UTEP had a total of 14 players selected to the Athlon Sports 2022 All-Conference USA Honors.
Three Miners earned first team honors with Ronald Awatt (RB) earning first-team offense, along with Praise Amaewhule (DE) and Keenan Stewart (DT) earning first team defense. Receiving second-team honors are Breon Hayward (LB), Elijah Klein (OL), Tyrice Knight (LB), and Joshua Sloan (P). Gavin Baechle (K), Jeremiah Byers (OL), and Walter Dawn Jr. (KR) earned third-team honors, while Dennis Barnes (DB), Deion Hankins (RB), Kelton Moss (DL), and Tyrin Smith (WR) earned fourth-team honors.
First-team honoree, Awatt, led the Miners with 844 rushing yards on 159 carries and averaged 65 yards per game with six rushing touchdowns, while fourth-team honoree Hankins was UTEP’s second-leading rusher recording 458 yards on 121 carries, tying the team lead with six rushing touchdowns.
Miners wide receiver Smith earned fourth-team honors, during his sophomore season he recorded his first 100-yard game against Florida Atlantic with four catches for 114 yards. Smith caught 33 balls for 570 yards and four touchdowns; he is ranked 38th nationally in yards per catch.
Offensive linemen Klein and Byers also earned All-Conference USA honors with Klein earning second-team honors and Byers earning third-team honors. Both Klein and Byers started in all 13 games with Byers at right tackle and Klein at right guard. Klein and Byers were essential in the Miners averaging 392.1 yards per game, which includes 140.0 rushing yards.
On defense, teammates Amaewhule and Stewart earned first-team honors. Amaewhule led the Miners with 13 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles. Stewart recorded 35 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, and a quarterback hurry in the 2021 season.
Also receiving defensive All-Conference USA honors are Hayward and Knight earning second-team honors, while Barnes and Moss earned fourth-team honors. Hayward led the Miners with 108 tackles and is the first Miner with over 100 tackles in a season in three years. Knight finished the 2021 season second on the team in tackles (102) and tackles for loss (9.0).
Barnes led the Miners defensive backs with 59 tackles and added 4.5 tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions, three pass breakups, a quarterback hurry and a forced fumble. Moss finished the 2021 season with 23 tackles, one pass breakup, one quarterback hurry, and a fumble recovery.
The Miners had three special teams’ players earn All-Conference USA honors with Sloan earning second-team honors and Baechle and Dawn Jr. earning third-team honors. Sloan punted 63 times for 526 yards with a long of 62 and recorded 10 punts of over 50 yards. Baechle led the Miners in scoring with 88 points and kicked off 61 times for 3,797 yards with 43 touchbacks. Despite missing the rest of the season due to an injury, Dawn Jr. Caught three passes for 27 yards and recorded a 14-yard reception against Boise State.
The Miners kick off the 2022 season with a home opener against North Texas on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Sun Bowl Stadium.