After a long fall camp that offered few leaks or distinct details, UTSA fans can start to develop some real expectations for the team now that a depth chart has been released by the athletics department ahead of the Roadrunners’ week one match up with Alabama State.
The Kids Are Ready to Play
Long-time readers may have grown tired of my continuous praise of redshirt freshmen Baylen Baker (defensive tackle) and Josiah Tauaefa (linebacker) but my hype for them has been cashed in. Both are starting in their first games at the collegiate level. Baker beat out a senior and former Illinois signee in Vontrell King-Williams while Tauaefa beat out a redshirt junior transfer in La’Kel Bass. True freshman Teddrick McGhee also found a spot on the two deep, beating out a handful of experienced guys.
Big Changes on the Offensive Line
While UTSA returns four starters on the offensive line only one of them will be playing at the same position as last season. LSU transfer Jevonte Domond took claim of the left tackle spot, causing a trickle down effect. The line now reads Domond, Austin Pratt, Juan Perez-Isidoro, Kyle McKinney, Reed Darragh from left to right.
Interestingly enough, two true freshmen worked their way on to the second unit with Zach Pare claiming back up left tackle duties and Alex Snow working behind Perez-Isidoro at center. Optimistically, the freshmen are outright better than the rest of the roster and are the rare prospects that can play on the offensive line as freshmen. Pessimistically, it’s a negative reflection of the upper classmen on the roster or is due to some unannounced injuries.
Transfers Making an Impact
Taking transfers is always a crap shoot in college football. It’s hard to pick out guys that just need new scenery and an opportunity to reach their potential. Others just aren’t as good as they were in high school. It looks like UTSA has hit on most of their several transfers this season.
Jevonte Domond solidifying the left tackle position is obviously huge. Fellow LSU transfers Ronnie Fiest and Jordan Moore have also claimed starting spots at Will linebacker and Ram strong safety positions, respectively. Moore stepping right in to a starting position was a jaw-dropper for me. A gifted athlete and SEC hurdling champion, Moore hasn’t played a snap of football in two years and was a wide receiver when he was at TCU.
Junior transfers are finding playing time as well with Marquez McNair listed as the starting slot receiver and Devron Davis as back up left corner back.
Starting Quarterback Still Under Wraps
As expected, UTSA still hasn’t named a starting quarterback. I’m not expecting Wilson to publicly declare his starter under center until Friday or Saturday to maintain some type of a strategic advantage.
That being said, all signs point to returning starter Dalton Sturm being the man to take the first snaps. The media caught a glimpse of him taking all first team snaps last week and he’s listed first on the depth chart, albeit with an “OR” listed next to Jared Johnson below him.
In all likelihood both guys will play against Alabama State and whoever performs the most efficiently will get the nod against Colorado State in week two.
- Josh Stewart, brother of starting Z wide receiver Kerry Thomas, has found his way onto the depth chart at X receiver. Stewart was placed on scholarship this weekend. Major congratulations goes out to him. His 6’4” frame will be useful in the blocking game and on deep passing plays.
- UTSA’s defense is listed as a 4-2-5 but the positions on the depth chart are listed as left end, right end, defensive tackle, and Sam defensive end. This seems to either be a hint at a truly multiple defense or the “4-2-5” is an unintended leftover from last year’s depth chart template. If UTSA does expand to a four man line I’d expect Kevin Strong to drop down to a typical defensive tackle position.
- It’s nice to see Greg Campbell and Chase Dahlquist on the two deep again. Campbell has struggled with injury and inconsistency while Dahlquist has suffered through a few concussions. Both guys are really talented and I hope they can put it together this season.
- JaBryce Taylor will return punts and Brett Winnegan and Jordan Moore will split kick return duties. I’m willing to bet this athletic group will give UTSA its first return touchdown since Kenny Harrison’s famous punt return against Texas State in 2012.
- Daniel Portillo successfully defended his kicking duties after a position battle. Yannis Routsas will be punting again this season. Roustas was placed on scholarship this weekend as well.