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The Dig: 27 Days Till UTEP Miners Football Kicks Off Edition

In The Dig:  UTEP loses two key players to suspensions and a few more have nagging injuries; A note on UTEP's newest QB; Two new offers go out in football and the Miners grab their 9th commit of the 2011 class; & the Memphis Tigers  lose the #1 shooting guard recruit in America.  Sorry, Memphis.


The UTEP Miners

Not a Good Start

Junior College transfer Travaun Nixon was a stud during spring ball and almost immediately became UTEP's top cover corner.  Now, he's been suspended for opening day.  To make matters worse, one of UTEP's best game breaking talents Marlon McClure was suspended for the first two games of 2010.  While we still don't know what happened to cause the suspensions, all we can do is hope that this swift action by coach Mike Price sends a loud, clear message to the rest of the squad.

Nixon is really, good, and UTEP will need him if the Miners are going to improve at all against the pass.  How good is Nixon?  Watch these highlights.  At Ventura JC, he was a man amongst boys.

The Injury Bug

Several Miners are dinged up after the teams first practices in Socorro.  Bret Bloomquist reports that 5 Miners have now missed multiple workouts, including defensive tackle Isaac Tauaefa and highly coveted frosh DT Quintin Jones.

Players who have now missed multiple workouts include receiver Russell Carr, defensive back Austin Contreras, linebacker James Davidson, defensive tackle Isaac Tauaefa and defensive lineman Quintin Jones.

UTEP SID Stepping Up

The UTEP athletic department is releasing excellent video footage after each day of practice and making it available hours before you will see it on local news stations.  The news shows have time limitations that don't plague the Rush, so instead of watching 30 seconds of this video, you can see it in its entirety here.  Here is the latest release, a Day 2 of Camp Socorro Round up.

This segment features practice footage and interviews with Mike Price, Guy Holliday, Kris Adams, Evan Davis and Donavon Kemp.


Double B in Tie Die

I never knew Bret Bloomquist kept a blog, but I stumbled upon it, and saw that he's posting some short, minute long videos summarizing each days practice.  Good, quick hits of information.


Little Man Tate

Tate Smith is the newest member of UTEP's football team and the quarterback from Odessa Permian is already practicing with UTEP.  Two months ago, local news stations in Albuquerque reported that Tate was given permission to transfer to any school not on UNM's 2010 schedule.  So, how'd he end up at UTEP? has the story.

Smith announced his departure from UNM back in May and the Lobos released Smith to all Division I schools except future Lobo opponents.  UNM will face UTEP on October 2nd.  Smith is able to play with the Miners because he will be walking on with the team.  He's utilizing the transfer exception for non-recruited student-athletes. Smith missed all of last season because of a shoulder injury.  He played in four games with UNM during his career.  He was 7-for-21 passing for a total of 82 yards. As a junior he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

A Lifetime Achievment

UTEP has announced their 2010 Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees.  

Olapade Adeniken, Paul Gibson, Michael Musyoki, Be Stoney and Bob Wallace have been selected as the 2010 class of the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame that will be inducted on Friday, Sept. 22.


Recruiting Hits-  Football

Another Potential Weapon:  Marble Falls tight end David Morgan has received an offer from the UTEP staff. has the story here.  According to Rivals, Morgan is a 6'4, 220 lb prospect.  Morgan was a first team All District 4A-25 selection.  That's remarkable considering centex powerhouse Lake Travis High is in the same conference.  

His teammate, David Morgan, has an offer from UTEP. Stay with for more on these players and others in Texas.

According to Head Football Coach, Chad Woerner, "David Morgan has been offered by UTEP". Morgan is one of two Marble Falls players with a division one offer ..

The One That Got Away:  Californa safety prospect Brandon Connette chose San Jose State over UTEP.

The Blind Side: The Houston Chronicle is reporting that UTEP has offered Foster (Houston) High offensive tackle prospect Ryan Lindblade.

Lindblade (6-foot-6, 265 pounds) played sparingly last season but came on in the spring, so much so that UTEP offered him a scholarship.

Number 9:  Great newx coming from Miner Illustrated.  UTEP has received a commitment from Cibolo Steel Safety Shane Huhn.  I'm preparing a full post on this that will be up later today.  For now, here's a link to Huhn's Rivals page.



The Houston Cougars

Baby Steps:  Case Keenum told the Sporting News that he thinks this Houston squad can do some special things.  I think he needs to take a deep breath and start focusing on each opponent as they come.  It's nice to have goals, but you gotta win some games before you can start tossing out "BCS." 

"We have a chance to do something special this season," Keenum said at the time. "I want to win a conference championship, win another bowl game and take a shot at the BCS." 

The Coogs are ranked 27th in the First Coaches Poll.

The Memphis Tigers

A Tough Loss:  Will Barton is one of the top recruits in the nation in basketball and is one of the prizes of Josh Pastner's recruiting class some believe to be the best in the country.  The problem?  Barton has been ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA and won't play for the Tigers this season.  While I am no doubt happy that Memphis just got a little more beatable, it's a shame because Barton sounds like a good kid who is willing to take responsibility for the situation.  Wish him the best...

"I got it together my 11th and 12th year, my prep year, but not taking care of business early in life, you can’t blame anyone but yourself," Barton said. "If you have dreams of going to college and playing basketball, you need to think about it early. And that’s my fault. I was the one going to school. I should have been doing my work."

Barton was ranked the #1 shooting guard prospect in the nation by ESPN.  Rivals had him as the 


11th best overall prospect in the US.



The Rice Owls

Sam's Town:  The Rush has written a bit about Sam McGuffie, the Texas High school legend who went to Michigan before transferring back to Rice.  The Houston Chronicle is hoping that Sam can live up to the hype.


The UAB Blazers

Yikes:  UAB's Mike Davis can't beat Memphis, make the NCAA Tournament, or perform well on the APR.  He has the most low APR scores of any coach in America.

The East Carolina Pirates

Mike Price Part 2:  East Carolina's best receiver might be a kid named Mike Price.  ECU coach Lincoln Riley, who coached Michal Crabtree at Texas Tech, thinks Price has the athleticism to make a name for himself.

"Mike Price is going to be a great wide receiver here at ECU," said senior star wide receiver Dwayne Harris, who holds ECU’s record in career receptions (167) and second in yards (1,878). "He is a young guy with a lot of speed, a lot of quickness and good hands. He is one of those guys I have to look out for who might break my record."  

The Transfer:  ECU also picked up a transfer from Boston College, quarterback Dominique Davis.

Conference Wide

The Miami Herald has some C-USA predictions up.  They think UCF will win the East.  Also, the article notes that C-USA squads might have the hardest non-conference schedule of any other league.

C-USA might have the toughest non-conference schedule in the FBS with 24 games against bowl teams, including Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. That could make it challenging to fill the league's now seven bowl tie-ins after going 2-4 in bowls last season.