Seems as if we have been covering this 2014 class closer, and longer than any other, but there is good reason for it.
With the Miners lack of depth at the guard position that came about on December 28th, we all knew this was going to be a guard heavy class even before the loss of y'all know who.
Originally, four guards committed to start of the recruiting campaign, now three have officially signed, one of the early commits appears to be out of the picture, prompting a uniquely named point guard from Las Vegas to give UTEP his verbal blessing, and also add in another California guard who is heading to El Paso.
Now UTEP added more dimensions to the 2014 guard lineup with the commitment of Shaquille Carr from Las Vegas, and the versatile and very defensive Lew Stallworth over the past month or so.
The future is bright, with a former Gatorade player of the year, a swing man who dropped 51 points in a prep game this year, and one of the best players in the state of Oklahoma, adding in another high school guard who held his own against 2015's top player in Stephen Zimmerman recently, and a defensive enforcer who all should see minutes next year.
Harris, and Touchet start playoff runs this later this week with their high school teams, while Stallworth, Sandifer, and Carr are getting their grades right for next season.
Touchet's team is rated 4th in the state of Louisiana, while Harris's team is ranked number one overall in Oklahoma.
But the guard influx is far from over.
UTEP was supposed to get a visit from Lyrik Shreiner last Thursday when they hosted Tulsa, but for whatever reason he did not make it to El Paso for his visit, as some boards, and media are reporting Shreiner may re-classify to the class of 2015. Mind you Louisville has no more schollys for 2014 who is also red hot after him, but don't listen to me I'm also the ultimate conspiracy theorist.
While the guards are really needed to fill immediate holes, and roles, UTEP could also use a big man, or two.
With John Bohannon graduating, and lets face it, Hooper Vint has developed rather slowly, the Miners need a plan C big man to wait in the wings of Wilms, Lang, and Vint.
Seven footer Kingsley Okoroh could be a nice addition to the stable of bigs for next couple of seasons.
I've been told Okoroh is a 100 percent project type of player, but with Phil Johnson, and Kenny DeWeese behind the scenes, I'll take that project any day with UTEP's staff.
Nebraska, Oakland, Gonzaga, and Tennessee are all hard after the seven footer's services, though at those schools he may fail by being thrown into the mix early, his best bet is to come here and really develop before seeing 20-plus minutes a game.
Most people have him listed as 7'1, and anywhere from 225 to 245lbs, and while he is certainly a project, I feel he can still produce right away in the right situation.
In the European 18-under Championships, Okoroh averaged 9.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in nine games for his native country England, I'm sure he was not matched up with a scrub, or slouch.
UTEP is still after big men Elston Jones, and Cameron Oliver, both have offers to a handful of the same Pac-12 schools, UTEP has had offers out on these two for awhile, and it would appear they both, or either one would be long shots to end up here in El Paso.
Coach Johnson stated the Miners may sign two, or possibly three more players to this class, while Floyd stated Monday during his radio show he wants three more, and wants to add a big or two if possible.
Another big man who could be in the mix is John Childs out of New Port Tichey, FL. UTEP has been long after him as well according to recruiting sites, also according to the other reported offers, UTEP is by far the best choice, but no updates out of his official camp.
No matter who else joins this 2014 class, the potential for stardom is definitely in the cards with who has signed and committed. Sandifer, Harris, Carr, Stallworth, and Touchet are guys to build around the guard position for the immediate, and distant future.
All are proven winners, and elite scorers in high school, just have to add in some size around them in the next up coming classes, interesting that they are not typical 6'4-6'7 guards Floyd is used to bringing in. Reminds me of Southern Miss's stable of guards.
Think about it, after next season, these guys will all be sophomores and probably make up most of the rotation by the start of the 2016 season.
Not only is this class important for the prompt, needed help now, these guys are the future faces of the program the way I see things going forward.
Plus, having a Shaq and Omega on the team is pretty damn cool as well.
Other 2014 guards to keep an eye on are; Terry Winn, Delshon Strickland, and Kaelen Malone.
Malone, Shreiner, Winn, and Okoroh are all teammates at Westwind Prep in Arizona according to Rivals.
With little over a month till signing day, CTF and the staff are still going hard to finish up this solid 2014 class. April 16th, we find out the finishing touches.
Trey Touchet, G, HS
Omega Harris, G, HS
Chris Sandifer, G, HS
Shaq Carr, G, HS
Lewis Stallworth, G, HS