58 / 48
      65 / 47
      67 / 39

      Clay's Clincher-Persistence Pays Off For Springer At UTEP

      UTEP linebacker Jeremy Springer adjusts the defense during drills Tuesday at Glory Road Field. / Mark Lambie/El Paso Times

      North Carolina State didn't want Russell Wilson as their starting quarterback anymore, so he transferred to Wisconsin.

      Texas didn't want Garrett Gilbert as their starting quarterback anymore, so he's gone too, most likely to SMU.

      When Texas-El Paso didn't want Los Fresnos graduate Jeremy Springer as their starting quarterback anymore, he took a different tack, as seen in a great story by Bret Bloomquist of the El Paso Times.

      "I thought about transferring, I love quarterback, I love it to this day," Springer said. But I love this team. I love my teammates."

      So the transformation into a Division I linebacker began, and one that didn't take very long, due in large part to Jeremy's twin brother Justin, who not only was a linebacker in high school and for four years at Kansas, but is so well versed in packing on pounds and muscle that he's been hired as an assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Jayhawks.

      "It's a big transition and (Jeremy's) done it at the highest level of college football," (former Los Fresnos Falcon and current UTEP offensive lineman Eloy) Atkinson said. "He puts in so much work and effort. That's where we grew up, that's where we're from. That's what was demanded of us, to work for perfection. It's a mentality.

      "You could put Jeremy anywhere and he'd succeed."

      Current Valley football players owe former local stars like the Springers, Atkinson, and Bradley Stephens of Texas A&M a debt of gratitude. Their fantastic college careers have, by transference, polished the reputations of current Division I prospects in the RGV.

      Let's hope the next generation continues down that same path.