When Derek Elmendorff (El Paso, Texas/Franklin) first committed to UTEP a few days back, he did so with the idea of fulfilling several wishes.
First, he wanted to play at a Division I program. Second, he wanted to play close to home.
The bonus in giving a verbal pledge to UTEP for the 6-foot-4, 286-pound offensive tackle was that he’s the program’s first commitment of the 2013 class.
“I made the decision the day of our spring game,” Elmendorff said. “The thing about UTEP, it’s in my hometown. It’s great up here. I always went to Miners games growing up. Half of my family are die-hard fans. I always wanted to play in front of my family.”
Elmendorff chose UTEP over interest from Texas Tech, Utah, Missouri, Navy and a few other schools. UTEP was his only offer, but he did have rising interest from Oklahoma State, Tulsa and SMU.
Recruited by offensive line coach Brian Natkin, Elmendorff said the coaching staff and the facilities at UTEP were additional factors in his decision. He added that, with being the Miners’ first commit, he’s looking forward to being the player to help spearhead the recruiting class’ ascension.
“I already feel like I have a special relationship there,” Elmendorff said. “There’s a family thing there, and I find that very important. I also am very close with the offensive line coach. I love the way they run stuff there, and I feel like I’ll learn a lot and have a lot of fun there.”