UTEP Football Recruiting History

UTEPDefense

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In my opinion, UTEP's 4 best Linebackers during the past 20 years were:

- Thomas Howard.
- Trey Merkins.
- Robert Rodriguez.
- Alvin Jones.

Here was the Recruiting Profile of our 4 best Linebackers:

- Thomas Howard(No Division 1 Scholarship Offers, Walked-On at UTEP).
- Trey Merkins(No Division 1 Scholarship Offers, Walked-On at UTEP).
- Robert Rodriguez(Only received one Division 1 Scholarship Offer, which was from UTEP).
- Alvin Jones(Only received one Division 1 Scholarship Offer, which was from UTEP).

So UTEP's 4 greatest Linebackers over the past 20 years recieved a combined total of only 2 scholarship offers coming out of High School, both offers were from UTEP. Literally nobody else wanted these guys on Signing Day, besides UTEP. Additionally, every single one of these players, who no other school offered a scholarship to out of high school, got an offer from the NFL and made an NFL Training Camp(thus far):

- Thomas Howard(Drafted by the Raiders).
- Trey Merkins(Atlanta Falcons).
- Robert Rodriguez(Titans).
- Alvin Jones(2 years remaining).

Of course, there is merit to getting the best athletes that everybody wants. But College Football is a little different than College Basketball. In most cases, the 2 Star 22 year old who has been in your Program for 4 years, developing and working in a continuous strength & conditioning program, is going to be physically better than the 3 star 18 year old fresh out of high school. One of UTEP's biggest issues in the past has been this lack of player retention and also not building the Program in the proper areas. As an example, when Kugler arrived at UTEP, we had more WR's on scholarship than D-Linemen and people wondered why Mike Price never won games with defense? Despite being here 9 of the past 20 years, despite being here essentially half of the time, Mike Price also didn't sign any of the 4 great LB's listed above. Was he just unlucky?, or was it because there was a difference of priorities? The fact that Price was scrambling 6 years into his Program and had to convert an upperclassmen QB into a LB, because he had nobody else for the job, helps to explain some of our past struggles. I have seen a different recruiting philosophy under Kugler. I have seen more depth being built at all areas, not just the one's that are most important to Kugler. I have seen player retention, like I have never seen before. Like mentioned previously, as Kugler's first Recruiting Class is now becoming the Upper Classmen of our Program, I think that we are close to seeing the benefits from this change in philosophy.
In College Football, one of the most important things that you can do is find good character, hard working, athletes with potential. Quality Athletes who are willing to stay in your Program 4-5 years and develop into solid players. Kugler's retention of players has been incredible thus far and his dedication to redshirting & greyshirting has also been the correct approach to building a Program. As more of UTEP's Recruits project to start rolling-in, I personally choose to judge each prospect based off of what I see on film and how I see him projecting to the next level, more than how many stars are next to his name.
 
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UTEPDefense

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Barron Wortham and Michael Comer were my favorites and the greatest that I saw, in the time prior to the list above. What is interesting about both of them, is that they too also hit the exact same formula as above. They both went from being lightly recruited out of high school to where they both ended up getting a chance to play in the NFL(Wortham with the Oilers and Comer with the Browns).

Menson Hollaway was a DE, but he too was a Walk-On with no scholarship offers out of high school. He actually tried to walk-on at NMSU first and ended up back at UTEP(keeping with the tradition above, the no scholarship-offer Halloway also got some time in the NFL with the 49ers).
 
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UTEPMiners8106

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Going with your point, Gary Nord kept the course of greyshirting/redshirting players and the team Price inherited was full of Nord's players who were in the program for 3 years plus. If you're not going to keep a superstar for 3 years then you need to develop an ok for 5.
Not to derail the conversation from football but this is what's killing basketball in my opinion. Floyd runs these kids out and he's always back at square one trying to mold and develop talent. It's one thing if you're brining in 4 star talent every year, but I don't see why he's replacing a project player with another project player year in and year out.
 

Imaminer

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One of the greatest LB's in UTEP history was Fred Carr - also not highly recruited out of hs. Was all pro with Green Bay Packers.
 
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