EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Four days before UTEP is set to face North Texas to open up a monumental fifth season under Dana Dimel, the Miners still don’t know if their leading tackler will be in the lineup.

Breon Hayward, who accumulated 108 tackles in 2021 to lead the Miners, has not practiced all fall camp as he and UTEP await a waiver from the NCAA that would grant him a sixth year of eligibility.

As of Tuesday, sources told KTSM that Hayward had still not been able to participate at practice, because an NCAA ruling had not yet come down. While UTEP is still hopeful he’ll play, it seems increasingly likely that Hayward won’t be able to take the field vs. the Mean Green.

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football first reported the likelihood of Hayward’s absence for the opener, however, until UTEP hears back from the NCAA, the Miners will hold out hope that he’ll be able to play in 2022.

UTEP placed Hayward on its two-deep at Dimel’s pregame press conference on Monday; however, Dimel would not answer when asked if Hayward had received his waiver.

The Miners and Mean Green will kickoff at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the Sun Bowl, in front of what could be a sellout crowd. As of Monday, around 5,000 tickets remained for the season opener.