UTEP Inks 18 on National Signing Day
Feb. 6, 2013
EL PASO – Eighteen student-athletes signed national letters of intent to attend and play football at UTEP, officially kicking off the Sean Kugler era on Wednesday.
“We’re excited about our recruiting class as a whole,” Kugler said. “We feel like we not only added some outstanding football players, but some outstanding student-athletes with strong character.”
The list includes 12 players from Texas, four from California and one each from Pennsylvania and Washington.
The Miners added depth to a depleted secondary, signing six to fill the vacant positions. Kugler and his staff also added two quarterbacks, two offensive linemen, four defensive linemen – including two who could see time at linebacker – and one athlete, fullback, tight end and wide receiver.
Two Miners - Nick Gathrite and Chris Thomas – are already attending classes at UTEP.
Kugler, who took the reins of the program on Dec. 10, 2012, had just two months to put together his recruiting class.
“The coaches who were retained did an excellent job and the rest of our staff did their due diligence on the road to make it a smooth process,” he said.
Below is a list of the 2013 UTEP football recruiting class.
2013 UTEP Football Recruiting Class
WR, 6-1, 185
Spring, Texas (Westfield)
Tabbed first-team All-District 13-5A for Westfield High School … a two-year varsity letterwinner, Batson posted 18 receptions for 351 yards and three touchdowns as a senior, averaging 19.5 yards per reception in a predominantly rushing offense … helped Westfield to a 12-1 overall record and the District 13-5A title … also ran track at Westfield … son of Jennifer Gibson, who ran track for the Barbados National Team … born 12/7/95.
CB, 5-11, 180
Port Arthur, Texas (Memorial)
Garnered UIL 21-5A All-District second-team honors during his senior campaign … helped the team finish with an 8-3 record … defense was ranked no. 1 in District 21-5A and gave up the fewest passing yards in school history … led Memorial secondary in tackles and pass break-ups … totaled 41 tackles, four forced fumbles, 10 pass deflections, eight tackles for losses and two interceptions … averaged 7.6 yards per carry on offense at tailback … in 2011, Memorial finished the campaign 13-2 and went to the state semifinals … son of Tarsha Taylor … born 12/21/94.
DT, 6-1, 260
Manvel, Texas (Manvel)
Second-team All-District 22-5A member in 2012 for Manvel High School … Top-100 Houston Area player by Houston Chronicle … helped Manvel forge a mark of 11-2, including 7-0 in the league, as a senior … registered 43 tackles, including 13 solo stops … came up with three sacks, three hurries and also caused a fumble … named the defensive player of the game after making 10 tackles, including two for a loss, against Sam Rayburn … member of the power lifting team at Manvel … coach, Kirk Martin, played for UTEP (1988-92) and was a member of the 1988 Independence Bowl team … son of Dewan Sr. and LaGenia Edmonson … born 10/23/94.
OL, 6-3, 295
El Paso, Texas (Franklin)
Ended his senior year as a first-team All-District, first-team All-City and honorable-mention All-State honoree … preseason first-team All-City and All-State pick entering his senior season … recorded more than 100 pancake blocks in his career, including 68 his senior year … did not allow a sack his senior season, helping Franklin rank sixth in the state (5A) for total yards, eighth in rushing and 14th in passing … played in the Greater El Paso Football All-Star game … started his prep career at left tackle before switching to right tackle as a junior … three-year varsity starter for coach Daren Walker … threw the shot put and discus for the Franklin track and field team as a freshman and sophomore … parents are Tony and Linda Elmendorff … born 4/8/95.
SAF, 6-1, 195
Fontana, Calif. (Summit/Riverside CC)
Two-year starter/letterwinner at Riverside City College … registered 44 tackles, including 29 solos, one interception and one fumble recovery in 2012 … appeared in 11 games, helping the team to a 9-2 record in 2012 … recorded four tackles and broke up two passes in RCC’s Golden State Bowl victory over L.A. Harbor … one of the most improved players from his freshman season to his sophomore year, according to RCC’s head coach Tom Craft … caught 32 passes for 397 yards and tallied five total touchdowns his senior season at Summit High School (Calif.) … finished second on the team with three interceptions in helping Summit to a 10-3-1 record … son of Craig Erving … born 8/11/93.
CB, 5-9, 170
Riverside, Calif. (Arlington/Riverside CC)
Registered 25 tackles, including 18 solos, as sophomore at Riverside City College … tied for second on the team with three interceptions … appeared in nine games, helping the team to a 9-2 record in 2012 … intercepted two passes, including one he returned for a 50-yard touchdown, in RCC’s win over L.A. Harbor in the Golden State Bowl … named Defensive MVP in the Golden State Bowl … played on a Arlington High School (Calif.) team that finished 10-2 his senior year … son of Tracy Waynewright … born 12/31/91.
ATH, 5-10, 175
El Paso, Texas (Burges)
Earned 1-4A Offensive MVP and the El Paso Times All-City MVP award his senior season … appointed to The Old Coach 2013 Class 4A All-State Team … amassed more than 1,800 yards rushing and accounted for 30 touchdowns in 2012 … recorded 74 tackles (56 solos), one interception and two forced fumbles … helped Burges to a 10-3 record and an area playoff win … rushed for 335 yards against a solid Wichita Falls Rider defense in the regional playoffs … played three years of varsity … earned 1-4A District MVP honors after compiling over 1,400 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns his junior season … participated in the Greater El Paso All-Star Game … named to the National All-Department of Defense team … All-District wide receiver his sophomore season … played varsity basketball and competed on the track and field team for Burges … El Paso Times All-City selection on the hardwood and is currently averaging 17.6 ppg … a member of the 1600m relay state championship team after taking the district title … son of Alvin, Sr. and Vurgess Jones … played with his twin brother, Aaron … father is an army veteran and mother is an active duty member of the military … born 12/2/94.
SAF, 5-10, 180
El Paso, Texas (Burges)
First-team All-District 1-4A defensive back and second-team All-District 1-4A quarterback as a senior … rushed for 950 yards on 80 carries with 20 touchdowns, while passing for 463 yards and seven scores … helped Burges to a 10-3 record and an area playoff win … also recorded 83 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles and returned three punts for touchdowns … played three years of varsity ball … participated in the Greater El Paso All-Star Game … won eight consecutive games after taking the signal calling reins … competed on the Burges track and field team … a member of the 1600m relay state championship team after taking the district title … El Paso Times All-City selection in basketball, averaging 15.2 ppg … son of Alvin, Sr. and Vurgess Jones … played with his twin brother, Aaron … father is an army veteran and mother is an active duty member of the military … born 12/2/94.
FB, 6-1, 240
Bothell, Wash. (Bothell)
Rated a three-star recruit and the no. 9 player in the state of Washington by ESPN/Scouts Inc … ranked the no. 15 fullback in the nation by Scout.com … played at Juanita High School (Kirkland, Wash.) as a freshman, sophomore and junior prior to transferring to Bothell High School for his senior season … blocked for a 2,000-yard rusher (Danny Wilson) while compiling 700 rushing yards and six touchdowns at Bothell … garnered first-team All-League honors as a running back and linebacker his senior year … helped Bothell High to a 6-5 record … team advanced to the second round of the state playoffs … selected to play in the East/West All-State Game … second-team All-League running back as a junior when he rushed for 900 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry … played inside linebacker as a sophomore, recording 45 tackles for a 10-2 team that finished runner-up in the conference and advanced to the state playoffs … three-year varsity letterman for coaches Shaun Tarantola (Juanita HS) and Tom Bainter (Bothell HS) … also was a member of his high school wrestling and rugby teams as a sophomore and senior, respectively … son of John and Maria Laufasa … brother Corey recently graduated from Washington State and played linebacker for the Cougars … another older brother, Jeremiah, is currently a running back at WSU … born 5/6/95.
QB, 5-11, 200
Wexford, Penn. (North Allegheny)
Two-year varsity letterwinner at North Allegheny High School … tabbed Pennsylvania Player of the Year, was an All-State selection and was named a North Xtra All-Star by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette … led North Allegheny to 16-0 season and the 4-A state title with a no. 4 national ranking … connected on 177-of-268 passes for 3,331 yards with 45 touchdowns and four interceptions during his senior campaign … also ran for 553 yards on 138 carries with 10 rushing TDs … selected to play in the Big 33 Classic in June of this year … named to the Pittsburgh Tribune Terrific 25 and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Fab 22 … ranked one of the top-50 players in the state of Pennsylvania … became just the third signal caller in Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season and the 22nd to register more than 5,000 yards passing in career … as a junior, he completed 126 passes on 230 attempts for 2,203 yards and 20 TDs and rushed for 933 yards, reaching paydirt 16 times … totaled 91 TDs in two years as a starter, finishing with a 30-1 record … carries a 3.75 GPA … son of Spencer and LaTonne Leftwich … father is UTEP’s assistant head coach and offensive line coach … born 11/18/94.
QB, 6-3, 185
El Paso, Texas (Andress)
Three-year varsity starter at Andress High School … named an All-District 1-4A first-team selection … tabbed All-City by the El Paso Times … connected on 160-of-267 passes for 2,615 yards and 21 TDs in 2012 … also registered 385 yards on 70 carries and reached the end zone five times on the ground … named to the 1-4A All-Academic team in 2012 while ranking third in his class … was second-team All-District his junior campaign and honorable mention as a sophomore … track district champion in the 400m in 2011, reaching the regional finals … received the Presidential Award for Excellence and is a member of the National Honor Society … has a 100.1 GPA and is ranked fourth in his class … son of Matthew and Misty Metz … grandfather is Leon Metz, famous El Paso historian … born 6/24/95.
DE/OLB, 6-1, 220
La Marque, Texas (La Marque)
Three-year varsity starter at La Marque High School ... had a huge senior season ... honors included 24-3A District Defensive MVP, second-team All-Greater Houston (Houston Chronicle) and second-team All-State (Padilla poll) … registered 59 tackles, 10 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 2012 ... two of the recoveries were returned for touchdowns ... was a first-team All-District 24-4A member as a junior ... good all-around athlete who also played basketball and was on the track & field team ... quality student who sports the highest GPA for all varsity student-athletes at his school and was a first-team All-Academic selection as a senior … son of Demetra and Lawrence Sr. … born 9/15/93.
DT, 5-11, 320
Long Beach, Calif. (South Hills/Mt. SAC)
Registered 60 tackles, half of which were solo stops, in 11 games for Mt. SAC in 2012 … recorded 4.5 sacks and forced two fumbles … squad finished 11-1 on the year … member of 2011 team that won a record sixth California Community College Athletic Association Championship … had 37 tackles, including 14 solo stops, while also registering two sacks that year … 39 tackles, three sacks and one interception as a senior at South Hills High School … also lettered in track and field … son of Christina and Saolotoga Nonu … has a two-month old son, Dominic … born 11/28/92.
TE, 6-4, 220
Dripping Springs, Texas (Dripping Springs)
State Top-300 player by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine … regarded as one of the top-40 wide receivers in the Lone Star State by recruiting analyst Randy Rodgers … unanimous first-team All-District 25-4A wide receiver as a senior at Dripping Springs High School, just outside of Austin … other senior honors included All-Centex and team offensive MVP … registered 57 receptions for 992 yards as a senior, both school single-season records, while scoring 12 touchdowns … also set the Dripping Springs HS standard with 99.2 receiving yards per game during his final year as a prep … helped Dripping Springs reach the third round of the state playoffs his junior year, encompassing the most successful season in school history … three-year letterwinner for coach Bob Schultz … played tight end as a sophomore, and wide receiver as a junior and senior … also a three-year letterman in basketball … son of Chuck and Karyn Rogers … born 12/2/94.
CB, 5-9, 170
Dallas, Texas (Carter)
Rivals.com three-star recruit … helped Carter High School finish runner-up in the district and advance to the second round of the state playoffs before ending the season 9-3 … 2012 11-4A All-District first team selection … tabbed second team as a junior … registered six interceptions, including one for a TD … also a two-year letterwinner in track and field, where he earned a bronze medal in the 100m at the 2011 UIL Region II-4A Championships … son of Cassandra Scott and Jason Harris … born 10/5/94.
CB, 5-10, 170
Orange, Texas (West Orange Stark)
Honorable mention All-State and first-team All-City defensive honoree as a senior … led West Orange Stark to back-to-back Regional Championships … was a two-year varsity performer who compiled 83 tackles and six interceptions, including five interceptions during his senior season … also saw action on special teams, where he recorded 17 punt returns and rushed for 263 yards and one touchdown his senior year … member of his high school track and field team and competed at the District 21-3A Championships, where he helped the 4x100m relay claim gold with a time of 43.90 … his father, Quinton Tezeno Sr., was a safety for Houston and New Mexico State in the 1980s … son of Rhonda and Quinton Tezeno, Sr. … born 4/3/95.
OL, 6-4, 320
Lancaster, Texas (Lancaster HS/Cisco College)
Started at left tackle for Cisco [Texas] College during the 2012 season before transferring to UTEP … enrolled at UTEP in January and will have three years of eligibility with the Miners … three-year varsity letterwinner for coach Christopher Gilbert at Lancaster High School outside of Dallas … played nose tackle as a sophomore, right guard as a junior and right tackle as a senior … earned first-team All-District 15-4A and All-Area recognition as a senior … second-team All-District as both a sophomore and junior … member of a district co-championship team his senior year … was also a member of the Lancaster track and field team for four years, throwing the discus … parents are Sedrick and Tina Thomas … born 9/8/94.
DE/OLB, 6-3, 215
Los Angeles, Calif. (Serra)
Instinctive player who produced 11.5 sacks on his way to earning All-CIF honors as a senior for Serra High School in 2012 … also recognized as a Mission League first-team member and a first-team All-Area honoree … finished with 61 tackles, 38 of which were solos … also recovered two fumbles … efforts aided SHS to a 14-2 record, including 4-1 in the league … led squad to the CIF championship … played in two postseason all-star games, totaling 26 tackles, six sacks and a touchdown … key member of the eight-man defensive line rotation … contributed four sacks and nine tackles as a junior … considered to have big upside … son of Norman and Geraldine Usher … born 1/22/95.
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