No program in the state has fallen on harder times than UTEP and the Miners look for improvement in 2020.
UTEP is coming off the worse three-year stretch in program history going a combined 2-34 since 2017. The Miners come into the season on a 10-game losing streak, have not won multiple games in a season since going 4-8 in 2016, and have not experienced a winning year since going 7-6 in 2014.
The Miners kick off the season at the Sun Bowl on Saturday against Stephen F. Austin and visit No. 14 Texas on Sept. 12. UTEP’s biggest Conference USA matchups come in late in the season against North Texas on Oct. 31 and at UTSA Nov. 14.
Despite the program’s struggles, five former Texas High School Football stars look to help UTEP in 2020.
Praise Amaewhule, redshirt sophomore defensive end, Katy Taylor
Amaewhule established himself as not just UTEP’s best young player, but one of the top newcomers in CUSA after making the all-freshman team in 2019.
He led the team with 5.5 tackles for loss and tied the team lead with three sacks and three quarterback hurries during his debut season. The former Katy Taylor standout posted a total of 28 tackles, three pass deflections, one force fumble and blocked one kick.
Amaewhule had 70 solo tackles as a senior at Katy Taylor to go along with 23 tackles for loss.
Gavin Baechle, junior kicker, McKinney
Getting hidden yardage in the kicking game will help UTEP this year and one of the keys will be Baechle, a returning CUSA Honorable Mention at kicker.
Baechle will be called upon to assume the duties of both punter and kicker in 2020. He made 13 of 16 field goals last season, hit all 22 extra-point attempts, posted the fourth best field goal percentage in school history (.813) and was 13-15 in field goal attempts from 40 to 50 yards out.
He averaged 34.4 yards per punt at McKinney, 11 of which pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard-line in three varsity seasons.
Bobby DeHaro, redshirt junior offensive lineman, El Paso Montwood
DeHaro was a CUSA Honorable Mention the last two seasons and will likely anchor the Miners offensive line at left guard this season.
He helped UTEP rush for 138.2 yards per game in 2019 and score 18 rushing touchdowns. The Miners led CUSA and were ranked fourth nationally in fourth-down percentage.
DeHaro was a three-time District 1-6A selection at Montwood, including being named first-team in 2015. He helped the Rams offense average 388.8 yards per game during that span.
James Tupou, Junior Fullback, Allen
Tupou looks to build upon a strong 2019 where he played in all 12 games at fullback as well as on special teams. A season ago, he had one reception, made three special teams tackles and also recovered a fumble.
He helped Allen post a 28-2 record in two varsity seasons and was an Associated Press Sports Editor Class 6A Honorable Mention as a junior.
Quardraiz Wadley, redshirt senior running back, Kennedale
Wadley makes his return to the Sun Bowl after suffering a toe injury in fall camp last season and missing the entire 2019 campaign.
He led the team with 627 rushing yards and total touchdowns in 2018, started in 10 of the 12 games that season and caught six passes for 91 yards and a receiving score.
Wadley played two varsity seasons for Kennedale and had a stellar senior season rushing for 2,511 yards, 45 rushing touchdowns and returning nine kicks for a total of 319 yards and one touchdown. He surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark 10 times in his final prep season.
Article by: Albert Alvarado
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