UTSA football coach Frank Wilson did something Tuesday night that he’s done on the eve of National Signing Day for as long as he can remember:
He slept in his office.
“It’s exhilarating,” Wilson said, describing how he feels in the hours before the big day. “You build up to the moment. For me, tradition is to stay at the office, so I went to Wal-Mart, got my blow-up [air mattress], Blew it up. I’m serious. Really did.
“And so I stayed at the office last night, got up about 4:30 [a.m.], just took a warm shower and did some push-ups, and got my mind right for the day.”
By 5:45 a.m., Wilson and his staff were calling the players who had committed to UTSA during the long recruiting process. Shortly after 7 a.m., the fax machine in the coaches’ office started receiving signed letters of intent from the Roadrunners’ newest players.
UTSA signed 23 players, including four from the San Antonio area – Southwest defensive end Robert Fuentes, Johnson tight end Michael Goff, Clemens quarterback Frank Harris, and Stevens quarterback Bryce Rivers. Rivers enrolled at UTSA in January.
Wilson spoke highly of Harris, who rushed for 4,258 yards, passed for 3,896 and had a hand in 101 touchdowns in three seasons as the Buffaloes’ starting quarterback. Harris helped lead Clemens to the state quarterfinals as a junior, but his senior season ended when he injured his left knee in the first half of the Buffs’ eighth game.
“We think he’s a phenomenal athlete,” Wilson said. “As you know, he had an injury this year and we’re sensitive to it. We’re conscientious to what happened to him. His rehabilitation is going well. We will continue to monitor it until he gets here in June. That day he comes in, he’ll be re-evaluated by our doctors, our UTSA doctors, to see his progress.
“From an athletic standpoint and capable standpoint, we think he’s exciting. We think he has tremendous ability to place the ball as well as extend plays with his legs and even take it with chunks of yards at a time and put us in position to make big plays.”
UTSA finished 6-7 overall and 5-3 in Conference USA in its first season under Wilson last year. Wilson had been on the job for less than a month when UTSA signed its eighth recruiting class.
“I think when you look from a comprehensive standpoint, [it’s] 52 weeks of consistency,” Wilson said. “You look at our signing class, whether it was the 18 that we received letters of intent from today or the five signees from midyear, they are young men that we have identified early on in a process that we’ve been consistent with for a duration of a time.
“And I think at the back end of it, it allowed us to stand firm in the midst of the onslaught from other schools trying to pry them away from us. The relationship piece was really able to withstand the test of time to allow us to have some really quality players come to our university.”
UTSA made its first bowl appearance last year, losing to New Mexico 23-20 in the New Mexico Bowl.
Wilson said he thinks Harris and Rivers are capable of providing backup help at quarterback “immediately.” Dalton Sturm, the Roadrunners’ starting quarterback throughout the 2016 season, will be a senior this year.
Wilson, 43, was an assistant coach at LSU for six seasons before taking his first head-coaching job at UTSA. He also was the Tigers’ recruiting coordinator, drawing high marks for his ability to draw blue-chip talent to Baton Rouge consistently.
Wilson said that he thinks this year’s signing class fills the Roadrunners’ needs “all across the board.”
2017 UTSA Football Signing Class
Samuel Barnes, CB, 6-1, 190, Fr.-HS, Richmond, Texas (George Ranch HS)
B.J. Daniels, RB, 6-2, 205, Fr.-HS, Melbourne, Fla. (Palm Bay HS)
Kevin Davis, OL, 6-3, 290, Fr.-HS, Angleton (Angleton HS)
x-Josh Dunlop, OL, 6-7, 300, So.-TR, Zionsville, Ind. (Zionsville Community HS/Dodge City [Kan.] CC)
Robert Fuentes, DE, 6-4, 205, Fr.-HS , San Antonio (Southwest HS)
Michael Goff, TE, 6-2, 230, Fr.-HS, San Antonio (Johnson HS)
De’Marco Guidry, LB, 6-1, 210, Fr.-HS, La Marque (La Marque HS)
Frank Harris, QB, 6-0, 185, Fr.-HS, Schertz (Clemens HS)
Jaylon Haynes, DE, 6-2, 290, Fr.-HS, Wharton (Wharton HS)
Morris Joseph Jr., DL, 6-2, 275, Fr.-HS, Orange (West Orange-Stark HS)
Chance McLeod, TE, 6-3, 230, Fr.-HS, Victoria (East HS)
x-Michael Moore, CB, 6-2, 180, Jr.-TR, Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS/Palomar (Calif.) JC
Javontavius Mosley, CB, 6-0, 165, Fr.-HS, Tyler, (John Tyler HS)
Dominic Pastucci, OL, 6-4, 280, Fr.-HS, Pflugerville (Hendrickson HS)
Donovan Perkins, LB, 6-0, 220, Fr.-HS, Zachary, La. (Zachary HS)
Tay’lor Perry, S, 5-10, 180, Fr.-HS, Crosby, (Crosby HS)
x-Bryce Rivers, QB, 6-2, 205, Fr.-HS, San Antonio (Stevens HS)
Keeyon Smart, OL, 6-5, 300, So.-TR, Baton Rouge, La. (McKinley HS/Kilgore [Texas] JC)
x-Jay Jay Smith, CB, 6-2, 195, Jr.-TR, Gulfport, Miss./Gulfport HS/Mississippi Gulf Coast JC
Dadrian Taylor, WR, 5-11, 170, Fr.-HS, Shiner (Shiner HS)
x-Robert Ursua, TE, 6-3, 230, Jr.-TR, Bakersfield, Calif. (Liberty HS/Palomar [Calif.] JC)
Vance Vallair, CB, 6-1, 180, Fr.-HS, Beaumont (Central HS)
Tariq Woolen, WR, 6-5, 205, Fr.-HS, Fort Worth (Arlington Heights HS)
x – Currently attending classes at UTSA