Head coach Sean Kugler opening statement:
"First off, I would I like to thank our entire staff. Countless hours were put into recruiting; it just doesn't happen in the course of a week or a month. They'll put in an entire year, and sometimes two years vested into some of these young men. One of the main things we try to do is get to know them as student-athletes, get to know their families and get to know their character. We try doing our best job to bring players into our program that is going to bring to right type of players for our program. I'm very excited to introduce this year's class.
"I think you'll hear me say a lot of the same words over and over again about these guys. You're going to hear me use words like: production - productive players who did it on film in high school, you're going to hear me talk about versatility - guys who have played on both sides of the ball, played different positions and guys who can do a lot for our team. I always tell players the more you can do to help the team, the more successful we are going to be. You're going to hear me talk about physicality - one of the trademarks of our program and you're going to see that on film, as we show you some of these young men. I really think that we upgraded our speed. Not only at the skill positions but I think when you see some of these linemen, some of these linebackers that we signed, I think you'll be impressed.
"We're going to sign 24 players today. Along the same lines to what we've been trying to do since we've been here. We are signing 23 of those 24 will be high school football players. We really believe in that and we are signing one junior college player [Tanner Stallings] who's already here on campus. That's going to be our M.O. We want to sign young players and develop them, and let them grow into our program. Nineteen of those players are from state of Texas. We really hit the state of Texas on all avenues hard this year. And that will continue into the future. Seven of those players are from El Paso. Within the state of Texas, we signed the Texas 4A Player of the Year in Quardraiz Wadley and in El Paso for the fourth straight year; we've signed the El Paso Player of the Year in Richie Rodriguez. I think the other thing that will stand out is the class is balanced. We're signing 12 offensive players, 12 defensive players and it's balanced within. We've signed four defensive backs, four linebackers and four defensive linemen - although that can be very misleading because the linemen that we signed are all kind of hybrid type linemen, except for one - he has no choice but to play nose guard because he's 350 pounds. But all the rest of the guys are guys who can play two positions. And many of our linebackers are hybrid type of defensive ends that can play two positions. Versatility is going to be key. On the offensive side of the ball, we signed two wide receivers, one guy that I classified as an athlete, one tight end, one quarterback - that we signed right here from El Paso, very productive quarterback in Mark Torrez, and we always sign linemen - three offensive linemen, four defensive linemen for seven total.
"I think you'll see a little change in the linemen signings because we have switched to a 3-4 defense in coach [Tom] Mason's scheme. We're going to be signing more linebackers in the future, linebacker/safety type players."
Kugler on Tiano Tialavea:
"He's from Washington, O'Dea High School in Seattle. This guy is 6-foot-3, 350 pounds. Now this guy had an unbelievably productive junior year. His senior year he broke his foot. Really the only game he played truly healthy his senior year, he was invited to all-American all-star game in Dallas, which he dominated. He played in the Blue-Grey All-American bowl. In that game he had eight tackles, six tackles for loss and a sack playing against other all-Americans. He's an explosive guy. His junior season he had 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He's got a 3.3 GPA and he's in the mold of the type of young man that we want to bring into this program. This kid is high energy and I think the Miner fans will fall in love with him."
Kugler on Keith Sullivan:
"He's a defensive lineman and a hybrid type. He's a guy who can stand up and rush the passer and lineup at defensive end. Once this fills his body there's no telling how big he's going to be. He's 6-foot-7, 255 pounds. Right now he looks like a power forward. He's very long and athletic. He's started three years. He led the team in most of their defensive categories; had 53 tackles, 13.5 for loss, 8.5 sacks, 11 pass breakups, seven quarterback hurries, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Good production from this guy."
Kugler on Christian Johnson:
"He's a hybrid type guy; he's lined up at linebacker and played the position inside and out. He also played defensive end. He had a very productive career, played four seasons at Parkland. He saw action in 39 games, racked up 180 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, in his career he had 33.5 sacks, 45 quarterback hurries and five fumble recoveries. That's the type of production that we're looking for. He's an outstanding young man, very athletic defensive player and was named to the El Paso Times All-City team and played in the El Paso Showcase All-Star game."
Kugler on Josh Ortega:
"He's the third Montwood Ram we've signed in the last two years. He's going to play nose guard and defensive end for us. He's 6-foot-2, 275 pounds. He played three seasons of varsity football. His senior season he had 40 tackles in eight games, added 4.0 sacks, two passes defended, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and four hurries. He's very productive for an interior guy. He was All-City first team defense and also played in the El Paso Showcase All-Star game, in which he dominated."
Kugler on Justin Rogers:
"Has good size, 5-foot-11, 185 pounds. He played cornerback and wide receiver. On defense, he tallied 96 tackles, six interceptions, 10 pass breakups, while offensively, he posted 2,587 on 90 receptions (28.7 avg.) - very explosive - and 25 TDs. He also had 313 yards rushing on 30 carries and a career-long 90-yard touchdown. All told, he tallied over 3,000 all-purpose yards. This is a guy who can do a lot of different things for us. He was named All-City on offense and defense in back-to-back years."
Kugler on Broderick Harrell:
"He's got good size. He's 5-foot-11, 195 pounds from Frenship High School. This is a two-way athlete. He played cornerback and wide receiver. At cornerback he had 73 tackles and two interceptions. Offensively, he had 312 all-purpose yards. His senior season alone, he had 69 tackles, 15 pass breakups, a tackle for loss and 12 receptions for 301 yards. Very versatile two-way player and this guy is a hitter."
Kugler on Eric Foster:
"He's a multi-purpose athlete. He played quarterback, wide receiver, and he was a returner. We had him here at our El Paso camp and we played him at DB, and he dominated the camp. And that's what were going to recruit him as. He's got great size - 6-foot, 185 pounds. As a quarterback and wide receiver, he threw for 1,200 yards, and only four interceptions, ran it 164 times for 976 yards and 10 scores and had 356 yards passing, four touchdown throws, while gaining 103 yards and a score in a win over Eastwood. This did a little of everything for Americas."
Kugler on Joseph Pickney:
"I'd describe this young man, not as a hitter, but as a head hunter. He's a dual-sport guy who played football and ran track. He played cornerback and safety for Crosby High School in Texas. As a career, he totaled 224 tackles, six for loss, 16 pass breakups, one sack, two hurries, six interceptions and this guy has forced several fumbles. He was named all-state second team and he was a two-time all-district first team. He was also a four-year regional qualifier for track. This guy can run, find the ball and make big hits. Again, he's got good size and we can throw him into a couple positions."
Kugler on Sione Tupou:
"Played at an outstanding high school program. Allen is one of the top programs in the state of Texas. They've won state championships, they were 14-1 this year and they ended the season ranked 16th in the nation.During his senior year he had 42 tackles, eight tackles for loss, five sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and five forced fumbles. This is a guy who has been a defensive end and played linebacker. He can do a lot of things for our new scheme in the 3-4. As a junior he compiled 72 tackles and four sacks and he won the state title that year."
Kugler on Dedrick Simpson:
"He's a very good-sized linebacker. This is a guy who has played defensive end with his hand in the ground. He is 6'2", 260 pounds. During his senior season he had 69 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and three pass breakups. He also played tight end and full back and he is a very versatile player. As a junior, he had 64 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 10.0 sacks and 11 quarterback hurries. He was back to back first team all district and he was the first player from Dobie High School in 10 years to earn a Division I scholarship."
Kugler on Dylan Parsee:
"He is a hybrid type guy that has played outside linebacker and defensive end. To tell you how versatile he is, he also returned punt returns for his high school team. He is 6'2", 210- pound linebacker. He registered 112 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, eight sacks, five punt returns, one interception and one forced fumble. He is extremely productive and was named to the 2015 All-West Texas Super team and was also a two-time all district honoree."
Kugler on Kolbi McGary:
"Hard-hitting free safety, he can play about eight or nine yards outside the box, and will be a guy that we convert to linebacker. He'll get bigger and he is a dual sport guy that long jumps in track as well. He played free safety and had 59 tackles; three quarterback hurries, one pass breakup and two tackles for losses. He was named to the Texas 6A honorable mention team. He was named to the 8-6A All District First Team in 2014 and 2015."
Kugler on Walter Dawn:
"I listed this guy as an athlete but he an multi-purpose guy. He was a three-star recruit on scout.com. He was first team district all-offense. He is like a little go-go gadget. We talked about adding speed to our team; he ran a 10.3 in the 100m dash in track. He is a little guy. He's 5'6", 170 pounds. During his senior year, he had 746 yards on 106 carries (7.0 avg.) with 44 receptions for 858 yards (19.5 avg.). He had 402 all-purpose yards in one game. He can return punts or kicks. He was a 2015 all-district first team nominee."
Kugler on Brannon Bullitt:
"He's 6'0", 210 pounds; he is a big receiver. Size wise he reminds me of Jordan Leslie. He's a big, physical kind of wide receiver. He led his district in receptions with 66, receiving yards in 1,516 and touchdowns with 22 all in 12 games. His receiving scores ranked tied seventh in the state of Texas and tied 29th in the nation. He also added a rushing score and interception return for a pick six. He was named to the scout.com third team for the state of Texas. He was all district first team and he also played in the El Paso Football All Star Showcase."
Kugler on Richie Rodriguez:
"He was player of the year in the city of El Paso. As I mentioned before, this is the fourth straight year we have signed the Player of the Year from El Paso. We talk about production, listen to this, during his senior season he led the state of Texas in 1,709 receiving yards, while ranking fifth in receptions with 95 and ninth in touchdown catches with 21 in 12 games. He registered nine 100-yard receiving games including two of 220 yards. He added 319 yards rushing on 48 carries for a 6.6 avg. He also threw a pair of touchdowns. This guy can do it all. That's why he was the player of the year in the city of El Paso. He is also a dual sport athlete that plays basketball. He scored 53 touchdowns during his career."
Kugler on Amarama Noel:
"This guy is a blocking tight end. He reminds me of Trey Ford. This guy is nasty. We loved having this young man on the visit and he hugged me about 30 times while he was here. He is really excited about being here in El Paso. This guy is long armed; he is 6'3" 240 pound tight end. He had 42 pancakes as a senior. He was named two-time All District First Team and he only had one catch. That tells you a lot about this kid."
Kugler on Kevin Dove:
"This guy is classified as a big back. We love to have guys of all shapes, sizes, speeds and change-ups but this guy is one speed, he just runs you over. His name is Kevin Dove from El Campo High School. He is six foot tall, 250 pounds and I think you will on the film how nimble and athletic he is. If you want to talk about toughness, when I was in the home with coach Jackson, I said, "you know what? Kevin, what do you like to do? What are your hobbies? What do you like to do off the field?" and he said, "Coach I break horses," and I said, "you do what?" Kevin said, "I break horses, I get thrown off. I get the wild horses and I break them down so they are tamed." He had scars all over his legs and said, "this is where a horse kicked me, this is where a horse threw ne off right here, and I said, "you, know what? You're going to be perfect.
"He recorded 1,964 yards rushing, 8.4 per attempt, and 30 touchdowns in his senior season. He had 183 yards and five touchdowns in one game versus Bay City. This guy is tough. During his sophomore year at defense, this guy played linebacker on defense, 61 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles.
"Now this is his career stats; 4,196 yards rushing and 60 touchdowns. He earned back-to-back district MVP honors following his junior and senior seasons. He was First Team All-District, Defensive Newcomer of the Year s a sophomore. He was Class 4-A All-State Honorable Mention in 2014 and 2015 and the first time I hear of this award, 2014 Collin Street Bakery Class 4-A All-State football team. I guess if you're 250-pound running back, you're going to be on the bakery's All-State football team."
Kugler on Antonio Dupree:
"The next young man is from Baltimore, Maryland and played at Gilman High School. Gilman this year was ranked final 13th in the nation in USA Today. Antonio Dupree, he's another big back at 5'11 and 225 pounds. This year he rushed for 1,420 yards with a 7.4 average, 14 touchdowns and 155 receiving yards. He rushed for 123 yards in the 2015 Crab Bowl, which is basically the All-Star game in Baltimore. He was named to the All-Metro Football Offense first team, All-District and he was a three-star recruit on 247sports.com."
Kugler on Quardraiz Wadley:
"I had mentioned we had already signed the El Paso player of the Year, Quardraiz Wadley, a running back from Kennedale High School, was the Texas 4-A Player of the Year in the entire state if Texas. These are his senior stats; he is six feet, 180 pounds, he rushed for 2,511 yards with an 11.2-yard average, 45 touchdowns in his senior year alone. That is why he is the Texas Player of the Year. He returned nine kick-offs for 319 yards with a 35.4 average and a score. He registered 10 games of over 100 yards rushing and two of over 300 yards rushing. This guy is a special player, he reminds me a lot of Aaron Jones although when Aaron Jones came out of high school, he weighed 165. This kid weighs 180 and he's going to be a big kid when it's all said and done. He is an outstanding player, and a three-star recruit on scout.com."
Kugler on Ronald Awatt:
"Next young running back is from Frenship High School, he is a teammate of Broderick Harrell, Ronald Awatt. He is 5'11 and weighs 195 and is an excellent student. He led the team his senior season with 1,525 yards rushing and nine touchdowns and he led the district in rushing. He was named All-District Offensive Player of the Year, All-State Honorable Mention and was recruited by all the Ivy League schools."
Kugler on Mark Torrez:
"We signed one quarterback this year, as we will do every year. El Paso's own Mark Torrez from Eastwood High School. He is six-foot 185 pounds, very athletic and very mobile quarterback with unbelievable production in his high school career. This is his 12-game senior season; he led the district in passing with over 3,800 yards and touchdowns. He threw for 41 touchdowns with a 71 percent completion percentage, which is outstanding and only had nine interceptions. He averaged 319 yards passing per game. He rushed for 227 yards and a pair of scores in a win over Franklin and passed for 312 and ran another 154 yards and five touchdowns in a win over El Dorado. This guy can do it all, he was named District 1-6A Offensive MVP, All-District first team, wrapped-up nine Player of the Week awards, not bad, and he played the 24th greater El Paso Showcase. This guy is an outstanding player, and as he gets bigger in the weight room, I think he is going to be a special quarterback for us in the future."
Kugler on Tanner Stallings
"This is Tanner Stallings, he is the one lone junior college player that we recruited, he is a center that we signed him because Eric Lee graduated. When we take in junior college player, it is to fill a need. When we take in a junior college player, we expect them to come in and contribute. This guy is an outstanding student; he received 2014 Hutchinson News Academic honors with a 3.85 GPA. As a senior, the offensive unit posted six showings of 200-plus yards on the ground, which means he has been in a program that likes to run the football much like our own. He was NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week, which is hard to do for a lineman. This guy is a physical, physical player, Tanner Stallings from Hutchinson Community College, a 6'1, 300-pound center."
Kugler on Bobby Deharo:
"The next young man is also from Montwood High School here in El Paso, Bobby Deharo. He came to our camp two years ago and he ran a 4.95 40-yard dash at 250 pounds at the time. Well now he is 6-4 and weighs 270 pounds. This is a very athletic and physical offensive lineman that I think with time in the weight room is going to become a 300-pounder that can move. Montwood's quarterbacks averaged 255 passing yards in a game and they stayed pretty clean probably because of him and Josh Ortega. He was named El Paso Time's All-City first team, All-District for the second consecutive year and he also played in the senior All-Star game."
Kugler on Jared Goldwire:
"Next young man is from Covington, Washington and played for Kentwood high School. He is an offensive lineman but is also athletic enough to play defensive end in high school. His name is Jared Goldwire and this kid is 6'6 when we measured him on his trip and weighs 300 pounds. He is very long and he is lean. As a senior he saw action in eight games and recorded 63 tackles, 12 for loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles as a defensive end. He was named Northeast All-League first-team defense following his senior season. He is going to play offensive tackle for us and he is very athletic."