During the bye week, UTEP’s coaches hit the road with just a handful of offers coming to light, but plenty of evaluation notes were taken way before UTEP’s usual December recruiting blitz.
On Monday, Sean Kugler laid out what the 2017 class could look like come February.
“Probably linebacker, and creating depth at the linebacker position.” Kugler mentioned as the key area the coaches will target in this cycle. “I feel good about our starting linebackers, but we need to create depth behind them.”
Kugler said the goal is to grab 3 or 4 linebackers which UTEP did in a virtually short notice manner last recruiting cycle after switching to the 3-4 defense under Tom Mason.
Another interesting tidbit, Kugler said he plans to sign anywhere between 15-20 players but will hold onto some scholarships for the high stakes transfer market in the spring.
“We’re going to hold some scholarships for later.” Kugler said. “In the spring, maybe some guys pop loose at that time, but right now we’re looking at 15-to-20, but linebacker is the number one focus.”
Kugler said six gray shirts from the class of 2016 are expected to join the roster for the second semester, and of course UTEP has one offensive lineman commit in Cutter Leftwich and will add a few o-lineman more before signing day.
But it’s pretty clear, locking up depth at linebacker and adding depth along the defensive line are keys to the 2017 recruiting class.
“We’ve got some commitments, very solid commitments from a linebacker, defensive lineman, and quarterback.” Kugler said. “We’ll always take a talented running back in our system, but defensive line and linebacker is where we are headed the most.”
UTEP recently offered El Paso Parkland’s Patrick Sullivan who can play both wide receiver and defensive back. Defensive line coach Andrew Browning recently offered linebacker Marcus Carrasco and ATH Madison Wheeler from La Habra High School in California.
Tom Mason is now in charge of recruiting El Paso, and as always, Kugler will make El Paso their first stop.
“The coaches went on the road recruiting and our entire staff went on the road recruiting and blanketed recruiting areas that we target.” Kugler said. “We hit El Paso and currently we have five offers to El Paso kids; that number could grow and again, it starts here in El Paso and grows from there and the reception has been good."