UTEP football: Miners adding two JUCO quarterbacks to shore up position

By Matthew Metz

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HOUSTON -- UTEP football will bring in two additional junior college quarterbacks to shore up the position after uncertainty surrounding incumbent Kai Locksley. 

The Miners have added New Mexico Military Institute quarterback Gavin Hardison – who will have four years to play three seasons – and Cerritos (CA) quarterback Isaiah Bravo. 

“They’ve been here competing during the summer, and both of those guys could challenge for playing time this year,” Dimel said.

Hardison finished No. 2 nationally with 5,347 passing yards at Hobbs High School in New Mexico. He completed 68.6 percent of his passes and threw 59 touchdowns to just nine interceptions as a senior. Hardison was one of just three players to throw for more than 5,000 yards in 2017. 

In five games at NMMI, Hardison completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 408 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. He also added 88 rushing yards and a touchdown on 4.9 yards per carry. 

Bravo completed 52 percent of his passes for 2,125 yards, 20 touchdowns and 11 touchdowns during his sophomore season at Cerritos. Perhaps his best game came in the opener against East Los Angeles, when Bravo completed 63 percent of his passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns.

Locksley was arrested earlier in the summer on multiple charges, including marijuana and unlawful carrying of a weapon. He has been suspended from the team indefinitely, pending the legal process. Dimel said that he expects to get some clarity on the situation in the next few days.

With Locksley suspended, backup Brandon Jones is the presumed starter. He completed 49.4 percent of his passes for 673 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions, along with two rushing scores. 

After Locksley and Jones, there’s a fairly significant gap. El Paso Eastwood product Mark Torrez will likely compete with the JUCO transfers for backup snaps. Cy-Falls freshman TJ Goodwin and freshman Calvin Brownholtz add up to make it seven scholarship quarterbacks on the roster.

Back when Dimel started his Texas career as head coach at Houston, he ran into a situation where he was left with only one scholarship quarterback on the roster after an unexpected retirement. He’s adamant that he won’t let that happen again.

“Now, we’ll never be in a position where we don’t have enough quarterbacks during a rebuild,” Dimel said.

In addition to quarterbacks, Dimel said he was being active in the transfer market. He noted that UTEP is working to get four transfers on campus, including one from the Big Ten and one from the Pac-12.

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