There seems to be some concern that UTEP football may have only a dozen or so scholarship openings it can use to recruit new players for 2009. And you need more than THAT to keep a program balanced.
Usually you want to get 25 new guys (freshmen preferred) each recruiting year. Otherwise, you run into seasons LIKE THIS ONE when you have a shortage of veterans and you're heading to a losing season.
Give or take, the roster says there are just more than a dozen seniors these days.
Here are the NCAA rules, culled off a Google search on the Internet: In (Division I-A) Football, teams may provide scholarships to not more than 85 student-athletes, with up to 25 scholarships awarded to incoming student-athletes (e.g., freshmen, transfers, first-time aid recipients).
That means NEVER more than 85, but no more than 25 new guys each year.
That's why when part of an NCAA sanction is loss of scholarships (a la New Mexico), it takes a long time to eventually get back to the full compliment of 85.
Even if UTEP's roster shows it will return about 70 or so guys now on scholarship, that doesn't mean they'll all come back.
Some quit (usually guys who can't play). Some get booted (good riddens). Some flunk out.
Note: If someone is injured severely, they usually keep him on scholarship. It's the right thing to do.
Look for UTEP to find a way to recruit at, or near, the full compliment of 25 new guys so, in the perfect world, it will have a full class of fifth-year seniors five years down the road. It's rare to keep all 25 for five years (which includes a redshirt season). But if you retain 17 or 18 that's pretty good.
Recall Basketball Coach Tony Barbee, after his first year, found a way to get his recruits on the team. He ran off some of the supposed returnees. He found ways.
Hopefully Football Coach Mike Price won't use too many (very few) of his scholarships to get JC transfers (gambles as productive players), or guys who quit other schools (bigger gambles).