EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP football currently has something on its roster that may be hard to find on other NCAA Division I Football programs around the country. It has nothing to do with size, speed, or skill. Instead it all comes down to family.
Right now there are four pairs of brothers on the Miners’ roster for 2022. You have wide receivers Rey and Lucas Flores; offensive lineman Zuri and Azizi Henry; the quarterback/wide receiver combo of Jake and Kyle McNamara; and Blake and Trent Thompson, who battle on opposite sides of the ball.
The Flores brothers, who are El Paso natives, grew up in the Sun City and played at Ysleta High School. The two local standouts eventually played their way to a spot on their hometown’s college football team.
“We always had a ball in our hands 24/7, so its like a dream come true,” said senior wide receiver Rey Flores, the older brother of Lucas. “We are playing at the highest level now together.”
“We are here everyday together 24/7,” said freshman wide receiver Lucas Flores, the younger brother of Rey. “Sometimes it can be frustrating because he’s my big brother, he gets in your head, but it is a dream come true.”
As for the Thompson brothers, they are ready to begin their last season of college football together with the Miners. Blake, a senior defensive tackle, and Trent, a senior tight end, have spent the last four years together at UTEP and now look forward to one last ride.
“It crazy to know that its the end but you know this can never ever leave us,” said Blake, the older brother of Trent. “We get to spend the rest of the year with each other. It is something that I am going to cherish for the rest of my life.”
“This is going to be special,” said Trent, the younger brother of Blake. “We really don’t like to think about the future too much because when you think of the future you kind of get distracted and we just let God guide our footsteps, so we don’t really want to think too far ahead but we are just going to enjoy this year together.”
As for the Henry brothers, their time at UTEP has been super special because it presented a first. Due to the age difference between Zuri (22 years old) and Azizi (20 years old), they never got the chance to play together on the same team their whole lives until Azizi arrived at UTEP in 2020.
“We never played together before college. We always talked about that it wouldn’t be fair with two Henry brothers on the same defense or offense,” said Zuri. “I don’t say it enough but it really makes me proud that he [Azizi] is here.”
“It is crazy talking about it because I didn’t think we were going to ever play together,” said Azizi. “I never knew because I didn’t even think I was going to play offensive line but it actually happened so it was surprising.”
For the McNamara brothers, football runs in the family. Cade, the oldest brother, is the starting quarterback at Michigan and Kyle, the middle brother, is a UTEP transfer from Western Kentucky. With their knowledge and experience in college football, both Cade and Kyle serve as perfect role models for their youngest brother, Jake.
“I’ll call Cade after camp and we’ll just talk about it and he’ll give me advice,” said Jake. “With Kyle as a receiver, it is like he can give me more advice that Cade can’t in some ways because he’s gone through a different phase in college football. It’s been awesome to hear from both of them and just learn from both of them as well.”
Now even though the eight players are brothers by blood, that doesn’t stop the brotherly bond from growing with the whole team.
“I like it a lot because it adds to the team chemistry,” said Kyle. “We are a family as a whole, like we don’t think of the four sets of brothers, we are all brothers.”