By JJ Perez
Last year’s starter, Dalton Sturm, returns for his senior campaign. Coming off a season where he more than held his own, Sturm is the clear-cut starting QB headed into the spring. But one of the biggest questions surrounding the program is who will be the backup? Manny Harris and Jaylon Henderson seem to be next in line. And while there are several other players on the roster at the position, all have little to no game experience.
Is the backup QB on the roster?
We may not be able to answer this question until after workouts conclude. Following last year’s spring, it was apparent that the job was up for grabs. Manny Harris missed the last half of 2016 spring practices with injury while Jaylon Henderson got almost all of the second team reps because UTSA only had three quarterbacks on their roster at the time. It was apparent then that the Roadrunners needed another experienced quarterback. So they went out and found one in graduate transfer Jared Johnson. Headed into this spring, things are a little different. UTSA currently has six QBs on their roster and will have another one join the program over the summer. Despite having quantity, it’s uncertain if the quality depth is there at this position. Outside of Sturm, none of the other QBs have college game-experience. The most experienced, in terms of reps, are Harris and Henderson. Both players dressed and traveled to all of the games last season. Henderson even saw some playing time in a handful of contests on the kickoff coverage team. Harris and/or Henderson are most the likely grab the backup role. True freshman Bryce Rivers, an early enrollee who will participate in workouts this spring, may also have an outside chance at the spot as well. But what does UTSA after spring practices? Head Coach Frank Wilson alluded to the potential of adding players after spring practices during his National Signing Day press conference. But could UTSA add another QB to the roster? Would it be wise for the Roadrunners have eight signal callers on the roster next fall? Or is there a possibility of a position change or attrition?
Depth is always a big concern, at any position. Sturm was good enough to lead UTSA to a bowl appearance last season. However, an argument could be made that without Johnson in the backup role, UTSA’s 2016 season would have not been as successful. This topic will likely garner a lot of attention this spring and beyond. Right now, there are more questions than answers but all of those questions revolve around the players in the backup and reserve roles. It’s important to note that Sturm has been UTSA’s QB1 for more than one calendar year. He held off a heralded graduate transfer last off-season and hung on to the job each and every week. While Sturm’s stats aren’t jaw-dropping, he has more than held his own. The discussion for backup QB may heat up as spring practice go along but it may be a moot point if Sturm plays as steady as he did in 2016.
PROJECTED SPRING DEPTH CHART
Starter: Dalton Sturm
Backup: Manny Harris, Jaylon Henderson
Reserves: Bryce Rivers, Brandon Garza, Clay Roberts