Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

23 new student-athletes choose to play UTSA football

Larry Coker

UTSA’s inaugural football season concluded with record setting numbers. UTSA set the NCAA record for an opening game audience (56,743) and kept the momentum going through the season with a record attendance average (35,321).

On Feb. 1, National Signing Day, Head Football Coach Larry Coker introduced the Roadrunners’ third recruiting class that has the potential to keep drawing in those huge crowds. UTSA will welcome 23 highly decorated student-athletes that will help the Runners stay competitive in their new conference. The Roadrunners will be part of the Division I FBS Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in the fall.

“We really are excited about this class. Everybody says that, but literally we really did have an outstanding recruiting year,” Coker said.

This third class includes 14 prep student athletes, eight junior college transfers and a Football Bowl Subdivision transfer.

The combination of incoming prep school talent, experienced transfer players and UTSA’s returning players will create a very productive environment for Coker’s team.

“It makes things more competitive in practice. You have guys on the team last year that might have to fight to keep their job this year. We got to make sure now that our guys understand that this is major college football. You got to come in and compete for your job,” Coker said.

Both the offensive and defensive side of Coker’s squad have the potential to raise UTSA to the next level. The new class included two quarterbacks, three running backs, a pair of tight ends and five offensive linemen. On the defensive side, the Runners added three defensive linemen, a linebacker and seven defensive backs.

Coker says the newest edition of Roadrunners has given his team a “whatever it takes to win” attitude for this upcoming season.

Sixteen of the new players are Texan; five of those are from the greater Houston area. Five more come from Dallas/Fort Worth. Two players are from East Texas, and four are from the Alamo City. UTSA’s coaching staff was also successful in a nation-wide search and signed one player from Arkansas, three from California, two from Florida and one player from Louisiana.

“What we’re going to do is graduate these kids and win championships. We’re going to compete to win every game and recruit to win every game, and I think these kids are those kinds of kids. The other thing we want to do is represent our school well,” Coker said.

The collective impressive records of Coach Coker’s newest players will excite any fan. UTSA will now have six all-state honorees in orange and blue. 14 of the players have earned all-district and all-area accolades during their career. To have all this incredible talent on one team is a great asset. An even better asset is the players’ confidence in themselves and this program.

“We see guys buying in. If you don’t buy in, then its too much work,” Coker said.

One of the most experienced incoming players on the team is running back Marcus Wright from Georgia Tech. Wright, a red-shirt in 2010, rushed for 227 yards and three touchdowns on 37 career carries with the Yellow Jackets. Wright’s redshirt year gave him one more year of eligibility, and with that he signed up to become a Roadrunner. The Reagan High School athlete had an outstanding career, finishing with 7,036 rushing yards and 85 scores. Wright was also selected as the 2007 Class 5A Offensive Player of the Year and played in the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Coker believes that the great support for his program, and the hard work of the UTSA staff made it easy to convince these talented players to come to UTSA. A huge selling point for recruitment was the players can come to a program and showcase their talents in a city where fans are genuinely thrilled about football.

“The best memory of the season was that first game. To see 50,000 to 56,000 people there. To have that many people support our team, our school, our players it was pretty unbelievable for me. It was an exciting season,” Coker said.

The Runners will start its spring drills in mid-March, and the second annual UTSA spring game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff on April 15.

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