Fall Camp Preview: Corner Backs
Replacing one starter in any unit is always tough. But for UTSA’s cornerbacks in 2016, the task is even more challenging as they are replacing both starters from last season. Headed in fall practices, the cornerback position has a lot to prove. Can they fill the role vacated by two senior starters?
- Bennett Okotcha: Graduated. A three-year starter that earned All-CUSA honors. Following the 2016 NFL draft, Okotcha was signed by the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent.
- Trevor Baker: Graduated. As a former Juco transfer from California, Baker was a key contributor to the defense during his two years at UTSA. He was the primary starting CB opposite of Okotcha in 2015.
- N’Keal Bailey: A returning reserve player, Bailey played in eight games last season but did not record any stats. Played well this past spring. He is listed as the starting LCB.
- Stanley Dye: The Flordia-native saw action in all 12 games last season in a reserve role. Played as a true freshman in 2014 but suffered a season-ending injury in the season-opening game and was granted a medial redshirt. He is considered one of the faster players on the roster. Dye is listed as a backup CB.
- Aneas Henricks: From Bastrop, Texas, Henricks used a strong spring to earn the starting right corner back position. He started four games in 2015 and made several notable plays. He is the most experienced CB on the roster in terms of games started.
- JaColbie Butler: As a true freshman, Butler saw some considerable action in the final eight games of the 2015 season. His only start of the season came vs Charlotte. He is listed as a backup CB but could be one to watch.
- Devron Davis: A three-star Juco transfer from Merced JC (California), Davis comes to UTSA as a late addition to the 2016 recruiting class.
- Teddrick McGhee: Comes to UTSA from Memphis, Tennessee as part of the 2016 recruiting class.
- Avery Jackson: A former quarterback that was a greyshirt signee to the 2015 recruiting class.
- Carrington Kearney: Another quarterback that comes to UTSA as part of the 2016 recruiting class. Is a candidate to redshirt.
- Devin Allen: A walk-on from Austin, Texas.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Devron Davis and JaColbie Butler. One of the major storylines of 2016 will be how UTSA replaces two starting cornerbacks that graduated. The addition of Davis should help with that. At 6’0” and 210lbs, he brings instant talent and depth to the roster. Originally committed to Colorado State, Davis asked for (and was granted) a release from his letter of intent citing reasons relating to his family. Davis is not listed on the post-spring depth chart. But he was added after that was released. So it’s certainly reasonable to expect that he will factor in for playing time. As a true freshman last season, Butler was thrown into the fire and responded well. It’s even more impressive that Butler was a running back in high school before transitioning to corner last year. His continued development in his sophomore season will certainly be something to watch.
Experience. There just isn’t a lot on the roster. Of the four returning players, only two have started a game: Aneas Henricks with four starts and JaColbie Butler with one start. Dye, Bailey and Butler have all logged some time, but each in limited roles. How this group performs when these players transition from backups and reserves to every-down players will be critical.
KEY TO SUCCESS
Mature quickly. Nothing replaces game intensity and speed. Whoever ends up being the main contributors at corner backup will need to jump head first into the challenge because you can almost guarantee that every opposing offense will be out to test UTSA’s unproven cornerbacks. The success of the unit relies simply on these players limiting their mistakes while gaining their experience on the fly.
Starting LCB: N’Keal Bailey
Backup LCB: Stanley Dye
Starting RCB: Aneas Henricks
Backup RCB: JaColbie Butler