Former UTEP consensus All-American Brian Natkin was named a full-time assistant to the program in December of 2011. He spent the 2012 season serving as the Miners' offensive line coach before assuming the position of tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. He was elevated to special teams coordinator prior to the 2014 campaign. Natkin also continues to mentor the tight ends unit.

Natkin, a former All-American, will be inducted into the Miners’ Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.

The former Miner has mentored three players that are currently on NFL rosters (Eric Tomlinson-New York Jets, Cedric Lang-Denver Broncos and Amini Silatolu-Carolina Panthers).
 
Plinke became the first UTEP tight end to earn all-conference first team honors since 2000. Plinke stomped and raced past defenders on way to eight receiving touchdowns, the most ever by a UTEP tight end during a single season. He led team in receptions (38), touchdowns grabs and ranked second in receiving yards (456). Plinke registered a career-long 72-yard touchdown during a season-finale victory against North Texas. Plinke earned John Mackey Honorable Mention following performance at UTSA, registering 84 yards on four catches, including a game-extending two-point conversion during a 5OT win against the Roadrunners. The senior was invited to the NFLPA Bowl and the Seattle Seahawks minicamp.
 
On special teams, the Miners ranked third in the league in kickoff coverage (41.0) and second punt return average (10.6). UTEP concluded the season ranked 28th nationally in punt returns.
 
Leading the Miners in punt return was junior Terry Juniel. The specialist rated 18th nationally and led C-USA in punt returns (10.6) and return yards (203). Juniel’s 104 punt return yards in the season opener against NM State is the single-game high in C-USA during the 2016 season. Juniel’s season-opening performance also ranks eighth-best in a single-game at UTEP and marks the most yards by a Miner since 2006.
 
Jay Mattox finished career leaving his mark on the UTEP recordbook tied no. 1 in program history with 137 career PATs, no. 2 with 257 career points (kickers only) and no. 3 with 40 career field goals made.
 
Taking on the punting duties was former walk-on Alan Luna. The El Paso native earned Conference USA Honorable Mention and Ray Guy Watch List honors. Luna booted 62 punts for 2,542 yards (41.0 avg.). Luna currently ranks ninth on the program’s all-time list in career punt yards (5,427) and career punts (127).

Under his mentorship during the 2015 campaign, three Miners were named All-Conference USA honorable mention and two were selected to the all-freshman team. Hayden Plinke tallied 37 receptions for 405 yards, ranking second in both categories for the Miners. The transfer was named to the 2015 John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List and registered a career-high nine receptions for 85 yards in victory over Rice. The end's blocking helped the Miners post three games of 200-plus rushing yards.

On special teams, newcomer Alan Luna garnered Ray Guy watch list and All-C-USA honorable mention recognition. The sophomore tied for second in C-USA and tied for 16th nationally in punting average with 44.4 yards per punt (2,885 yards) on 65 boots. His average ranked sixth best during a single season in program history. Luna tallied 21 punts of 50-plus yards and 15 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Also highlighting UTEP’s efforts on special teams was kicker Jay Mattox. He led UTEP with 68 points, connecting on 15-of-19 field goal attempts and was 23-of-24 on PATs. The kicker was named to the Lou Groza Collegiate Place Kicker Watch List and All-C-USA honorable mention.

Senior Autrey Golden capped off his career as the program all-time leader in kickoff returns with 2,981 yards. Golden also tallied 119 career returns, ranking first in program history. Junior Jaquan White also saw action on special teams, returning eight punts for 124 yards (15.5 avg.). White was named C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a punt 64 yards for a touchdown against NM State to tie the game in the fourth quarter and ultimately secure the victory for the Miners.


Tight ends Eric Tomlinson, Katrae Ford and Cole Rogers combined for 202 yards on 27 catches and two touchdowns during the 2014 season. Their blocking played a major role as UTEP allowed only 13 sacks all season, while rushing for 207.8 yards per contest. Tomlinson received national recognition, earning a spot on the John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List. The former Miner signed a free agent deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Meanwhile, the Miners were stellar on special teams led by Golden, who posted two more kickoff returns for touchdowns to increase his career total to six -- one shy of the NCAA record. UTEP also was sensational on kickoff coverage (17.47 yards per return/11th nationally) and got solid kicking from Mattox who was 13-of-16 on field goals, 43-of-44 on PATs and had a 41.1-yard punting average.

The tight ends assumed a more focal role in the offense in 2013, combining for 542 yards on 48 catches. The year prior, they tallied 23 receptions for 252 yards. Tomlinson was second on the team in catches (30) and third in yardage (304) in 2013. He was one of three tight ends to reach the end zone, along with Kevin Perry and Craig Wenrick. Tomlinson was an honorable mention All-Conference USA player.

Natkin's efforts during the 2012 season were evident as both center Eloy Atkinson and right tackle James Nelson secured spots on the honorable mention All-Conference USA squad. Sophomore running back Nathan Jeffery enjoyed a breakthrough campaign as a result of the play of the offensive line.

Natkin returned to his alma mater after a five-year stint at NCAA Division II Midwestern State. The Mustangs were a combined 41-15, including 10-1 in 2011, and claimed the 2009 Lone Star Conference title. Natkin mentored three All-Americans (Tony Burson, Lance Calloway and Amini Silatolu) and numerous all-conference selections while at MWSU. In 2011 the offensive line surrendered just nine sacks in 11 games and the Mustangs led the nation in total offense (531.9 ypg) and scoring (48.6 ppg), while ranking second in rushing (323.5 ypg).

Prior to his stint in Wichita Falls, Natkin coached one season at Northern Colorado where he developed an offensive line that paved the way for 1,000-yard rusher Andre Wilson. Natkin served as a graduate assistant at UTEP in 2004 and 2005, working with the offense and tight ends. He tutored second-team All-WAC performer Jonas Crafts (2004) and honorable mention freshman All-American Jamar Hunt (2005).

One of two consensus All-Americans in program history, Natkin led all tight ends nationally with 64 catches for 787 yards in 2000. He ended his career with 172 receptions for 1,934 yards. He was a three-time first team All-WAC selection (1998-2000). Natkin was recently named to UTEP's Centennial Football Team.

Following his career at UTEP, Natkin spent time in the NFL with Tennessee (2001-02) and was in camp with St. Louis (2003). He earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from UTEP in 2003.

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Brian Natkin

Brian  Natkin

Position:
Tight Ends Coach/Special Team Coordinator

Alma Mater:
UTEP, 2003

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