Former Miner Nik Needham signed a free agent contract with the Miami Dolphins on Saturday afternoon.
The UTEP graduate started in 41 games for the Orange and Blue. The corner left his mark in the UTEP record book, rating first in the all-time list with 33 pass breakup. He concluded his collegiate career with 213 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions. Needham’s most memorable performance came against WKU on Oct. 7, 2017, where he posted a career-high five pass breakups and chipped in five stops.
Former Miners David Lucero, Kahani Smith and Jerrod Brooks will also get an opportunity to earn a spot on an NFL roster.
Tight end Lucero received an invite to the Oakland Raiders rookie minicamp. The former Miner played in 20 games for the Miners and made 12 starts. Lucero registered 20 catches for 322 yards in 2018, becoming only the sixth UTEP tight end to tally 300 yards in a campaign. He closed out his career with 37 receptions for 451 yards and three touchdowns.
Smith heads to Seattle for a minicamp tryout with the Seahawks. The former Miner played two seasons with the Miners seeing action in 24 games. In his collegiate career, Smith notched a total of 126 tackles (81 solo), 15 pass breakups, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and 4.5 tackles for loss.
Offensive lineman Brooks gets a rookie camp invite with the Kansas City Chiefs. The four-year letter winner, saw action in 37 games and started in 18 for the Orange and Blue. He helped Aaron Jones gain a single-season program-record 1,773 yards in 2016, while becoming UTEP’s all-time leading rusher.
Winston Dimel and AJ Hotchkins are the Miners’ other main hopefuls to be picked up as undrafted free agents, but as of Saturday night it had not yet happened.