UTSA defensive end Marcus Davenport earns first-team all-conference honors
UTSA wasn’t on Marcus Davenport’s radar when he was a senior at Stevens High School. Four years later, those days seem so long gone.
Davenport's attitude toward UTSA changed when he made a recruiting visit to the campus and immediately connected with the players in the Roadrunners' fledgling football program.
“I didn’t plan none of this, honestly,” Davenport said. “Coming here, the real reason I came is because I met some real good guys on my visit. I was like, 'I want to be part of this family.' The rest just happened to work out because I was surrounded by great people. I feel the older guys laid a foundation for us.
“I remember our shirts said, ‘Leave (A) Legacy.’ They kind of built the stepping stone and we’ve grown from them. I don’t want to say trickle down, but it’s all been built up. It’s great to see. I know this school is going to keep progressing.”
Davenport signed with UTSA in February 2014 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Davenport, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound defensive end, was named to the All-Conference USA first team announced Tuesday. He is among six UTSA players who earned honors on the all-conference team selected by the 14 C-USA head coaches.
Generally considered the best defensive end in UTSA's short history, Davenport is also a strong candidate for the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year award, which will be announced Wednesday.
Junior defensive lineman Kevin Strong Jr. and senior deep snapper Matt Bayless made the all-conference second team, and senior linebacker La'Kel Bass, senior safety Nate Gaines, and freshman kicker Jared Sackett received honorable mention.
Strong made the all-conference team for the first time after finishing the season with 27 tackles, including seven for loss, three sacks, and four quarterback hurries.
An honorable-mention pick last year, Bayless had more than 90 snaps without a mistake this season. He played a key role for special teams that produced semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award for kicking and Ray Guy Award for punting.
Davenport, who received honorable mention on the all-conference team in 2015, became the third Roadrunner to earn first-team all-conference honors, joining Josiah Tauaefa (2016 C-USA) and Triston Wade (2012 WAC).
Davenport recorded 55 tackles and set school records with 17.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and eight quarterback hurries this season.
A member of the Chuck Bednarik Award and Wuerffel Trophy watch lists and a Senior CLASS Award candidate, Davenport also had four pass breakups, three forced fumbles, and a fumble return for a touchdown.
Davenport was named C-USA Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 23 after getting 11 tackles (3.5 for loss), two sacks, and returning a fumble for a 34-yard touchdown in a 20-7 victory over Rice.
Davenport completed his UTSA career as the program’s all-time leader in tackles for loss (38.0), sacks (22.0) and QB hurries (21). A bona fide pro prospect, Davenport has accepted an invitation to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl on Jan. 27 in Mobile, Ala.
UTSA coach Frank Wilson said that Davenport will be invited "for sure" to the 2018 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, where pro prospects are put through a series of physical drills and mental tests over a period of a week.
UTSA finished its seventh season in school history 6-5 but did not receive a bowl bid on Sunday. The Roadrunners went 3-5 in C-USA play and went 1-3 in their last four games.
"When they looked at conference, at the back end, the thing people remember most is November," Wilson said. "Us losing in the back end of the season did not help our case."
Davenport was among 25 UTSA seniors who completed their careers this season.
Wilson described this season's senior class as "a group that had great leadership, who played extremely hard and who stepped up and did things that a lot of people weren't willing to do. They stayed. They competed.
"Very proud of those young men when you think about what they've done and what they've achieved in the last two years, specifically, with us. We're going to do everything in our power to help promote them as they prepare for whatever all-star games, whatever tryouts, as well as our pro day."
Wilson succeeded Larry Coker as UTSA head coach in January and is 12-12 in two seasons. He led the Roadrunners to their first bowl game last year.