2019 Conference USA QB Preview: UTSA
Statically speaking, UTSA was the worst offense in Conference USA in 2018. They were dead last in the conference in yards per game, passing yards, rushing yards, points scored, as well as a few more categories. However, there is no need to beat a dead horse, everyone that keeps ups with Conference USA knows that the UTSA offense was not where it needed to be for UTSA to be successful. While the quarterback position struggled last year, the blame does not fall on them alone, the offense as a whole struggled. The good news is the Roadrunners will get better play from under center this year, here is a brief preview of the 2019 quarterback position for UTSA.
2018 QB Performance
As mentioned previously, I don’t want to beat a dead horse when it comes to the quarterback play last year, but it is important to look at some things before moving on to 2019.
- Four guys had at least 58 attempts last year and each of those four guys was the leading passer in at least one game (Cordale Grundy, D.J. Gillins, Jordan Weeks, and Bryce Rivers). Having four different quarterbacks as the leading passer in at least one game in the same season is not a recipe for success.
- The four guys combined for 1,918yds passing, 50.5cmp%, 9 passing touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Only team in Conference USA to have under 2,000 yards passing.
- Cordale Grundy led the team with 989 passing yards and 5 passing touchdowns. One thing he did a good job of was taking care of the football as he only threw 3 interceptions.
2019 quarterback room will have some familiar faces, as well as some new ones. D.J. Gillins is out of eligibility and Bryce Rivers has transferred to Northwestern State. Cordale Grundy and Jordan Weeks are the only quarterbacks on the roster to have thrown a pass at UTSA. Added to the mix is Frank Harris, who before a knee injury last spring was the favorite to start under center for UTSA and seems to be the favorite to start this year as he finished with a good spring. UTSA signed juco quarterback Lowell Narcisse this spring, who started off at LSU, as well as incoming freshman Suddin Sapien.
Frank Harris (Sophomore)
Due to injury, Harris has not been able to get on the field during a real game and demonstrate what he can do. However, from everything that is being put out and said about him, he seems to be the favorite to start under center in the fall for the Roadrunners. Harris was named the Most Improved Offensive Player of the spring practices for UTSA. Harris had multiple division 1 offers out of high school, with several of them being Power 5 schools. Harris is an elite athlete who is dangerous in and out of the pocket. If Harris is healthy this year, he will get significant snaps, regardless if he starts out as the starter or not. Below is an example of his athletic ability (High school clip).
Cordale Grundy (Senior)
Grundy got the majority of snaps last year for the Roadrunners as he started 9 out of the 12 games. This was his first year starting for UTSA, so growing pains were to be expected. However, with a full year of experience under his belt and a full offseason, UTSA fans should expect improvement from Grundy. Even with Harris seeming to be the favorite to win the job, I expect the competition to continue into fall camp. Grundy did do some good things last year and regardless if he gets the starting job or is the back-up, his experience will help improve his game. Below is a clip of Grundy making a good decision not to force the ball, but rely on his athleticism to make a play.
Jordan Weeks (Redshirt Freshman)
With the main competition being between Harris and Grundy for the starting job, it is easy to forget about Weeks. Weeks got some valuable playing time as a freshman last year and was still able to keep his freshman status as he did not play in enough games to burn his redshirt. If the season goes anything like it did for UTSA last year, Weeks could get thrown under center at some point. Hopefully Weeks is allowed to develop this season, as he showed glimpses last year with the potential to develop into a good quarterback. Below is a clip of Weeks demonstrating the ability to stand in the pocket and throw an accurate ball down the middle.
Lowell Narcisse and Sudden Sapien
As of now it seems that Narcisse and Sapien will proved depth at the quarterback position. Narcisse, the transfer from LSU, will have some time to familiarize himself with the play book and UTSA as a whole. Sapien, the incoming freshman, should not have to worry about getting thrown in unprepared and will have time to develop and learn. UTSA also has Brandon Garza (senior), who will provide depth.
The quarterback play will be improved from the 2018 season. The offense as a whole will be improved from the 2018 season. Harris seems to be the favorite going into camp, and if he continues to build on a solid spring, he should be able to put the Roadrunners in a better situation than last year. The experience of Grundy as well as Weeks will be more comforting than last year as now the Roadrunners have depth at the position that has experience. At the end of the day, who knows how the quarterback situation turns out, guess we will have to wait for the 2019 season to start. Side note, my wife is a former UTSA soccer star so I will be pulling for the Roadrunners this season. Beep Beep.