Twenty-three past and present UTEP student-athletes will walk across the graduation stage on Saturday and receive their diplomas from the university.
The list includes 11 representatives from the football program, four from men’s track & field, three from women’s track & field, two from softball, and one apiece from men’s basketball, soccer and tennis.
Graduating this weekend will be All-Americans Samantha Hall (track & field) and Will Hernandez (football).
Seventeen graduates hail from the United States, while two come from Jamaica, one from American Samoa, one from Australia, one from Kenya and one from Nigeria.
Ten of the graduates (Adebola Akomolafe, Christian Buckingham, David Jackson, Johnny Jones, Alan Luna, Ademiju Oyebanjo-Odofin, Orion Prescott, Israel Ramsay, Matilda Tench, Trey Touchet) earned placement on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Roll during their careers for posting grade point averages of 3.0 or better. Touchet was a three-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal for achieving a GPA of 3.75 or higher.
Bios follow on all of UTEP’s December 2017 graduates.
Adebola Akomolafe (Women’s Track & Field)
Part of the team that won the first indoor and outdoor conference championship in school history … helped the Miners to three consecutive indoor conference titles …registered the eighth-best mark in program history in the hammer throw with 52.22m (171-04) … captain of the women’s team for two seasons … finished her college career with bests of 46.13m (151-4) in the discus, 17.66m (47-11.25) in the weight throw and 52.22m (171-04) in the hammer throw … earned a spot on the 2017 C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Biological Sciences major.
James Bias (Men’s Track & Field)
Part of the team that won the 2014 Conference USA Indoor Championship ... ran the anchor leg on the 4x400m relay that took second at the 2014 C-USA Indoor Championships ... part of the 4x400m relay that qualified for the 2017 NCAA Championships, clocking in with a time of 3:03.15 which ranks second in school history ... finished his career with personal bests in the 60 (6.87), 100 (10.51), 200 (21.06) and the 400m (47.24) ... two-year team captain … Computer Science major.
Christian Buckingham (Football)
The transfer from El Paso Community College played for the Orange and Blue during the 2017 campaign … defensive lineman saw action in the first four games before suffering a season-ending injury … notched four tackles and one quarterback hurry… member of the 2017 Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll …
Kristopher Christian (Football)
Member of the Miner football team for three seasons … saw action in eight games during the 2015 season … recorded a tackle on special teams versus UTSA Criminal Justice major.
Devin Cockrell (Football)
Played and started in 47 games for the Miners … tallied 247 tackles during his career … also totaled 15.5 tackles for loss, 11 pass breakups, eight quarterback hurries, three sacks, three interceptions and one fumble recovery … led all UTEP defensive backs in tackles during the 2016 and 2017 seasons … was named the 2016 Top Gun Player of the Year, awarded to the best special teams performer … as a true freshman, led the team in tackles with 76 … Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Zack Greenlee (Football)
Played two seasons for the Miners after transferring from Fresno State … saw action
in 17 games, making 11 starts at quarterback … threw for a total of 1,513 yards on 124-of-254 passing with nine touchdowns … during senior campaign, rushed for 114 yards and a pair of scores … threw for over 100 yards in eight contests …opened his UTEP career by throwing for three touchdowns on 15-of-27 passing, with 229 yards and no interceptions during a start and victory over rival NM State …Leadership Studies major.
Miranda Gutierrez (Softball)
Played in 22 games for the Miners … made six starts during her senior season …scored five runs … went 2-for-2 and scored a run during game one against Florida Atlantic … drew a walk and crossed the dish during UTEP’s victory over FAU …scored three runs and connected on three hits against the Owls on Senior Weekend… Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Samantha Hall (Women’s Track & Field)
Part of the team that won the first indoor and outdoor conference championship in school history … helped the Miners to three consecutive indoor conference titles …competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2015 and 2017 … won the discus throw at the C-USA Outdoor Championships in 2015 and 2017 … set a school record in the discus throw in 2015 with a mark of 58.50m (191-11) … completed her college career with bests of 14.90m (48-10.5) in the shot put and 34.38m (112-9.5) in the javelin ... earned All-C-USA First Team honors for the 2015 season ... garnered second team All-American accolades during her final season … Economics major.
Will Hernandez (Football)
Started at left guard in every game played (49) since his freshman season in 2014 …the first Miner offensive lineman to receive Associated Press, CBS Sports and FOX Sports All-American honors … two-time Pro Football Focus First Team All-American … also the first UTEP offensive lineman since 2009 to earn All-Conference USA first team recognition … one of 11 Miners ever to be invited to the prestigious Senior Bowl … appointed the 2016 Pro Football Focus Pass Protector of the Year … named to the 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List … Kinesiology major.
David Jackson (Football)
Member of the Miner football team for three seasons … saw action in 10 games on special teams in 2016 … played in the Miners’ last home game versus LA Tech in 2017 … listed on the 2016 C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll …Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Johnny Jones (Football)
Played in 22 games for UTEP … saw action on defense and special teams … notched a total of 26 tackles, three tackles for loss and one forced fumble … during junior campaign recorded a season-high four stops against Army … two-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Evans Kiprono (Men’s Track & Field)
Competed in both cross country and track and field for UTEP ... part of the team that won the 2014 Conference USA Indoor Championship ... helped the Miners capture back-to-back conference cross country titles (2015, 2016) ... garnered All-Conference USA third team honors in the 10,000m in 2014 ... notched an All-C-USA second team honor in the 10,000m in 2015 ... finished his career running a personal best 10,000m time of 31:09.16 ... helped the Miners finish 11th in the nation at the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championships … Biological Sciences major.
Alan Luna (Football)
The former walk-on played in 36 games for the Miners … finished collegiate career ranked third on the program’s all-time list for career punts (206) and punt yards (8,910) … 79 punts in 2017 rank tied for fifth on the program’s single-season list, while his 3,483 yards rank fifth on the school’s single-season list … a two-time member of the Ray Guy Award Watch List … during senior season ranked second in Conference USA and fifth in the FBS in punt yards (3,483) … two-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … International Business major.
Brian Madunezim (Football)
Was a two-year football letterwinner, seeing action in 20 games … notched a total of 36 tackles, four quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, one tackle for loss and two assisted sacks … during the 2016 season played in all 12 games, making six starts and totaling a career-best 32 tackles … registered a career-high eight tackles against Army … Computer Science major.
Tommy McCoy (Men’s Track & Field)
Captain of the track and field squad for two seasons (2015, 2016) … helped the men finish second at the 2014 and 2015 C-USA Outdoor Championships … registered six top-10 finishes during the 2015 outdoor season … finished his college career with bests of 53.38 in the 400m hurdles and 51.14 in the 400m … History major.
Ademiju Oyebanjo-Odofin (Men’s Track & Field)
Notched 11 top-10 finishes in the 400m hurdles in his career at UTEP ... helped the Miners to a second place finish at the 2015 C-USA Outdoor Championships ... clocked in with a personal-best time in the 400m hurdles at the Brutus Hamilton Challenge during his final season, with an effort of 55.39 seconds ... finished his career with personal bests in the 200m (22.71), 400m (51.03) and the 600m (1:26.08) … three-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Construction Management major.
Kiki Pepi (Softball)
Played in 155 games, making 153 starts in three seasons with the Miners … became the seventh Miner to reach the 100-RBI mark with 103 … ranks second on the program’s all-time list with 331 career assists … 134 assists in 2016 set a school record, while her nine assists at FIU in 2016 is a single-game standard … led thevMiners in RBI her last two seasons … Organizational & Corporate Communication major.
Orion Prescott (Football)
Saw action in all 12 games during the 2016 season … rushed for 14 yards on three carries … ran for 11 yards on two attempts with a long rush of 10 yards during a victory over Houston Baptist … tallied a three-yard run during a season-finale win versus North Texas … two-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Israel Ramsay (Women’s Track)
Part of the team that won the first indoor and outdoor conference championship in school history … helped the Miners to three consecutive indoor conference titles …team captain for two seasons … competed at the 2015 NCAA West Preliminary Round in the high jump, long jump and 4x100m relay … competed at the 2017 NCAA West Preliminary Round in the 4x100m relay … part of the C-USA champion 4x100m relay teams in 2015 and 2017 … finished her college career with bests of 1.76m (5-9.25) in the high jump and 5.95m (19-6.25) in the long jump … earned a spot on the 2017 C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multimedia
Matilda Tench (Tennis)
Appeared in 111 singles and 103 doubles matches for the Miners, tallying 94 wins ranks sixth in UTEP’s all-time record book for career singles wins with 46 … had a career-high 14 singles wins and 15 doubles victories during the 2014-15 season …two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll …
Bri Thomas (Soccer)
Evolved into one of the top scoring threats in Conference USA while starring for her hometown Miners … a three-year starter who was used as a defender, midfielder and forward, she recorded 13 goals and eight assists for 34 points in more than 4,500 minutes of playing time ... saved her best for last with eight goals and four assists for a 20-point senior season in 2016 … Multidisciplinary Studies major.
Trey Touchet (Men’s Basketball)
Has appeared in 69 games for the Miners, making five starts … has collected 224 points, 84 rebounds, 66 assists and 23 steals … scored in double figures five times during his sophomore season (2016-17) … three-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … three-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … on a Presidential Scholarship at UTEP …
Augie Touris (Football)
Played for the Miners for three seasons as a blocking tight end … saw action in 16 games, making five starts … played in all 12 games during the 2017 season, seeing the field on offense and special teams … recorded his first career catch, a five-yard snag during the first quarter against WKU … Creative Writing major.