With a year of games in the books, the UTPB football team added reinforcements for its second season.
Falcons’ head coach Justin Carrigan announced the signing of 27 players on Wednesday.
UTPB was looking for talent across the board to add to their young squad, after a 2-9 inaugural season, and Carrigan believes it accomplished that goal with this recruiting class.
“It’s always a relief when you get to the end of recruiting and get to signing day, you can kind of take a deep breath,” Carrigan said.
The secondary appeared to be a primary target for Falcons with 11 of 27 players being listed as a defensive back.
“I think we added to our defensive backs and that was a focus after last season,” Carrigan said.
The class was highlighted by the signing of Patrick Sullivan out of El Paso Parkland High School. The 6-foot-3, 190 pound Sullivan was a first team all-district 2-5A wide receiver and defensive back who finished his senior year with 59 catches for 1,045 yards and 16 touchdowns on offense to go with 117 tackles and eight interceptions on defense.
“It’s an exciting time. Coach (Chris) Mineo did a good job recruiting him and it’s an exciting time for the Falcons,” Carrigan said of Sullivan, who had drawn interest from UTEP, North Texas and New Mexico State.
The Falcons also brought in a pair of quarterbacks in Koby Edwards and Logan Hughes who will look to challenge Kameron Mathis and Caden Coots for playing time under center.
Edwards comes from Burnet where he was first team all-district in 13-4A after throwing for 2,873 yards and 33 touchdowns, while Hughes hails from Elysian Fields where he threw for 3,722 yards and 37 touchdowns.
“To have two come in with the accolades they had as seniors in high school is an added bonus for us,” Carrigan said. “We’re up front about that we want competition. We want guys who will come in and compete for spots. It’s good for the program moving forward.”
The Falcons also put a priority on the offensive line where they graduated their lone senior, Corin Brooks, at left tackle.
UTPB brought in three recruits for the line, including junior college transfer Daniel Kirk from Cisco. Kirk is one of five transfers the Falcons added from the junior college ranks to go with three defensive backs — Marquis Davenport, Tristen Thompson and Justin Nicholls — along with one wide receiver — Kyle McBride.
“The junior college guys, you can see them go up against 18-, 19-, 20-year olds and see them compete at that level,” Carrigan said. “It’s a little bit of an added value bringing them in, but there’s an added expectation for them to be a little bit more impactful early on. The freshmen as they come in you tend to be a little bit more patient with their development, but the junior college guys, you want them to be an immediate impact.”
UTPB also hopes it found another spark for the running game in Adrian Walker. The 5-foot-7 Walker was second team all-state in 5A after racking up 1,392 yards and 15 touchdowns for Corpus Christi King last year.
Absent from UTPB’s recruiting class were any players from the Permian Basin. Carrigan said there were numerous recruits from the area on the Falcons’ radar, but they chose other options.
“I know Permian was down with seniors, same with OHS. Midland High had a great class, but as we put guys on the board and go at it, some guys we recruited and they wanted to go elsewhere. That happens,” Carrigan said. “At the end of the day, we’re not going to worry about the guys that we lost.”