Meet the Walk Ons
After three seasons of UTSA football, we can kinda, sorta, almost start talking about UTSA’s “history” and “tradition” without coming off as completely loony. It’s no secret that UTSA has a strong history of taking relatively unknown walk-on athletes and turning them into important contributors and notable competitors. Some of the most accomplished athletes this program has watched compete include former walk ons: Steven Kurfehs, Codie Brooks, Brandon Freeman. The list is long and impressive. I will always have a soft spot for guys that chose to sacrifice over 40 hours per week to this game without the compensation of financial aid or playing time. Since UTSA is one of the few programs that actually makes it a point to recruit and play walk-on athletes, I figured we should take time out to learn more about each of the new additions to the roster.
Measurables: 6’2”, 180 lbs. 40” vertical
Previous Experience: Goliad HS
Credentials: 15-2A District MVP. 1,460 passing yards, 1,305 rushing yards, 19 TDs. Blue-Grey Football All-American Bowl invitee. Regional qualifier in hurdles and all-district in hoops. 3.75 high school GPA. Built Ford Tough player of the week. Also kicks field goals.
Expectations: With so few quarterbacks on the roster, UTSA was in dire need of a quarterback to come in and run the scout team efficiently. Sturm should be a big addition to the roster in that aspect but with Robinson and Bogenschutz battling for a back-up QB spot and Manny Harris and Jaylon Henderson on the way, don’t expect to see Sturm take many snaps on the field.
Measurables: 5’11”, 195 lbs., 4.85 40 yard dash.
Previous Experience: Brandeis HS
Credentials: 37 catches for 883 yards and 13 TDs in senior season. Unanimous all-district selection.
Expectations: Stephens could be a wild card in the future of the wide receiver rotation. Since I used to live across the street from Brandeis I got to see a lot of Bronco football and always came away most impressed with Stephens. A tough and physical receiver that excels against man coverage, Larry tends to grab footballs that look to be outside of his range upon release. He also does a fine job of tracking balls over his shoulder. With so many senior receivers graduating in 2014 don’t be surprised to see Stephens earn playing time after a redshirt season.
Measurables: 6’1”, 215 lbs., 4.68 40 yard dash.
Previous Experience: Johnson HS (SA)
Credentials: Unanimous first team all-district 26-5A, 133 tackles, two sacks, four forced fumbles, seven TFL in senior season. Helped lead Johnson to 5A state semi-finalist run.
Expectations: Vick is an interesting case, as the staff will attempt to transition him from a prep linebacker to a running back. Anyone who follows the roster carefully should have noticed that UTSA has unsuccessfully attempted to fill that big-body back need in the roster with similar athletes in the past three years with guys like Wesley Greene, George Schwanenberg, and Blake Dean. With Nate Shaw graduating in 2014, the Roadrunners need someone to fill his role desperately. If Vick can learn the position and put in the necessary work in the weight room then he might be able to surpass Treston Coleman for backfield blocking duties in 2015 and beyond.
Measurables: 5’9”, 195 lbs.
Previous Experience: Texas A&M Commerce
Credentials: The undersized but explosive defensive back comes to UTSA from Commerce, where he played against the Roadrunners in 2012. Wheeler played his high school ball alongside Triston Wade and Darrien Starling at John Tyler HS.
Expectations: Wheeler was one of the top surprises of this year’s spring game, as his high-flying coverage in the secondary and four tackles had even the most hardcore of fans searching for a printed roster. While Duke certainly has talent, it may be hard for him to find playing time outside of special teams with so many bodies ahead of him at both safety positions.
Measurables: 6’2”, 215 lbs.
Previous Experience: Cisco JC
Credentials: Played in four games in JUCO, had two tackles.
Expectations: I can’t find much information on Haley. If he manages to crack the rotation at middle line backer it might be the story of the year.
Measurables: 5’10”, 270 lbs.
Previous Experience: Signed with Coastal Carolina out of Sunnyvale HS. Redshirted there for a year before transferring to UTEP and then UTSA.
Credentials: All district in 6-2A. Did not allow a sack in his senior season.
Expectations: Unless there is a serious string of injuries along the offensive line it is hard to imagine Talashek seeing any type of considerable playing time. If the staff elects to keep Cavanaugh at guard in 2015 instead of moving him to center, Talashek may be able to battle with Juan Perez for the right to follow Nate Leonard’s legacy as UTSA’s center.
A UTSA alumnus that has been cast away to Austin, Jared enjoys live music and a craft beer. He thinks four verts is the best play in football but loves a QB sneak on fourth and inches. Twitter