UTEP football signed three junior college transfers on Wednesday afternoon.
Kalaii Griffin, David Lucero and Kahani Smith will be eligible for the Miners’ 2017 season. All three student-athletes will participate in spring practices.
Griffin saw action in nine games at Ventura and registered 40 tackles, four tackles for loss, one forced fumble and five pass breakups. As a freshman, he was named a 2016 Southern California Football Association Northern Conference Honorable Mention. Griffin notched a career high of seven stops and three breakups in victory over Orange Coast
Lucero played in all 12 games at Arizona Western College at the tight end position. He caught nine passes for 91 yards and a touchdown in 2016. The transfer tallied season bests in receptions (six), yards (71) and hauled in a score during a win against Glendale Community College. Lucero helped Arizona Western compiled an undefeated conference record (8-0), while going 11-1 overall in 2016.
Smith saw action in 11 games at the safety position leading Riverside to a 10-2 overall record. He notched 36 tackles, four interceptions, 11 pass breakups and three touchdowns during the 2016 season. Smith garnered 2016 Unanimous National Division Central League first team defense selection.
FULL BIOS AND FILM
Kalaii Griffin | LB | 6-1 | 215 | So. | Bethesda, Md. (Ventura CC)
Led team to 5-0 conference and 8-3 overall record … saw action in nine games during 2016 season … registered 40 (30s/10a) tackles, four tackles for loss, one forced fumble and five pass breakups … notched a career high of seven stops and three breakups in victory over Orange Coast … posted a personal best of seven solo tackles in 48-25 win over Canyons … recorded first career forced fumble against Bakersfield and added five tackles … notched four stops, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup in win over Moorpark … 2016 Southern California Football Association Northern Conference Honorable Mention defense … a two-sport letterwinner at Walter Johnson HS in football and wrestling … as a senior racked up 53 tackles, 17 pass breakups, one interception and one sack …. Also proved to be threat on kick return, recording 325 return yards on the season … in two seasons with the Wildcats tallied 36 pass breakups.
David Lucero | TE | 6-5 | 230 | Jr. | Holtville, Calif. (Arizona Western College)
Saw action in all 12 games at Arizona Western College … caught nine passes for 91 yards and a touchdown in 2016 … tallied season bests in receptions (six), yards (71) and hauled in a score during a win against Glendale Community College … Arizona Western compiled an undefeated conference record (8-0), while going 11-1 overall in 2016 … played in 11 games, tallying 63 yards on four receptions (15.8 avg.) at Boise State in 2015 … recorded first career catch (26 yards) at BYU … pulled in a 15-yard reception against Idaho State … named San Diego Section All-Manzanita League first team on both offense and defense as a junior and senior … caught 38 passes for 819 yards and 12 touchdowns, while also registering 33 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in his final prep season (2013) … three-star recruit to both Scout.com and 247sports.com … rated no. 27 nationally at his position by 247sports.com … rated no. 57 overall in California by 247sports.com … during sophomore season, was named second-team all-league on offense after catching 22 passes for 422 yards and four scores.
Kahani Smith | DB | 6-1 |180 | Jr. | Los Angeles, Calif. (Riverside)
Saw action in 11 games at the safety position leading team to a 10-2 overall record … notched 36 tackles, four interceptions, 11 pass breakups and three touchdowns during the 2016 season … in first game of the season registered a career high six stops and added two breakups in victory over Victor Valley … helped the Tigers claim a 77-7 win over LA Harbor with first defensive score on a 47-yard pick six … posted a career best two interceptions (16 yards) against Saddleback and added five tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble return for a touchdown … recorded a career high four pass breakups versus Long Beach … guided team past El Camino with four tackles, one interception and two pass breakups … 2016 Unanimous National Division Central League first team defense selection … in 2015 played in five games and started in three at Dixie State … registered 29 total tackles … notched nine tackles and one pass breakup versus Azusa Pacific … recorded five or more tackles in four of the five games … 2014 second team All-Moore League in football.