By JJ Perez
Many teams across the country are phasing out the use of tight ends in their offense. But not UTSA. The Roadrunners signed three tight ends in their 2017 recruiting class because, as Head Coach Frank Wilson said, “We use our tight ends.” Currently there are just three scholarship players on the roster for this position headed into spring. Gone to graduation is the ever-reliable Trevor Stevens. The answer to the question of who takes his place is a significant storyline to monitor this spring.
Who fills the blocking role departed by Stevens?
When Trevor Stevens found the endzone in the New Mexico Bowl, that was his first-career touchdown. That pass reception was one of only a handful of catches he made in his time as a Roadrunner. But what Stevens did very well in his career was block. In the run-game and the pass-game, Stevens was as consistent of blocker of anyone on last season’s team. David Morgan will always be remembered by UTSA faithful for his acrobatic catches and record-breaking stats. But what got him drafted in the NFL was his blocking ability. UTSA has had a long line of tight ends that have been very good run- and pass-blockers. Who will emerge as UTSA’s leading tight end in 2017? Headed into these spring practices, it seems like the job is up for grabs.
Shaq Williams had a decent first season as a Roadrunner. He started three games, saw action in all 12 games, and showed his playmaking abilities in the passing game. But if there was one area Williams lacked in, that was his blocking. At 6’4” and 235lbs, the Mississippi-native has the frame to improve this facet of his game. In the offseason, UTSA added California Juco Robert Ursua as an early transfer. At 6’3” and 230lbs, Ursua appears to be a natural fit into UTSA’s offense. We’ll likely see a strong battle for the starting role between Williams and Ursua. The only other scholarship player on the roster this spring will be redshirt freshman Jack Giblin. He’ll likely play a reserve role. UTSA signed two other tight ends as part of the 2017 recruiting class. But both those players won’t arrive until the summer.
PROJECTED SPRING DEPTH CHART
TE Starter: Shaq Williams
TE Backup: Robert Ursua
Other Reserves: Jack Giblin, Seth Damrow