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UTSA Roadrunners sign 15 athletes on the first day of early signing period

Highlighted by size and speed in the front seven, the Roadrunners went heavy on transfers due to Covid-19 impacting high school evaluations.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 UTEP at UTSA Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor raced out to a fast start in his second recruiting class in San Antonio, racking up commitments very early in the cycle. Today marked the first step in solidifying those early recruiting results, as 15 student athletes submitted National Letters of Intent to join the Roadrunners’ program.

The class features six transfers from Power 5 programs and junior colleges. Jeff Traylor made a deliberate effort to steer away from taking too many high school athletes as the Covid-19 pandemic prevented college coaches from visiting high schools and seeing their prospects in person to verify height and weight. Traylor detailed his thought process in the video below.

Of the 15 athletes to sign with UTSA, 10 of them hail from the Lone Star State, with three residing in San Antonio and two in the Rio Grande Valley. All of UTSA’s signees from the high school level are Texans.

14 of the 15 signees are rated as 3-star prospects, as UTSA currently stands at second place in the 24/7 recruiting composite rankings for Conference USA.

The Roadrunners also have commitments from four players who are still expected to sign with UTSA, although at a later date.

Let’s take a quick look at each recruit who put pen to paper on day one of the early signing period.

Kevorian Barnes - RB (5’10”, 185)

San Augustine HS

While undersized, Barnes has great speed and the ability to cut on a dime. Best fit for a zone blocking scheme. Could be a good change of pace back for UTSA early in his career.

Clifford Chattman - DB (6’3”, 195)

Texas A&M/McDonogh 35 HS (LA)

A Texas A&M graduate transfer, Chattman should start immediately on the Roadrunners’ defense at the Sam outside linebacker spot. With impressive length and coverage skills, Chattman was a starter at A&M when he wasn’t injured.

Nick Evans - OLB (6’5”, 270)

Monroe JC (NY)/Attleboro HS (MA)

UTSA is looking for an elite pass rusher and Evans might just be the answer. A signing day surprise, Evans is extremely explosive and has the wing spread to create separation in his pass rush.

Ronnie Garza - OL (6’6”, 295)

Edinburg Vela HS

The top offensive lineman in the Rio Grande Valley, Garza has the potential to be a pillar of the offensive line in the future. Surprisingly nimble for his size, Garza could easily play at 310 pounds without losing a step.

River Gordon - OL (6’4”, 315)

Mansfield HS

Gordon showed impressive growth from his junior to senior season as his raw strength began to translate to pancake blocks and knock downs. Played center at the high school level.

Caden Holt - LB (6’2”, 220)

New Braunfels Canyon HS

A thumper of a middle linebacker, Holt will enroll early at UTSA to get a jump start on learning the Roadrunners’ defensive system. Does a good job of getting off blocks with force.

JaCorey Hyder - LB (6’3”, 240)

Woodville HS

One of the more intriguing athletes in the class, Hyder played a lot of wide receiver for Woodville this season. His unique combination of size and speed provides him with a really high ceiling.

Malik Jones - DB (6’3”, 190)

Mississippi Gulf Coast CC

A junior college transfer with three seasons of eligibility remaining, Jones was named a first team All-American by JC Gridiron. Great length in pass coverage.

Luke Lapeze - OL (6’5”, 280)

Summer Creek HS

Played all three positions on the offensive line at Summer Creek as a three year starter. Will need to add weight to fit into his likely collegiate position of offensive guard.

Eddie Lee Marburger - QB (6’3”, 205)

Sharyland Pioneer HS

The all-time leader in touchdown passes in the Rio Grande Valley (88), Marburger has lit up the stat sheet throughout his high school career. He’s a dual-threat athlete with a strong arm and good field vision.

Noah Mitchell - LB (6’2”, 220)

Pearl River CC (MS)

One of the crown jewels for the class, Mitchell was also named a JUCO All-American by JC Gridiron. Mitchell fills a critical hole in the Roadrunners’ roster and will factor into the equation at middle linebacker immediately. Excellent speed and instincts, as well as sound tackling technique.

Jalen Rainey - DB (6’4”, 190)

Brandeis HS

Rainey has everything you like to see from a high school defensive back. His size allows him to blanket receivers, yet he has the physicality to make plays inside the tackle box. Expect him to play as a freshman.

Kamron Scott - OL (6’4”, 320)

Converse Judson HS

A powerful blocker, Scott will most likely move from tackle to guard at the next level. If he can clean up his footwork and technique he could be a potential all-conference performer in Conference USA.

Ron Tatum III - DL (6’5”, 265)

Northeastern Oklahoma JC

Tatum signed with Oklahoma as a four star recruit but transferred to a junior college after redshirting his first season as a Sooner. With NFL size at defensive end, Tatum is masterful in defending the run. Will provide an immediate impact to an already stacked defensive line.

Ronald Triplette - DL (6’2”, 265)

Kansas State

Another Power 5 transfer, Triplette will be immediately eligible at UTSA despite still having four seasons to play for the Roadrunners. Triplette has an active motor and shows a keen ability to shed blockers with his hands at the line of scrimmage.