EL PASO, Texas / LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -

What a day it is for high school athletes in the El Paso and Las Cruces area! Four borderland football players have signed D-1 letters of intent -- and all-four will be smacking helmets at the Sun Bowl as part of Sean Kugler's first recruiting class at UTEP.

Burges brothers Alvin and Aaron Jones, Franklin's Derek Elmendorff and Andress' Ryan Metz will all play football at UTEP.

In addition, Hanks High School senior (and standout for the El Paso Storm U18 Girls soccer team) Briana Thomas is signing with the UTEP Soccer team!

A few other story lines along the border: Franklin High had five athletes sign letters of intent. Two Cougars will play ball at highly-regarded academic institutions: Devin Houx will go to Air Force and Connor Potts will play in the Ivy League at Harvard.

Also gearing up for the role of student-athlete in the Ivy League: Coronado Senior Nick Annabi, who'll head to Columbia. His teammate Phillip Harris will play at John Hopkins University, another academically-rigorous 4-year-college.

Many El Paso and Las Cruces athletes will keep close to home, staying in the border southwest region. Get this - 7 borderland athletes (and counting) are signing with Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM.

Here is a complete list of borderland youngsters who are signing letters of intent to play college ball:


Aaron Jones - UTEP

Alvin Jones - UTEP


Ryan Metz - UTEP


Derek Elmendorff - UTEP

Devin Houx - Air Force

Connor Potts - Harvard

Vince Garcia - TSU

Jacob Fellows - Colorado Mesa University


Nick Annabi, - Columbia University

Phillip Harris - - Johns Hopkins University


Mario Balderrama - Eastern New Mexico


Gabriel Hernandez - Abilene Christian