Two Parade All-Americans Highlight UTEP Football Recruiting Class
UTEP Head Football Coach Mike Price announced the Miners' 2004 football recruiting class on Wednesday.
"We often recruit on potential with the thought of moving players to other positions," Price said. "Some years we've recruited as many as eight tailbacks in a one-back offense. And within three years only one of those was still a running back and the rest were receivers, defensive backs or linebackers. A lot of times the position they play in high school isn't necessarily the position they'll play in college."
UTEP had a limited number of scholarships to give. A total of thirteen student-athletes signed with the Miners on Wednesday. "There are three or four student-athletes who we can not discuss per NCAA rules but they will be coming to UTEP, practicing with the team, redshirting next fall and will be put on scholarship eventually," Price said.
The 2004 Miner class features a pair of Parade All-Americans -- running back Tyler Ebell (Ventura, Calif.), a transfer from UCLA, and running back Marcus Thomas (Phoenix, Ariz.).
Ebell rushed for nearly 1,500 yards the last two seasons for the Bruins. He was named the National High School Athlete of the Year by one agency after rushing for 4,495 yards and 64 touchdowns as a prep senior. He will sit out the 2004 season according to NCAA transfer rules, and be eligible to play in 2005.
Thomas, who Price said would play wide receiver for the Miners, rushed for 3,573 yards and scored 47 touchdowns as a senior at Tolleson High School.
Also signing with UTEP were Andre Bailey (CB, Phoenix, Ariz.); Jayson Boyd (WR, Riverside, Calif.); Anthony Casey (OL, Compton, Calif.); James Delgardo (CB, Seattle, Wash.); Michael Eddy (OL, Layton, Utah); Kedaron Franklin (DE, Sulphur Springs, Texas); Jamar Hunt (TE, Mesa, Ariz.); Brandon Jackson (RB, Houston, Texas); Justin McNeese (RB, Houston, Texas); Ricky Porter (DB, Austin, Texas); and Tyler Ribitzki (OL, Burleson, Texas).
UTEP signed four running backs, three offensive linemen, two cornerbacks, a defensive back, a defensive end, a tight end and a wide receiver. The Miners inked seven high school standouts, five junior college transfers and a Division I transfer (Ebell). Five players hail from the state of Texas, three each from California and Arizona, and one apiece from Utah and Washington.
"Offensive line and cornerback were areas of concern for us in the recruiting process," Price said. "After that, we were just looking for athletes."