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Twelve UTEP Miners named to Phil Steele’s 2024 preseason CUSA Team

utep football helmet pic
Photo Courtesy: UTEP Athletics

(Courtesy: UTEP Athletics)

EL PASO, Texas - The preseason all-conference teams have begun to be recognized as twelve UTEP Miners were named to Phil Steele’s 2024 Preseason CUSA Team as announced by the publication on Tuesday.

Heading the list for the new UTEP Head Coach Scotty Walden is first team honoree Bandit Maurice Westmoreland.

Westmoreland led the Miners with 7.5 sacks and finished second in CUSA in 2023. “Mo” led the conference with 64 sack yards. The senior also tied fourth in CUSA with 10.5 tackles for loss (75 yards ranked second in the league).

Second team honorees include RB Jevon Jackson, WR Trey Goodman and NT Tevita Tafuna.

Jackson was named a 2023 FCS Football Central Second Team All-America after rushing for a team-high 1,373 yards on 252 attempts (5.4 avg.) and 10 touchdowns at Austin Peay. The first team All-United Athletic Conference performer added 78 yards on 11 receptions with a TD.

Goodman, another Austin Peay transfer, tallied 721 yards on 34 receptions. He led the Governors in receiving touchdowns (seven) and yards per reception (21.3 avg.) while earning All-UAC first team honors.

Tafuna played in four games in 2023 for the Miners, tallying 11 tackles and half a tackle for loss.

Making the third team are Miner Back Kam Thomas, OL Isaiah Wright, NT Sione Tonga’uiha,

Thomas did it all at Austin Peay last season. The versatile student-athlete recorded 50 receptions for 629 yards and five touchdowns. He added 78 yards rushing and a score while being the team leader on special teams. Thomas led the Govs in punt returns with 267 yards (22.3 avg.) and two touchdowns, and recorded 296 yards on 14 kick returns (21.4 avg.).

Wright stated all 11 games in 2023 at Austin Peay. The senior transfer was named to the 2023 All-UAC first team. In two seasons at APSU, he made 22 starts at the left tackle position. He allowed just two sacks and two QB hits on 196 pass protection snaps last season.

Tonga’uiha played in 11 games with five starts last season. He recorded eight tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup. 

OL Ivan Escobar, OL Brennan Smith, DE Devin Goree, SPUR Corey Chapman and LS Angelo Tejada were named to the fourth team.

Escobar, a walk-on who recently earned a scholarship, played in 12 games mostly on special teams.

Smith is a junior transfer who started in all 12 games at right tackle at Austin Peay in 2023. Overall, he played in 24 games with 20 starts at RT in three seasons with the Govs. His efforts on the line helped the Govs’ offense produce 34.1 points per game and 426.8 yards total offense per contest in 2023.

Chapman started in all 12 games at the safety position at Austin Peay in 2023. Chapman recorded 73 tackles with 4.0 TFLs, half sack, two interceptions and five breakups. Overall in his career with the Govs, Chapman registered 179 tackles with 15 TFLs, 4.0 sacks, 14 breakups and five INTs.

Tejada returns for his fourth season with the Miners. Despite injuries late in the season, the senior started at long snapper in 10 games. Tejada’s played in 43 career games and has posted two tackles on special teams. He was named to the 2022 All-CUSA second team.

The Walden Era kicks off on Aug. 31 at Nebraska (1:30 p.m. MT), while the Miners’ first home game is Sept. 7 against Southern Utah with kick off slated for 7 p.m. in Sun Bowl Stadium.


2024 All-CUSA Honors by Athlon Sports

First Team

Bandit Maurice Westmoreland

Second Team

CB AJ Odums

Third Team

WR Trey Goodman

OL Isaiah Wright

Fourth Team

RB Jevon Jackson

DL Tevita Tafuna

DL KD Johnson

LB Dorian Hopkins

K Buzz Flabiano

2024 Dave Campbell’s Texas Football All-Texas College Football Team

Second Team

CB AJ Odums


Season ticket memberships are available here starting at only $65 (seating chart and pricing).

Fans can also call 915.747.UTEP, email, click, or visit the Eisenberg Family Ticket Office at 500 W. University Ave., El Paso, Texas, 79968 (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

Article Topic Follows: UTEP

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Adrian Ochoa

Adrian Ochoa is ABC-7’s Sports Director.


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