For the first time in a long time, UTSA’s starting offense seems to be pretty well solidified after the first week of fall camp. Typically the defense is the easier unit to predict for UTSA, but roles have been reversed this season.
With a young but talented roster, the Roadrunners have a lot of intriguing athletes that could burst onto the scene this season. Let’s take a look at a few guys that deserve special recognition and observation as the Roadrunners prepare for week one against Incarnate Word. Special thanks goes out to my colleague Joe Broback for the category inspiration.
Breakout Player: DE - Solomon Wise
At 6’4”, 245, Wise certainly passes the eyeball test. He also passes the genetics test. Wise’s father was drafted in the ninth round of the 1988 NFL Draft and has coached football since wrapping up his professional career. Solomon also has a brother on the New England Patriots, and another brother who played on the defensive line at Kansas.
While injuries have prevented Wise from contributing much on the stat sheet so far through his career, Wise is now healthy and stepping into a leadership role on the UTSA defense. The junior should help to bolster UTSA’s pass rush this season.
Comeback Kid: CB - Teddrick McGhee
Another junior who was battled injury through his time at UTSA, McGhee may be the most athletic defensive back in UTSA’s program. McGhee started eight games as a freshman in 2016 and appeared destined to be an all-conference talent. After sitting out the entire 2017 season, McGhee started in three contests last year before injury ripped him off the field once again. If McGhee stays healthy this season then he should return to the form he displayed in his shocking freshman season.
Rising Star: QB - Frank Harris
UTSA hasn’t had a player grab total control of the starting quarterback spot in two years. Frank Harris is changing that. The electric sophomore won the starting job as a freshman last year but knee injuries prevented him from making his debut. By all accounts, Harris has stood apart from the field at quarterback this fall. While Harris may certainly have some growing pains adjusting to the college game, his potential to generate big plays could lead to a huge jump in production from the offense as a whole.
Depth Chart Buster: RB - Sincere McCormick
The 5’9” speedster freshman joined the program in the spring but he’s already looking like a veteran on the field. McCormick brings elite speed and change of direction to the RB unit, and could steal snaps from upperclassmen such as Deven Boston and BJ Daniels. The home town standout rushed for 3,407 yards and 43 touchdowns at the high school level so there’s no doubt he knows how to find the endzone. McCormick has already been spotted taking snaps with what is assumed to be UTSA’s second unit on offense.
Needs to Rebound: TE - Gavin Sharp
Due to a lack of depth at the position, tight end Gavin Sharp was asked to do entirely too much as a true freshman last year. The sophomore wasn’t physically ready to take on 260 pound defensive ends last season, and seemed to struggle with grasping the playbook and picking up the correct blocks. Sharp is up to 250 pounds and has much needed help at the position with Leroy Watson transferring in. If Sharp wants to hold off competition from true freshman Oscar Cardenas, Sharp needs to show improvement over last season in all aspects of the game.
Dark Horse MVP: TE/WR - Carlos Strickland
UTSA’s first true hybrid threat since David Morgan, the Cal/Kansas State transfer is a complete X factor for the offense. Expect UTSA to move Strickland around the line of scrimmage looking for favorable match ups. Strickland’s undergraduate career was hampered by injuries, but the former 4 star recruit is finally fully healthy and turning heads in fall camp. The Roadrunners’ offense was awfully stagnant and predictable last season but Strickland may give the Roadrunners an ace up their sleeve.
Under the Radar: S - Kelechi Nwachuku
The redshirt freshman may not be drawing headlines but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see his name pop up on UTSA’s first depth chart of the fall. Nwachuku has good coverage skills, but his violence through the point of contact makes him so promising. Whether it’s at free safety or strong safety, Nwachuku has the athleticism and instincts to contribute as a freshman. Nwachuku recorded 163 tackles, 2 INTs, 9 pass deflections, 6 TFLs and 2 offensive touchdowns in his senior season of high school.