EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP football completed its seventh fall camp session on Thursday. It provided the Miners another chance to evaluate what they will be doing with the secondary for the 2022 season.

“Secondary consistency is really critical because you don’t want to give up the big play,” UTEP football head coach Dana Dimel said. “So I’m looking for them to be real, fundamentally sound, and just do things the way they’re supposed to be done because we got plenty of athleticism back there.”

The Miners will head into the upcoming season without three key players from 2021, as Walter Neil, Josh Caldwell, and Dy’vonne Inyang all graduated.

Even with the trio of departures, the Miners are expected to have a strong secondary this season. Justin Prince, Dennis Barnes, and Torey Richardson, some key returners from last season’s squad, will be looked at as veterans of the group.

“We have a lot of experience from last year, despite me getting hurt,” said UTEP senior defensive back Justin Prince. “You know those guys [Dennis Barnes and Torey Richardson] do a good job with their groups. Dennis [Barnes] with the nickels, Torey [Richardson] with the corners and me with the safeties. We try to is get our group right to go out there compete every day.”

Along with the returners, the Miners made sure to go out and add some new talent. Latrez Shelton (transfer from Iowa Western CC); Amier Boyd-Matthews (freshman); Josiah Allen (transfer from Sacramento City College); and Kobe Hylton (transfer from Louisiana) are some newcomers that have caught the eyes of the Miners’ coaching staff early on in fall camp.

“We’ve got a ways to go, but we can get there for sure,” said UTEP sophomore safety Kobe Hylton. “We try to pick up on the little stuff everyday and just get better on the little things and it may seem that we may not get it but the goal is just not to take a step back.”

It is still early on in the fall camp and the newcomers are still figuring out the system. Once they do, they’ll feel like a well-oiled machine.

“I think that we’re going to be pretty good once we start locking in on our technique. Once we starting locking in on what coaches are coaching us up on and just applying it to the field,” said UTEP senior defensive back Dennis Barnes. “You got to get IQ on the game. IQ on the game helps a lot. So after that, you know, the sky’s the limit.”

With the mixture of newcomers and returners, it is making for some intense competition for starting spots.

“It is a really heavy competition right now,” said Dimel. “There’s the things we are looking for. The guys that can be real consistent and not give up big plays.”