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Five Years Later: UTSA’s Massive 2015 Recruiting Class

UTSA signed 37 players in their 2015 class. How many of them made a lasting impact at UTSA?

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 05 UTSA at Middle Tennessee Photo by Thomas McEwen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With 37 athletes signing to the program, UTSA’s 2015 recruiting class was one of the largest in modern FBS history. As UTSA’s first group of high school recruits graduated in 2014, the Roadrunners faced the arduous task of “re-setting” their scholarship allotments to try to get to a normal distribution of scholarships across under and upperclassmen.

Given the circumstances, former Head Coach Larry Coker did a solid job of shoring up UTSA’s roster with this crazy class. While about 40% of the class didn’t make much of an impact on the field, that’s to be expected with such a large class. Coker’s final recruiting class included one of UTSA’s best recruiting finds in Josiah Tauaefa. This class was largely responsible for guiding UTSA to its first-ever bowl game, for which Coker deserves credit.

The Roadrunners were hit hard with injury in this class, as several athletes missed years of their career or had to give up football prematurely.

In retrospect, it’s easy to see why the Roadrunners struggled so heavily on offense over the past few years. Not a single athlete in this class was a major standout on offense, and not a single high school offensive lineman or quarterback saw notable playing time over the past five years.


Standouts

Carl Austin III (S) - 6’1”, 180

I listed Austin as a contributor in my 2014 recruiting class review, as I had thought he had exhausted his eligibility. Austin was granted a medical redshirt, and turned in his best season yet as a redshirt senior. Austin started 20 games at UTSA and improved with each season, becoming a leader on the defense.

Baylen Baker (DT) - 6’5”, 260

My analysis of Baker when he signed with UTSA — Baker played tight end and defensive end at the prep level but will move inside in college. A huge guy with an athletic frame, Baker looks like he could carry 30 more pounds easily. One of my favorite recruits in this class. Check, check, check! Baker was a menacing run-stuffer for UTSA, playing at a stout 295 pounds over four seasons.

La’Kel Bass (LB) - 6’1”, 230

Bass will likely go down as one of UTSA’s most underrated players of all time. Josiah Tauaefa drew all the headlines and scouts during his time at UTSA, but Bass may be the Roadrunners’ second best linebacker of all time. Bass totaled 155 tackles, 18.5 TFLs, 7 sacks, and four fumble recoveries over just two seasons.

C.J. Levine (DB) - 6’0”, 190

With 181 tackles, two interceptions, and 8 TFLs to his name, Levine enjoyed a productive career at UTSA. Levine started 24 games and played considerably in almost all of his games at UTSA. He brought great game speed to the secondary, providing excellent coverage at various positions in the secondary.

Josiah Tauaefa (DE) - 6’2”, 245

Might be worth mentioning this guy, huh? Larry Coker redshirted Tauaefa which proved to be a great gift to Frank Wilson. Upon arriving at UTSA, Wilson immediately moved Tauaefa to middle linebacker, a position change which allowed Tauaefa to become a sensation over night. His accolades include Freshman All-American, C-USA Freshman of the Year, Semi-finalist for the Butkus Award, and UTSA’s first athlete to ever leave the team early for the NFL. Tauaefa has carved out playing time with the New York Giants at the next level.


Contributors

Gabe Casillas (OT) - 6’5”, 280

While Casillas played just seven snaps as a junior, he was a crucial piece along the offensive line in his senior season as a steady starter at right tackle. A JUCO transfer, Casillas provided some greatly-needed depth and maturity upfront.

Daryl Godfrey (S) - 6’1”, 185

Godfrey may not have developed into a star at UTSA, but he was very dependable. Godfrey played in 46 games as a Roadrunner, drawing 16 starts. Godfrey took a big step forward as a senior, collecting 80 tackles. A redshirt in his freshman year likely would have served Godfrey well.

Matt Guidry (WR) - 5’10”, 170

It’s unfortunate that Guidry never carved out more of a role as an offensive playmaker, but Guidry was one of the most successful kick returners in Conference USA through his time at UTSA. Guidry returned 44 kicks for UTSA over three seasons, with a solid average of 23.5 yards per return, including longs of 57, 44, and 40 yards. A terrible knee injury ended his career earlier than expected.

DeQuarius Henry (DE) - 6’4”, 220

The only player from this class still playing at UTSA, Henry must be a PhD candidate by now. Henry has already had a great impact on the program thanks to his pass rushing ability. Henry should be able to build on his 9 career sacks following a move to linebacker this season. If so he’ll likely end up in the “Standouts” section.

Ben Kane (DE) - 6’4”, 240

Kane was never a game changer for UTSA, but he did provide good depth along the defensive line as expected. He finished his career at UTSA with 53 tackles and two sacks.

Vontrell King-Williams (DT) - 6’1”, 325

With just 17 tackles to his name, King-Williams’ production doesn’t jump off the stat sheet but his presence up the middle was key to UTSA slowing down the run. King-Williams’ ability to command double teams and keep blockers off the second level played a major role in Tauaefa and Bass setting program records at linebacker.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 13 Louisiana Tech at UTSA
Andrew Martel played a crucial role in his senior season as he moved into the tackle box from safety to fill a huge gap in the roster.
Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Andrew Martel (SS/LB) - 6’1”, 195

After starting his collegiate career as a special teams standout, Martel played in 22 games as a safety before becoming a starting linebacker in his senior season. While the move to linebacker was a difficult one, Martel did a tremendous job filling in due to UTSA’s poor recruiting at the linebacker position. Martel finished his career with 161 tackles, 4 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and four fumble recoveries.

Blaze Moorhead (WR) - 6’0”, 175

The former greyshirt greatly surpassed expectations through his time at UTSA. After not playing for two years, Moorhead carved out playing time as a redshirt sophomore and even drew a surprised start against UTEP. Moorhead would go on to contribute a total of 371 receiving yards and two touchdowns through his time at UTSA.

King Newton (DT) - 6’1”, 260

Had it not been for a string of injuries in his junior and senior seasons, Newton definitely would have landed on the “Standouts” list. Newton brought quickness and penetration ability to the defensive line, even drawing a start in his redshirt freshman season. Despite playing just 13 games over his last two seasons, Newton still totaled 77 tackles, 9.5 TFL, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.

Halen Steward (FB) - 5’10”, 255

Steward’s career was plagued by injury, but when he was on the field he made the Roadrunners’ offense better with every snap thanks to his blocking ability.

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 10 Louisiana Tech at UTSA
JaBrayce Taylor finds the endzone against Louisiana Tech
Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

JaBryce Taylor (WR) - 6’2”, 215

With eight starts across two seasons, Taylor provided instant production as a JUCO transfer. At times Taylor was UTSA’s featured receiver, making a few highlight catches. He finished his career with 354 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

Jonathan Tuiolosega (DT) - 6’1”, 290

A JUCO transfer, Tuiolosega made the most of his two years on campus. A part-time starter, Tuiolosega was disruptive in the backfield, totaling 50 tackles and 5 TFL over 25 games.

Shaq Williams (TE) - 6’6”, 250

Another JUCO transfer, Williams brought greatly-needed depth to Frank Wilson’s pro-style offense. Williams started 12 games over two seasons and was known to create some big plays in the passing game. He hauled in 19 catches for 241 yards and four touchdowns as a Roadrunner.

Brett Winnegan (RB) - 5’9”, 175

Like Matt Guidry, Winnegan was another speed demon which Frank Wilson never found a good spot for in his offense. Winnegan’s career was also heavily impeded by several injuries. Despite the obstacles, Winnegan still managed to break several school records in the return game and recorded a 71 yard rushing touchdown against Texas State as a junior.


Non-contributors and Transfers

Jess Anders (RB) - 5’9”, 175

Was a major addition to the recruiting class, however medical issues prevented Anders from ever seeing the field at UTSA.

Shane Block (OT) - 6’5”, 275

Never saw the field at UTSA, transferred out of the program.

Jacolbie Butler (CB) - 5’9”, 175

Drew one start at UTSA, but played sparingly after that. Transferred to Sam Houston State to finish his career. Played at running back his senior season at SHSU and rushed for 54 yards.

Dannon Cavil (WR) - 6’4”, 215

I still struggle to understand how Cavil never made much of an impact at UTSA. Landing his transfer from Oklahoma felt like a milestone for the Roadrunners, however Cavil caught just four passes for 45 yards over two seasons.

Derrick Dick (WR) - 5’10”, 175

Dick returned kickoffs for UTSA as a freshman, but he transferred to Sam Houston State as a sophomore. While injury cut his collegiate career short, Dick did show his potential in 2016 as he totaled 220 receiving yards and two touchdowns for the Bearkats.

Peyton Hall (WR) - 6’0”, 180

The Brandeis product recorded just 10 yards of total offense over four years, but did see some action on special teams.

Manny Harris (QB) - 5’11”, 230

After shattering Robert Griffin III’s high school passing records, Harris arrived to high expectations at UTSA. Harris struggled with injuries and fell behind Dalton Sturm and Bryce Rivers in the depth chart. Harris transferred around to a few smaller programs after his time at UTSA.

Mountain West Championship - Hawaii v Boise State
Jaylon Henderson went on to see stirring success at Boise State following his transfer from UTSA.
Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

Jaylon Henderson (QB) - 6’2”, 200

Appeared in four games as a redshirt freshman before transferring to a JUCO program. From there Henderson signed with Boise State where he would settle in as the Bronco’s backup quarterback. Henderson became a hero in Boise after leading the Broncos to a Mountain West championship in 2019. Henderson was named the Offensive MVP of that game, and passed for over 1,000 yards with a 62% completion rate and 12 touchdowns through his senior season.

Avery Jackson (CB) - 5’8”, 175

Jackson’s playing time was limited to special teams, mostly punt coverage. Jackson transferred out of the program after the 2018 season.

JaCorie Jones (CB) - 5’10”, 175

Jones was dismissed from the program after being arrested on revenge porn charges.

T.J. King (DE/TE) - 6’4”, 225

It was a wild and turbulent college career for King. After flipping between Louisiana Tech and UTSA several times over his recruitment, King played limited snaps as a defensive end at UTSA as a freshman. King then played a year at Kilgore College, before returning to UTSA to play tight end for Frank Wilson. King caught one pass at tight end in 2018.

Zach Pare (OL) - 6’6”, 275

Never made an impact at UTSA outside of blocking on the field goal unit. Left the program after his redshirt freshman season.

Alex Snow (OL) - 6’3”, 290

Never saw serious playing time but remained with the team through graduation.

Corbin White (RB) - 5’11”, 225

Played sparingly, totaling just 24 rushing yards on 8 carries.

Clayton Woods (OL) - 6’3”, 280

Despite starting two games as a true freshman in 2015, Woods still ended up at a JUCO program before eventually transferring to Oklahoma where he would see snaps in 14 games as a senior.

Greyshirts addressed in 2014 recruiting class recap - Joseph Brooks, Isaiah Santos, Kelby Wickline