Flores carving out playing time by providing spark to UTEP offense

UTEP

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — UTEP is 5-1, just one win shy of becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2014, and the Miners are getting plenty of production from some of their local products.

Reynaldo Flores, who graduated from Ysleta High School, is one of those players. The next level Indian put up his best performance of his collegiate career in a win against Southern Miss last week, leading the Miners in receiving and providing another threat out of UTEP’s stacked backfield.

“It felt good. It really felt like everything came together last weekend,” said Flores. “Running the ball, catching the ball and I got my touches. I think it’s just going to go up from here. I think last week was an icebreaker for me to get going.”

Flores has rushed for over 100 yards this season and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Four of his six receptions on the season came against UTEP’s win against the Golden Eagles, totaling 63 receiving yards. His versatility has caught the attention of the coaching staff.

“[Flores] is making a push to become that kind of guy that does everything exactly the way it’s supposed to be done,” said UTEP head coach Dana Dimel. “He plays with physicality and strength to him. He brings so much to our football team — he really does. He’s an unsung, big part of our football team.”

The key for Flores has been patience. He redshirted in 2017 and didn’t play a single down of football. In 2018, Flores appeared in all 12 games for the Miners on special teams. It wasn’t until his redshirt sophomore year, in 2019, that he first appeared in UTEP’s stat sheet at running back.

“{Being patient] has probably been the toughest thing to deal with because you can’t get frustrated,” said Flores. “When I was young, I thought I was ready to play, but I wasn’t. It took a lot of time thinking to truly find myself to realize that I need to grow and take coaching. It helped me to grow where I’m at as well as the mentors we have in this program. Little-by-little I’ve gotten to where I’m at, and it feels good to be the guy again, making some big plays.”

Flores is a standout on-and-off the field. He carries a 4.0 GPA and has been on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll and an Academic Medalist in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

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