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El Paso, TX — 23 student-athletes signed national letters of intent to attend and play football at UTEP on Wednesday. "We highlight 11 linemen, two running backs, one fullback, two tight ends and two wide receivers. On defense the aforementioned seven defensive linemen, two linebackers and three defensive backs," Kugler said. Kugler forgot to mention he signed a Marine.
Nick Jones is a 24 year old Marine who was deployed overseas four times in his five years. Jones has served in Guantanamo Bay, Guam and Afghanistan. Jones spent last two season at Eric Community College, catching 17 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns, and finished ranked 19th on 247 Sports Top Junior College Tight Ends List. But Kugler might have recruited him more for his leadership among a young team.
"We had Sergeant Kelly on our team last year that provided great work ethic leadership. Sergeant Kelly has graduated, and we are hoping the Nick Jones can pick up that torch from day one. Judging by the way he worked during the first morning workout, we got ourselves a leader."
Nick Jones added, "Being a part of something greater than myself, is always good, that's why I joined the marines, because I was part of something greater than myself. I am not selfish, and the Marines was all about being there for your brother left and right of you, like we're in combat. On the football field, it's like the battlefield, the gridiron, it's the same thing, you have to know your job and do it for the guy on the left and the right, not for yourself."
Spring practice begins March 3.
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