The Associated Press announced UTEP senior offensive lineman Will Hernandez to the 2017 AP Preseason All-America second team as chosen by the votes of 51 members of the AP Top 25 media panel on Tuesday.
Hernandez has racked up the preseason honors leading up to UTEP’s season opener. The left guard was announced to the 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List, and was recognized by Athlon Sports as a Preseason All-Conference USA first team and Preseason All-America third team. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football picked Hernandez to the Preseason All-Texas team, while Phil Steel’s College Football Preview appointed him to the Preseason All-C-USA first team and as a Preseason All-American. Hernandez also earned a spot on the 2017 Preseason C-USA Football team.
Last season, Hernandez played on a dominant offensive line that only allowed 1.3 sacks per game. UTEP running back Aaron Jones also set the single-season school record with 1,773 yards. Hernandez started all 12 contests on his way to the 2016 AP and FOX Sports’ All-America teams.
The UTEP coaching staff rolled the dice on Las Vegas, Nev., native and itself one of the hardest working players in the nation. Hernandez has started all 37 games at the left guard position and during his three seasons donning the Orange and Blue. UTEP signal callers have been sacked 47 times during Hernandez’s 37 starts (1.3 per game). Prior to Hernandez’s redshirt freshman season, the Miners allowed 27 sacks in 2013. That number was cut to 13 allowed in 13 games in 2014.
Hernandez and the o-line will get their first challenge – in a big way – as the Miners will play at no. 7 Oklahoma on Sept. 2. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. MT and the contest will be televised on FOX.