The UTSA football team has a tall order facing them as they are begin the 2018 season. For the past three years, Dalton Sturm helmed of the ship for this rising Conference USA team. Sturm is gone now and the Roadrunners must find a new captain to push the program forward. The success of the season depends on the Roadrunners ability to fill the massive gap left by Sturm’s departure.
UTSA In The Post Dalton Sturm Era
Sturm took over as the starting quarterback ten games into the 2015 season. He posted a lackluster stat line of 1,354 yards and ten touchdowns and completed 59 percent of his passes for the remainder of the season. Last season, as a senior, Sturm had 2,185 passing yards with 15 touchdowns and a PER (passer efficiency rating) of 137.4. That’s in addition to 545 yards on the ground on 120 carries. Sturm had two touchdowns on the ground as well.
Sturm’s impact went beyond his numbers. He was a tough quarterback and served as a leader on in the Roadrunners locker room.
The new face of the offense is still unclear leaving head coach Frank Wilson with a difficult decision ahead of him for week one.
While Sturm’s departure left a hole at quarterback, Wilson has some options. The four players considered for the quarterback position at the end of spring camp were Bryce Rivers, Sturm’s backup from the previous year, JUCO transfer Cordale Grundy, senior transfer D.J. Gillins, and freshman Jordan Weeks.
Unfortunately, as spring camp was coming to a close, the electric and agile dual-threat freshman quarterback Frank Harris once again torn the ACL in his right knee. This is the the second time in his career he’s suffered this injury. Harris was once thought to be a serious contender for the starting role. However, his injury will likely leave him out for the entire year. Wilson is still optimistic for the future of the young star in the making and believes he will once again battle for the starting spot.
The Emerging Favorites at Spring Training
Grundy and Rivers appeared to be the favorites at the end of spring camp. They’ve both made a solid case for the starter’s role; it’ll likely come down to the last week of camp. Rivers struggled in the few snaps he played in last season, but the sophomore gained invaluable experience backing up Sturm. This kind of exposure to premier talent can only be beneficial to the local player out of Stevens High School in San Antonio.
I would like to thank the Dallas Cowboys organization for the opportunity they gave me. I made great friends throughout this journey and learned a ton from all the veterans. This is far from the end of of my football career, and I look forward to new opportunities. #NeverGiveUp
— Dalton Sturm (@dalton_sturm) August 21, 2018
As for Grundy, he will be looking to make his first appearance in Division 1 football as a transfer from the junior college ranks. He has a lot to prove to earn the starter’s role. This leaves little room for error and Grundy to bring his best game every practice. It can be done, though. Last year, Grundy led Northeast Oklahoma to the Midwest Classic Bowl. The tougher competition will pose a challenge to the new transfer.
The Start of the Season
Fall Camp brought more developments to the quarterback battle.
The New Option
Adding his name to the competition is senior D.J. Gillins, a recent transfer from Southern Methodist University. Gillins struggled to get any meaningful snaps at SMU. However, the coaches at UTSA saw the potential in the senior and believe he could be a valuable piece to the inexperienced offense. As of now, the two transfers are sharing snaps and fighting for more reps as the season nears its opening.
As the season draws near, Grundy and Gillins seem to be battling for the chance to replace Sturm as the Roadrunners signal caller. Grundy is capable both in the air and on the ground, making him an electric player for this offense. That’ll be a similar role that Sturm provided for the UTSA offense.
For the time being, Rivers is left out of the battle as the transfers have taken over. But his experience in the program might prove to be something the Roadrunners coaches want to leverage. He could also provide some of the leadership that departed with Sturm
UTSA will open their season on September 1st against the Arizona State Sun Devils. Whoever starts under center, they’ll have some big shoes to fill. Roadrunners fans have grown accustomed to seeing Sturm under center in San Antonio. It’s a new year, and a new era, for UTSA.
All stats were compiled from https://goutsa.com/roster.aspx?path=football