Post-Spring Depth Chart Notes & Thoughts:
QB Job Up For Grabs: UTSA lists four quarterbacks on their post-spring two-deep depth chart. This is new head coach Frank Wilson’s first depth chart. Wilson stated several times through the course of spring practices that he likes to think of the depth chart etched in sand. So when the QB position is led by Dalton Sturm with an “or” designation with Jared Johnson followed up by Manny Harris and Jaylon Henderson, it sends a message that the starting job is open for competition. The general consensus coming out spring practices is that Sturm, the former walk-on, had showed improvement but not enough to warrant him being named the full-time starter. Graduate transfer Jared Johnson arrives in San Antonio at the end of the month to begin taking summer classes. While there won’t be any official practices to participate in, the offseason workouts this summer will be important in his development as a potential contributor. Redshirt freshman Jaylon Henderson led the blue team to a come from behind win in the spring game while Manny Harris missed most of spring with an ankle injury.
Boost Along The O-Line: Graduate Transfer Jevonte Domond is listed as the starting right tackle. That’s an upgrade at that position. The other starters (right to left) are Kyle McKinney (RG), Juan Perez-Isidoro (C), Austin Pratt (LG), and Reed Darragh. Reserves Stefan Beard, Clayton Woods, and Gabriel Casillas all had decent springs and should factor in sometime in the coming season. The o-line appears to have some depth to it.
Searching at TE: The graduation of David Morgan leaves big shoes to fill for UTSA’s offense. It’s no surprise that Senior Trevor Stevens looks like he’ll have the first shot to step up. Stevens, known for being a very good blocker, had a very good spring. On his heels is Shaq Williams, a real physical type of TE that hand a decent spring, and Graduate Transfer Jordan Jones. Whoever steps up as the entrenched starter may be a moot point as it seems like UTSA will continue to use several tight ends in their multiple offense formations.
No Questions at RB: Senior Jarveon Williams is a proven commidotity coming off his record-setting season in 2015. Sophomore Jalen Rhodes, listed as the backup tailback, appears to be his heir apparent.
Stacked at WR: There is no shortage of talent on UTSA’s roster at the Wide Receiver position. The starting trio of JaBryce Taylor, Kerry Thomas, and Marquez McNair have the potential to be the best in CUSA, let alone the most talented group UTSA has seen. Add former Oklahoma Sooner Dannon Cavil to the mix and you will be troubled to find a deeper, more talented position on the roster.
4-2-5 Base Defense But: Coach Wilson was matter of fact about it during the spring that the defense they’ve inherited is a 4-2-5 base. But he also said that we would see some 3-4 alignments and this defensive depth chart looks like that’s the way things are leaning. Two former defensive tackles (Kevin Strong and Jonathan Tuiolosega) are listed as the starters at defensive end. Marcus Davenport and Romario Napoles are listed as “Sam DE.” That position could essentially turn into a weakside hybrid position where the player could start from an upright stance.
Freshman Impact: After very good spring practices, it no surprise to see redshirt freshmen Baylen Baker and Josiah Tauaefa ascend the ranks. Baker is listed as starting DT while Tauaefa is listed as starting Mike LB. It will be interesting to see if both can hold on to the starting roles. Each have the potential to become all-conference type of players down the road, but each have experienced players on their heels.
Shake Up at Strong Safety: What was formerly Rover Strong Safety appears to now be called Lion SS. And what was formerly Dawg Strong Safety is called Ram SS. Senior Michael Egwuagu is listed as the starter at Lion with Junior Chase Dahlquist listed as the starter at Ram. Both players have skillsets that complement each other. It should be fun to watch the duo on the field at the same time. Don’t sleep on either of their backups as well. CJ Levine and Justin Chavez are both coming off decent springs and could make a push for playing time.
Gaines Poised for Big Season: Junior Nate Gaines is listed as starting Free Safety. The Mesquite-native missed all of spring with an unspecified injury. However, known as a tough/physical player, Gaines is proven commodity in UTSA’s defensive backfield. Furthermore, if Gaines is healthy, he is poised for a break-out season that could see him earn all-conference honors.
Battle at the Corners: N’Keal Bailey and Aneas Henricks are listed as starting left and right corner backs, respectively. But I’m not too sure that’s a battle that won't go on through the season. JaColbie Butler had a good spring and could push for playing time. Stanley Dye, who missed all of the spring with an unspecified injury, has a lot of speed and talent at the position.
Special Teams: No surprises, Daniel Portillo is listed as the kick off and field goal/pat specialist while Yanni Roustas is the punter. There’s not a lot of depth in the kicking game so we’ll see have that unit improves. In the return game, it will be a steady dose of Derrick Dick and Brett Winnegan.