In the latest edition of Phil Steele’s College Football Preview, the respected publication recognized seven Miners to the Preseason Conference USA team and ranked UTEP’s offensive line as no. 1 in C-USA and no. 40 nationally.
Will Hernandez (guard), Greg Long (tackle) and Alvin Jones (linebacker) were honored as 2017 Preseason C-USA first team selections. Terry Juniel (punt returner) garnered a third team selection, while freshman Joshua Fields (running back), Jayson VanHook (linebacker) and Alan Luna (punter) received fourth team selections. Steele also rates UTEP’s linebackers as the fifth-best in C-USA.
As far as UTEP’s offensive line, Steele rated it as no. 1 in C-USA heading into the 2017 campaign. The Miners ranked tied third in sacks allowed (22.0) and ranked fourth in sacks allowed per game (1.83). Overall in the country, the Miners’ offensive line unit is ranked no. 40 by Steele in his top 56. UTEP is one of five schools not from a Power Five conference to make the top 40. Hernandez is ranked no. 6 as one of the top 61 guards in the Top Draft Eligible Players. Hernandez was also named second team All-American on Steele’s 2017 Preseason All-American team.
UTEP opens the 2017 campaign at national power Oklahoma on Sept. 2 (1:30 p.m. MT). Then the Miners rev up C-USA action in the Sun Bowl on Sept. 9 against Rice (6 p.m.).