productive player for the Miners in the future. He was a two time 1st team All State selection at Scottsdale Chrisitan, and plays both long snapper and offensive tackle.
Jaquan White - WR - 5'10 160 lbs - Lancaster High School (TX) - True Freshman
White is a speedy wide receiver who walked on with the Miners. His reported measurements, as far as height, weight, and speed are all over the place, so I'll just let you watch this video of him so you can see exactly what he looks like.
VERBAL COMMITS FOR 2013
Jaylon Scott - CB - 5'10 170 lbs - Carter HS (Dallas, TX) - 3 Star Prospect
So far, Scott is the biggest get of the 2013 class. Although a little undersized, he is an absolute ball hawk, and has great speed. Scott was also offered by Illinois, Mississippi St., West Virginia, and others.
Quinton Tezeno - CB - 5'11 170 lbs - West Orange Stark HS (Orange, TX) - 2 Star Prospect
Tezeno is a solid CB with great speed. Last year, he was a first team all district selection, and also clocks in at 4.38 in the 40 yard dash. His recruiting is definitely on the rise.
Tyler Batson - WR - 5'11 160 lbs - Westfield HS (Spring, TX) - 2 Star Prospect
Batson is a good young receiver, but really needs to improve on his speed. While participating at the Under Armour Recruiting Combine, Batson ran a 4.98 40 yard dash.
Dewan Edmonson - DT - 6'1 260 lbs - Manvel HS (Manvel, TX) - 2 Star Prospect
Edmonson is a nice defensive tackle with good size, and decent speed (4.8 40 yd). He's drawn interest from plenty of schools, and has also received offers from smaller schools like McNese State, Old Dominion, SE Louisiana, and Texas State.
Derek Elmendorf - OT - 6'4 286 lbs - Franklin HS (El Paso, TX) - Unrated
Elmendorf is a great offensive tackle prospect from right here in El Paso. He drew high praise from Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine's Greg Tepper, and while UTEP is his only offer so far, he has had interest from Texas Tech, Missouri, Oklahoma, SMU, and Tulsa to name a few.
A COUPLE OF NAMES TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2013
Marvin Gross - DE - 6'3 215 lbs - Dunbar HS (Baltimore, MD) - 3 Star Prospect
In case you don't recognize the high school, the Miners picked up a couple guys from Dunbar in the class of 2012. With some added size, Gross will definitely be a highly valued prospect. But, with a couple former teammates in El Paso, maybe we've got a chance at snagging him. He has also been offered by Rutgers, Purdue, West Virginia, Washington, and a handful of others.
Aaron Jones - RB - 5'10 170 lbs - Burges HS (El Paso, TX) - 3 Star Prospect
Jones is a local kid, whose recruiting is quickly gaining steam. UTEP is his only offer so far, but that is sure to change in the coming months. After losing out on Jack Fields, let's hope the Miners can keep Jones. He could be a nice RB for the future, and could possibly play the slot, as well as be a nice return man.
I have to say that UTEP coaching staff has done well in not only addressing some needs for 2012, but also getting a great start on the recruiting for 2013. My only suggestion to the UTEP coaching staff: sign all of those verbals as quickly as possible.
It seems like Elmendorf is content in staying here at home. And, that's a good thing. He'll be a solid OT for the Miners for years to come. But for the rest, there's no guarantee they'll stick with their verbals. Especially Scott and Tezeno. Both are great cover guys with blazing speed, and their recruiting is bound to blow up.
Again, great job by the UTEP coaches in addressing some needs for this year, as well as establishing a great core to build upon for the 2013 season. We'll bring you more on any recruiting information that we have on UTEP football, as it becomes available to us.