Sean Kugler continues to shake up the offensive culture of the UTEP football team, and it all starts up front.
We look at a pair of lineman who could figure into the rotation in the next couple of years with Derron Gatewood out of Odessa Permian joining UTEP as a guard, while Christopher Misaalefua from Lindsay, CA played tackle in high school career.
|Derron Gatewood||OL||Permian HS||Odessa, TX||6'3||295 lbs||2 Star - Rivals|
Gatewood comes from one of the more recognized high school football programs in all of Texas after starting the past two seasons for Odessa Permian.
He earned a spot on the 2013 Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team third team after not allowing a single sack during his senior year.
Anchoring the left guard spot, he helped two running backs go over 700 yards rushing last season, and despite earning All-District 2-5A first team honors last year, the past two seasons record wise are considered down years in Mojo Land.
Gatewood also notched second team All-District honors as a junior, and is a three time All-Academic All-District recipient.
Compared to other UTEP lineman signees, Gatewood is under the radar nationally and regionally, but from video has the athletic technique and knowledge of playing in a down-field run scheme to fit right in at UTEP. And along with a Division one frame he appears to be a nice project that could bloom into a solid starter down the road of his career.
Permian coach Blake Feldt called him one of the best linemen in West Texas despite not having very much D-1 interest, coaches know best and we agree with Feldt.
Navy, New Mexico, West Texas A&M, and Abilene Christian all showed interest in Gatewood, whose father was also an offensive lineman at Cisco Junior College, and Southwestern Oklahoma State.
Permian ran the pistol and used a lot of downhill running plays in which Gatewood was used to pull, reach, and slide block in their scheme, and has been described as a very cerebral player.
He looks very smooth, and natural coming off of pulls and traps, he shows great footwork and agility in those blocking types, though will definitely need to adjust to the speed of Division one competition, and pass rush before thrown in the fire as he will most likely see a redshirt this fall.
|Christopher Misaalefua||OL||Lindsay HS||Lindsay, CA||6'5||355 lbs||2 Star - Rivals|
Any chance you have a 6’5 355lb impact offensive lineman react positively to your recruiting interest, you press until he signs with you or someone else.
That is exactly what offensive line coach Spencer Leftwich and Sean Kugler did with Lindsay, California’s Christopher Misaalefua.
Misaalefua originally committed to Montana State after a stellar senior year where he was named the East Sequoia League’s Lineman of the Year for the work he did on both sides of the line.
That commitment would not steer the Miners away one bit, as the first team member of Max Preps All-State Division III, Cal-Hi Sports All-State Team, and All-Area Fresno Bee selections signed with UTEP as a grayshirt.
He paved the way for an offensive unit that averaged 34.5 points a game last year, and gained 3,995 yards of total offensive as well.
Missaalefua was a three year starter at Lindsay, playing in a run first offense his first three seasons, he helped running back Jacob Hernandez run for over 3,000 yards, and 35 touchdowns the last three seasons for Lindsay.
Sean Kugler on Misaalefua
"From now on, he's going to be called "Big Chris." He's an offensive tackle/offensive guard. He is a large, young man. He garnered league lineman of the year honors and played on both sides on the ball. He's an offensive lineman for us that has size and athleticism. All you need to point out that is that he plays basketball. The first time we saw him moving around was on the basketball court. This guy plays power forward and gives it a new name at 6-5, 355 pounds. He was selected to play in the DB Guru All-Star game. He was a three year varsity basketball player. He is going to be a force for us inside, and he moves very light on his feet for a guy that size."
During his senior the offense was a little bit more pass oriented, so the experience and strength is in his run blocking ability as for now, but possess surefire D-1 size, and superior athleticism for his size.
He also showed great agility on the defensive side of the ball with 22 tackles, a safety, and fumble recovery last season, also averaging 10 points a game as the starting center/power forward on the basketball team where the UTEP coaches saw their first live glimpse of him.
Not only will size get him on the field, he is athletic enough to play all three positions on the line, and will certainly become a main cog in the Miners running schemes in the future.