The UTEP Miners registered their best season in years and their first bowl appearance since 2014.  Head coach Dana Dimel has the Miners on track to continue adding to their success in 2022 and the early signing recruiting class from this past December is an indication that the Miners are seeking experience to help build the program.

The December early signing period clearly points out that UTEP is targeting JUCO transfers over young, incoming freshman players straight out of high school.  The Miners signed seven JUCO transfers and only one high school player (reminder – the full national signing day is February 2, 2022, and the Miners may yet add more traditional HS players to the program.) Defensive holes were primarily filled with the recruitment of three DB’s, two defensive linemen and a linebacker.  On the offensive side of the ball, UTEP picked up one OL and a top-notch high school TE.

S Josiah Allen leads the way as part of the JUCO transfer wave coming to El Paso.  Coming out of Sacramento City College, Allen is a 5’10”, 185 lb. safety and the sophomore transfer will actually have three years of eligibility left to play for the Miners.  As a freshman, Allen compiled 51 tackles (45 solo) and five pass break ups and one INT.  Allen also registered a sack and a forced fumble during his freshman season.  Allen can also help as a kickoff returner on special teams as he had four KO returns for 69 yards (a 17.3-yard average) for Sacramento City College.  Allen will prove to be a versatile player and may expand his special team’s role for the Miners this coming season.

Dauson Booker is another transfer that UTEP has signed out of the California JUCO system.  Bookers is a safety as well and the Modesto Junior College transfer will also have three years of eligibility left.  Booker was a defensive leader and clocked in 51 tackles including 39 solo and led the MJC defense with five pass breakups and one INT.  Booker also showed his versatility by returning a kickoff return during the season and could find additional duties on special teams as well.

Keeping with the defensive JUCO transfer trend, the Miners were able to ink a Letter of Intent with safety Kobe Hylton.  Hylton is transferring in from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette but didn’t play in 2021.  During the 2020 season, Hylton played for Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, a JUCO powerhouse in Miami, OK (their 2020 season was played in the spring of 2021), and Hylton made 19 tackles including 15 solo, one INT and a forced fumble in a six-game campaign.  Hylton is a large, 6’1”, 204 lb. safety and may find himself playing in a linebacker role due to his physical size.

Yet another California JUCO transfer signed by UTEP (by now you can see the trend, the talent pool in the California JUCO system is very enticing for DI programs) is Sedrick Luke.  Luke is on the other side of the ball as a 6’3”, 290-pound offensive lineman.  Luke played at American River College and only missed one snap during his JUCO career.  In 2021, Luke was named the National-NorCal League which speaks volumes to his talent and value as a key OL.  Luke also was a two-time All-Conference lineman as well and he should add immediate value to the UTEP offensive lineman room coming spring football drills.

If the California JUCO system seems to be overrepresented in the UTEP recruiting class, transfer LB Darryl Minor seems destined to play for the Miners. The Lake Dallas HS graduate helped Tyler Junior College in 2021 with 90 tackles (including 50 solo), 3.5 sacks, 21 tackles for losses and a forced fumble.  Minor brings a tough Texas football mindset to UTEP, and his presence should be immediately felt within the Miner LB corps. Other top Texas JUCO additions to the UTEP defense are found in recruiting commitments from Bryton Thompson and Mo (Maurice) Westmoreland.  Both players are defensive ends and Thompson comes from Blinn College as a mid-year transfer.  Thompson garnered 40 tackles last season including 27 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.  Coming out of Kilgore College, Mo Westmoreland is another top DE and had a strong showing in 2021 with 29 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles.  Westmoreland will have company when he gets to El Paso as he is the sixth  Kilgore transfer on the UTEP roster.

The lone high school commitment this past December came from All-State TE Luke Seib from Blue Springs, MO.  Seib earned All-District, Conference and State honors and was the team offensive MVP at Blue Springs South HS.  Seib also set his high school records for receptions with 62 for 575 yards and caught seven TD passes. Seib is 6’4”, 220 pounds and could find himself in a position to help the Miner pass offense quickly coming spring drills.

 

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