EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP football has got great production from its linebacker group recently. Tyrice Knight, Cal Wallerstedt, and James Neal have all stepped up and played a key role in the Miners’ defense.
“Tyrice [Knight] is playing at a high level and Cal [Wallerstedt] came in, and Cal ended up earning eleven helmet decals, and the most you can earn is 12. His production was really high. ” said Dimel. “James Neal played a lot there [linebacker] more now because we feel like he’s probably one of our most athletic players on our defense, so we really like the production we got out of those guys in that [New Mexico State] game. We are pretty happy with the position right now.”
This comes as the Miners’ depth at the linebacker position looked like it took a hit. UTEP is still without Breon Hayward due to waiver issues.
Knight currently sits with 23 total tackles on the season, which ties him with safety Kobe Hylton for the most on the team three games in. Knight also has the only interception for the Miners so far this season. Knight was on the receiving end of a ball that was tipped by Blake Thompson when UTEP played New Mexico State last Saturday.
Meanwhile, Wallerstedt made his first start of 2022 at linebacker against New Mexico State. Wallerstedt immediately made his impact felt in the game. Wallerstedt led the Miners in tackles that night with nine. Three of them being solo tackles and the other six being assisted ones.
Neal had four tackles against New Mexico State with three of them being solo tackles. Neal played in 12 games last year and collected only four total tackles. You can already see the big leap Neal has taken when it comes to production as he has already racked up eight total tackles in three games so far this season.
The linebacker group will look to keep up that level of production as the Miners take a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico to play New Mexico on Saturday, Sept. 17 at University Stadium. Kick off is set for 6:00 p.m. MT.