During a 2018 season replete with change for The University of Texas at El Paso football team, there was one constant – Quardraiz Wadley.
The then-junior running back was a dependable cog in the Miner offense, rushing for 90 or more yards in four games and averaging 5.1 yards per carry for first-year head coach Dana Dimel. In 2019, Wadley hopes to lend consistency to a team eager to find its footing and build on the modest success it experienced last season. But while the senior said familiarity will help lift the Miners this year, he hopes to venture into uncharted territory.
“My goals for this year are to rush for at least 1,000 yards,” Wadley said, and, without skipping a beat, “to reach a bowl game, because I’ve never been to one.”
While this may seem like a tall task for a team coming off a one-win campaign, Wadley said there is reason for optimism. The Miners have been bolstered by a full year of work under the new coaching staff. Proficiency is building, confidence abounds and, Wadley said, there is reason for fans to be excited, particularly about an offense featuring him and several returning starters.
“Fans can expect to see a lot more grit and determination to win,” Wadley said. “We’re trying to change the culture around here. They should come out and see the show and see everything change.”
The native of Kennedale, Texas, who was named Class 4A Player of the Year in 2015, said he is embracing his emergence as a leader. Wadley started 10 games last season and is the elder statesman in a stable of talented young running backs, including El Paso product Deion Hankins from Parkland High School. Having that abundance of talent around him is a motivating force for Wadley.
“My relationship with the other running backs is pretty good. We’re like a family, a little brotherhood,” Wadley said. “They all look up to me. They look to me for advice. I’m here to help them just as much as they’re here to help me.” - Pablo Villa