Athlete of the Week: Spencer Burford


Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics

Spencer Burford engages in pass protection during the game against Lamar earlier this year. Burford has appeared in 35 games for the ‘Runners in his career, accumulating 33 starts.

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

As the UTSA Roadrunners football program continues its ascent through the college ranks, there are a number of players that grab the headlines as a big part of that process. Sincere McCormick has broken rushing records at UTSA, Rashad Wisdom has become the heart and soul of a much-improved UTSA defense and Frank Harris has provided electrifying plays from the quarterback position, to name just a few. But there is one unit that gets chronically overlooked when talking about the ‘Runners’ revitalization, and that is the offensive line, and a big part of that offensive line is Spencer Burford. Burford elaborated on his process and mindset while he is on the field.

“Once you get everything processed within a short amount of time, after that, everything’s out the window for that play, you just have to dominate at that point,” Burford said.

One of the hallmarks of the offensive line over the past few years has been its versatility. The line has suffered numerous injuries that have forced the team to move people around, but even with this complication and many linemen often playing out of position, the level of play has not fallen off.

“It just goes to show that their hard work is paying off…There is no time for being scared, there is no time for second guessing yourself. When your number is called in those situations you have to be ready at any given point in time to go out there and do the job to the best of your ability,” Burford said.

While they may not get the plaudits and headlines like their teammates at the skill positions, Burford and the rest of the offensive line relish in paving the way for players like McCormick to break records. 

“We take big pride in that, that’s our pride and joy, that’s what we live off of…It’s just the nature of the position, we’re not supposed to get a whole lot of love, it’s been like that since the dinosaur age, so it’s nothing new. We just go on and grind, go about our day and we’re just glad to see the results come out in the end,” Burford said.

Even on an offensive line with amazing depth, Burford in particular stands out. Earning an honorable mention All-Conference selection in his sophomore campaign, a second team All-Conference USA selection in his junior year and appearances on both the Senior Bowl and the Outland Trophy — awarded to the nation’s best offensive linemen —  watchlists this offseason.  

“It’s cool, but I’m not done yet…I’m thankful for the opportunity to have those accolades, but I’m nowhere near done,” Burford said when asked about what those honors meant to him.

Football has always been a major part of Buford’s life, as he attempted to play the game even when he did not meet his league’s guidelines.

“I tried to start when I was three. They said I was too small, so I was like cool. So, I came back, starting age was like five or six, but then I was big enough when I got to four, so they slid me in on a flag team. Ever since then, football has taken off, camps, games, it’s been a blessing. I love this game,” Burford said.

When asked how he became an offensive lineman, Burford explains that he actually started out on the other side of the ball.

“I was always a big defensive guy —  I used to love playing defensive end, I like contact. It started getting serious when I was around nine or ten, and I realized I’m just going to get bigger from here. I’m not going to get smaller to play running back or receiver, so I might as well just start learning the basics now andstart molding myself into something that I can use in the future,” Burford said.

Burford holds the distinction of being UTSA’s first four-star recruit in program history and says how they went about the recruiting process had a big impact on his decision to come here.

“They treated me like family…I got recruited by Coach Wilson, Coach Henderson [defensive line coach for the LA Rams] and Coach Golding [defensive coordinator at Alabama], all those guys came in, showed me around the campus…They kept in contact with me and that’s when we had the dream. Once I saw Frank (Harris) and a few other guys, I thought might as well start now. I went ahead and made the decision. Then we went and got Sincere and Rashad and the rest is history,” Burford said on his recruitment.

Spencer Burford sets a block for Brendan Brady against Stephen F. Austin last year. Thanks to the efforts of Burford and the rest of the O-line, UTSA has had over 100 yds. rushing as a team in 10-straight games. Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics

Burford has expressed a deep desire to pursue a career in the NFL. 

“That’s my dream man, I’m not just trying to get to the NFL, I’m trying to stay in it.”   

Burford, a criminal justice major, credits his family for his interest in pursuing that degree. 

“Most of my family is involved in law enforcement…I’ve just been around it my whole life,” Burford said.

Outside of the football field and the classroom, some of Burford’s hobbies include playing the drums, paintball and riding horses. The drums in particular was one of Burford’s earliest interests.

“I picked up a stick before I picked up a ball. I got my first drum set when I was three…I play off ear, I really can’t read music. I just play it natural. I can listen to a song and play it, but I just can’t read the notes to save my life,” Burford said.   

Burford starred at Wagner High School in San Antonio and is part of a group of local San Antonio kids that have elevated the program to a level of national relevance never seen prior, and according to him, that was always the plan. 

“That was the original plan coming in, I came in with faith. We had an idea that we just rolled off of. We just had to have faith that one day, this seed was just going to blossom. We just kept coming on, kept grinding and now we’re seeing all of the benefits…Everything that we planned on and dreamed of having is coming to fruition,” Burford said.