UTEP junior defensive lineman Brandis Dew sustained a herniated disk in his neck in practice on Wednesday that will end his football career.
In addition, sophomore offensive lineman Rod Huntley is out for the remainder of the 2008 season with a fractured tibia suffered in the Tulane game on Oct. 11.
Huntley is on crutches and will not need surgery. Dew is recovering and will not need surgery in the foreseeable future.
"First of all, I'd like to compliment [head athletic trainer] Dawn Hearn for the great job she has done," UTEP coach Mike Price said. "If she hadn't alertly gone and gotten an MRI, Brandis might have been in big trouble. It wasn't a big hit or anything like that, it was just the angle in which he took the blow. He kind of ducked his head and his hands went numb. By Monday of next week, he might have been feeling like he could play again. So she saved his life from possible paralysis. He should be able to have a good life, he just won't be able to tackle anybody anymore. He's a great kid, he's mature and he's taking it well. He wants to be a high school coach, so he will stay in the program and help our staff.
"We thought Rod's injury was a knee or ligaments. But Dawn got an MRI done when it didn't heal in a week," Price said. "Fortunately we got him out of there at the right time. It could have been seriously broken and cracked if he had tried to play on it."
The 6-5, 290-pound Dew made his first career start at left end at Tulsa last week. He has played in all seven games this season and leads the Miners in tackles for losses (4.5) and sacks (2.5). Dew has also been credited with 11 tackles, two pass break-ups and a team-high four quarterback hurries.
A native of Hemet, Calif., Dew came to UTEP as a highly decorated quarterback prospect before moving to the defensive line for the 2007 season. He was a PrepStar All-American as a senior at Hemet High, throwing for 2,909 yards with 42 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
The 6-3, 310-pound Huntley started the first six games of the season at right guard and has helped the Miners rank 33rd nationally in passing offense (244.7 ypg) and 37th in scoring offense (31.4 ppg). He was a first team All-District 7-5A honoree as a senior at Sam Houston High School in his hometown of Arlington, Texas.