By JJ Perez
UTSA’s offense will usher in a new era, so to speak. For the first time in four years, Jarveon Williams will not be taking handoffs in the back field. Williams’ graduation leaves a significant hole in UTSA’s offense. But the cupboard isn’t bare.
Can Jalen Rhodes fill Jarveon Williams’ shoes?
Losing the program’s all-time leading rusher leaves void in UTSA’s offense. Williams’ on the field production was more than significant. He was a workhorse and a key cog in what UTSA did offensively. Can Junior Jalen Rhodes take over that role on a full-time basis? All indications point to yes. Rhodes has been a consistent contributor over the last two seasons. He even out-produced Williams several times last season. This upcoming 2017 campaign could setup as a break-out season for Rhodes. He has the skill, talent, and experience to excel in UTSA’s offense. And he’s still only a junior. But what about off the field? Williams wasn’t just yards and touchdowns. He was one of the faces of UTSA’s program, and a team leader. Rhodes has shown his maturity and poise throughout his career. For UTSA, they will be counting on him to not only step into Williams’ role on the field, but off the field as well.
Rhodes has suffered his fair share of adversity. But the last two seasons, he’s managed to stay healthy and show he can produce. His potential for 2017 is off the charts. Mark him down has UTSA’s day one starting tailback. He's also likely to emerge as one the team's leaders With a steady demeanor and calmness about him, the adversity he's been through has earned him respect in the locker room. Behind Rhodes where is where it’s a little unclear. There are two backs that will likely see some significant reps this spring. Both Tyrell Clay and Brett Winnegan should see action in the coming weeks. Both have been used sparingly but both have also seen action on special teams. UTSA will have some depth coming in at the tailback position in the offseason. Heralded three-star recruit BJ Daniels from Palm Bay HS in Florida is slated to join the Roadrunners over the summer. The class of 2017 signee has the potential to compete for backup snaps almost immediately. Early last season, UTSA lost fullback Halen Stewart to injury. The other two fullbacks on the roster have graduated. Because the Roadrunner offense ran a significant amount of plays with a fullback last season, it will be important to monitor Stewart’s status this spring.
PROJECTED SPRING DEPTH CHART
TB Starter: Jalen Rhodes
TB Backups: Tyrell Clay, Brett Winnegan
FB Starter: Halen Stewart