EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP’s secondary wasn’t always its strongest unit during an up-and-down 2022 season. The Miners are hoping that changes this fall.

Entering fall camp, the defensive backfield was one of the places UTEP head coach wanted to see some improvement, after finishing 113th in FBS football in pass efficiency defense in 2022. One week into preparations for the upcoming season, the Miners appear to have found a good amount of depth across the secondary.

Safety Kobe Hylton was always going to lead the unit as a preseason player to watch for across all of Conference USA. It was at cornerback, the other safety spot and nickelback where things were a bit up in the air.

“It’s really important for that unit to come around and I’m really excited about the way some of the guys are starting to step up,” said UTEP head coach Dana Dimel. “I think we’re developing a lot of depth, more than we had last year.”

At corner, the Miners will have multiple options and the battle for the two starting spots is still up for discussion. Returners Trez Moore and Ilijah Johnson have been joined by redshirt freshman Amier Boyd-Matthews and New Mexico transfer AJ Odums in the mix.

Veteran Tory Richardson is also back with that unit and figures to factor into the rotation somehow, after missing the 2022 season with a torn ACL.

At the other safety spot, McKel Broussard has impressed throughout the first week of camp. Trejon Hugue is another veteran at the safety position that could have a role. At nickelback, Josiah Allen could earn the spot to replace Dennis Barnes, after playing a lot as a sophomore in 2022.

UTEP will find out how much its secondary has improved on Aug. 26 in the season opener on the road at new Conference USA foe Jacksonville State. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.