2019 Conference USA QB Preview: UTEP
It is no secret that UTEP struggled last year going 1-11. UTEP struggled both offensively and defensively as they gave up a total of 393 points and only scored a total of 212 points. As with most teams, the success or let’s say the improvement for the 2019 Miners will be largely due to what kind of quarterback play they will get. Here is a brief preview of the quarterback position for the 2019 Miners.
2018 QB Performance
Anyone that keeps up with UTEP football or CUSA football knows the quarterback position in 2018 struggled. While I don’t want to reminisce too much of 2018, it is important to take a look at it.
- 3 guys had at least 69 passing attempts (Locksley, Jones, and Metz).
- They had a combined 2,208 passing yards, 49.7cmp%, 10 passing touchdowns, and 19 interceptions.
- As a unit, they were 12th out of 14 in the conference in passing yards, and tied for 2nd to last in passing touchdowns.
- Kai Locksley led the unit in passing yards with 937, while Brandon Jones led the unit in passing touchdowns with 4.
- Locksley was 2nd on the team in rushing yards with 340 and 2nd in rushing touchdowns with 6.
Locksley and Jones are the only two returning quarterbacks that got valuable playing time last year. Incoming freshman TJ Goodwin was a 3-star recruit from Houston, TX that the Miners are hoping will eventually be the guy down the road. As of now, it will most likely come down to Locklsey and Jones for the starting job in 2019.
Admittedly, I am not close to the program nor have any “insider scoop” for anyone, but from everything coming out of El Paso, Locksley looks to be the starter heading into 2019. Locksley did start the majority of games at quarterback for the Miners in 2018 and from an athletic standpoint, is very talented. 2018 was the first time for Locksley to compete at the division 1 level. He started his career at the University of Texas before spending the past few seasons playing at juco’s. The experience Locksley gained last year should help with this upcoming season. If he can cut down on his interceptions (9), and some of his ill-advised throws, I look for him to take the next step at the quarterback position and help UTEP win a few more games than last year.
Below is a quick clip demonstrating his athletic ability and the threat he has with his legs.
While Jones will most likely be the back-up heading into 2019, anything can happen, and the chance of him getting significant playing time at some point in 2019 is high. This is especially true considering how the 2018 season went. Jones did show some good things here and there last year as a passer as he did throw for 340 yards against Western Kentucky, which was the most yards any UTEP passer threw for last year in a single game.
Below is a quick clip of Jones delivering an accurate pass for a touchdown last year against Middle Tenn.
As mentioned previously, the incoming freshman is hoping to be the guy for the future. Could there be a chance he plays this year? I would assume yes, but for now it looks as if he will take a back seat. However, anything can happen, and I would not be surprised to see him out there at some point this upcoming season.
There should be improvement at the quarterback position, which will help improve the overall record for the 2019 Miners. With the way things went last year, it wouldn’t surprise me to see either one of these three take the majority of the snaps this year for the Miners. However, if all goes according to plan, Locksley will be the guy and the Miners as whole will be improved.