12 football seniors return for additional season

B.J. Daniels surveys the field during a game against Army last year. Daniels will exercise his extra year of eligibility and return to the ‘Runners after rushing for 129 yards last season.

Eddie Sanchez, Staff Writer

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an extra year of eligibility for fall student athletes. Typically, a student athlete would have five years to play four years of their selected sport. While that may sound very confusing, it is quite simple. Instead of five years, the NCAA has extended eligibility to six years of possible play.  

The original excitement and thrilling feelings of playing football were taken away from these students because the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many protocols to create a safe season. Fortunately, this approval from the NCAA will grant these senior players the opportunity to return after a successful football season and complete their “super” senior season. While there is not much anyone can control during these confusing times, at least these students can look forward to building off of last season, which was one for the ages as the ‘Runners reached certain expectations they have not met in years. 

Of the 12 students returning for their “super” senior season, there are five offensive players, six defensive players, and perhaps most notably, a special teams kicker.  These ‘Runners are: safety Antonio Parks; running back B.J. Daniels; linebackers Charles Wiley, Clarence Hicks and DeQuarius Henry; tight ends Leroy Watson and Myles Benning; defensive linemen Jaylon Haynes and Lorenzo Dantzler; offensive linemen Jalyn Galmore and Dominic Pastucci; and place-kicker Hunter Duplessis.

No other player on the entire roster scored more than Duplessis last season. The senior accumulated 91 total points off his right leg while doing so efficiently. His field goal percentage was 85%, 17-20, and he did not miss anything within forty yards all year. His accurate game even became nationally recognized and received All-American honorable mentions. The ‘Runners’ will surely be delighted Duplessis will return kicking for them.

The returning offensive and defensive players bring great depth to the team. Galmore and Pastucci will look to open more holes for Sincere McCormick and buy more time for quarterback Frank Harris. Tight ends Watson and Benning will expect to get more involved.  Daniels may find it tough to get many touches behind second-team all-American teammate McCormick. However, Daniels may have some opportunities as a change of pace back operating alongside McCormick. Linebackers Hicks, Wiley and Henry combined for 111 tackles last season. Parks had one interception and 50 total tackles. Lastly, the defensive linemen Dantzler and Haynes combined for five total sacks on the season. They must increase their pressure on the quarterback, and with the extra year, it is very likely they will do so. 

With UTSA football coming off a playoff appearance, there will be multiple All-American players on the roster. Jeff Traylor’s era is looking extremely promising. UTSA secured the top recruiting class in Conference USA. Adding these returning seniors to the mix of things, the ‘Runners seem to be heading in the right direction for even more success.