EL PASO, Texas – UTEP had a total of seven players named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-Conference USA teams, it was announced in 2021 College Football Preview magazine this week.
Two Miners earned first team honors with Jacob Cowing (WR) and Praise Amaewhule (DE) earning spots, while defensive tackle Keenan Stewart was selected to the magazine’s second team. Justin Garrett (WR) and Bobby DeHaro (OL) were named to the third team, while Deion Hankins (RB) and Walter Dawn (KR) were named to the magazine’s fourth team.
“Any way that they make an All-Conference team is big because there are 14 teams in our league, so those guys should be very proud of their preseason accomplishments and we probably have a lot of other guys who can prove themselves this year and get themselves on there as well,” UTEP head coach Dana Dimel said.
A first-team selection, Cowing led the Miners last year with 41 receptions for 691 yards and three touchdowns, while Garrett, a third-team honoree, had 38 catches for 510 receiving yards and tied for a team-high with three touchdowns for the Miners in 2020.
DeHaro was named to the magazine’s third team after starting every game for the Miners at left guard last season. The three-year letterwinner helped pave the way for a UTEP rushing attack that scored 16 touchdowns and averaged 138.9 yards per game a season ago.
Hankins earned a spot on the fourth team after leading UTEP in rushing last season with 121 carries for 592 yards and nine touchdowns. The El Paso native set UTEP freshman records in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in 2020 and capped off the season by being named to Conference USA’s All-Freshman Team.
Defensively, Amaewhule earned preseason first-team honors after an impressive sophomore campaign that saw him lead the Miners with eight tackles for loss, seven sacks and nine pass breakups. He also added 19 tackles, four QB hurries, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery last season on his way to earning All-Conference USA Second Team accolades.
Entering his second season in the Orange and Blue, Stewart was named to the second team preseason list after starting seven of the eight games he played in last year. In 2020, Stewart led all defensive linemen with 34 total tackles and registered seven tackles for loss, while also notching five QB hurries, a pass breakup and a forced fumble on the campaign. Stewart earned Honorable Mention All-Conference USA accolades following the 2020 season.
Dawn, who was named to the publication’s fourth team preseason squad as a kick returner, had 10 returns for 277 yards for the Miners in 2020. The veteran averaged 27.7 yards per return and had a season-long 95-yard return in UTEP’s road contest at UTSA.
The 2021 UTEP Football season opens on Saturday, Aug. 28 with the “Battle of I-10” versus NM State in Las Cruces.
The home opener versus Bethune-Cookman is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4 at the Sun Bowl and will kick off at 7 p.m. MT.