Roadrunners rack up pre-season honors ahead of 2022 football season | UTSA today | UTSA

UTSA quarterback Frank Harris was named Conference USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and was also named to the watch lists for the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien awards. Photo by Jeff Huehn

JULY 29, 2022 — A season after winning its first Conference USA championship, UTSA Football is poised to win it again, while being led by many outstanding student-athletes earning preseason honors and making appearances on watchlists for national awards.

The C-USA preseason media poll picked the Roadrunners to finish first in the conference this season. UTSA received 14 of 22 possible votes for first place from a panel of members of the media covering all 11 C-USA schools.

UAB received the remaining eight first-place votes, taking second place in the preseason poll, followed by Western Kentucky, which UTSA beat 49-41 to claim the conference crown. 2021.

EXPECTED ORDER OF ARRIVAL

  1. UTSA (14)
  2. UAB (8)
  3. Western Kentucky
  4. Florida Atlantic
  5. north texas
  6. UTEP
  7. Charlotte
  8. Middle Tennessee
  9. Louisiana Technology
  10. Rice
  11. Florida International

With UTSA emerging as a Conference USA favorite, it’s no surprise that many Roadrunners are receiving national acclaim. Two have earned Conference USA’s top preseason honors and a total of seven UTSA student-athletes have been named to preseason watch lists for prestigious college football awards.

Strategist Frank Harris and security Rashad Wisdom were named Conference USA Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively. They joined C-USA Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year Brayden Narveson of Western Kentucky as the winners of the preseason superlative awards in a league head coach vote. .


Rashad Wisdom

The pre-season has been busy for Wisdom. He was named to the watch lists for the Jim Thorpe Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy while also earning a nomination for the 2022 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. The Jim Thorpe Award was given to the best defensive back in college football since 1986 and the Football Writers Association of America has awarded the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as its National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. The Good Works team recognizes the student of college football. athletes for their unwavering commitment to community service and good works off the field.

Wisdom has been heavily involved in giving back to the San Antonio area community throughout his college career. The cybersecurity major has volunteered her time with Rowdy Readers, Dr. Seuss Day for Youth Literacy, UTSA’s Diploma Dash, UTSA Student Government Field Day, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march. Wisdom served as the master of ceremonies for the UTSA Giving Day 2022 live video stream, and he has been a speaker at local elementary schools. The 2021-2222 Roadrunner Pride recipient also created a GoFundMe to benefit the San Antonio Food Bank, where he volunteered his time to help collect and sort donated food items.

Wisdom and her family also host events for the Bryce Strong Foundation, which they started in honor of her younger brother, Bryce, who passed away after a battle with cancer in July 2020. The nonprofit’s mission profit is to educate, help and provide resources to adolescents. cancer warriors and their families in honor of Bryce.

A two-time All-Conference USA first-team performer at safety, Wisdom has paced the Roadrunners in total tackles in each of the past two seasons, helping guide UTSA to 19 wins, a conference championship and a pair of bowl matches during this period. . He recorded 227 tackles, 158 solo saves, 12 tackles for loss, five interceptions, four forced fumbles, a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery. He returned two of his interceptions for touchdowns, which tied for the school record.


Frank Harris

Harris also racked up a long list of accolades this summer. He was named to the watch lists for the Maxwell Prize and the Davey O’Brien Prize, and was also honored as a nominee for the Wuerffel Trophy. The Maxwell Award has been given to the college player of the year since 1937, and the National Quarterback Davey O’Brien Award is given annually to the top college quarterback in the nation. Meanwhile, the Wuerffel Trophy honors college footballers who serve others, celebrating their positive impact on society and their ability to inspire greater service in the world.

Harris participated in many community service projects at UTSA. He has volunteered with the San Antonio Food Bank UTSA Rowdy Readers Program which visits local elementary schools, San Antonio’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Walk, UTSA Day of Service, the Diploma Dash of the ‘UTSA, the Bryce Strong Foundation and the San Antonio Police. Officers Association Blue Cares Outreach Program.

He has also spent his time participating in the For The Kids Dance Marathon which benefits pediatric cancer patients and their families. He collected donated food items for CANtoberfest, an annual UTSA event to benefit the San Antonio Food Bank. During the 2021 winter storm that knocked out power and water to thousands of area residents, he once again volunteered his time to help the food bank collect donations. In addition, he has dedicated countless hours to leading local youth football camps and clinics and speaking to numerous youth sports teams in the San Antonio area.

A Davey O’Brien and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award semi-finalist a year ago, Harris enters the 2022 campaign with a 20-8 record as the starting quarterback for UTSA. The southpaw threw for 5,293 yards and 42 touchdowns on 488 of 739 passes (.660) and rushed for 1,220 yards and 15 touchdowns as a roadrunner.


Oscar Cardenas

tight end Oscar Cardenas made an appearance on the John Mackey Award pre-season watch list. Established in 2000, the award is given annually to the most outstanding tight end in college football.

A fourth-year junior, Cardenas played in 30 career games and made five tight-end starts as a Roadrunner. A punishing tackler, he caught 19 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns during his career. More memorably, he had two assists in the final minute of UTSA’s 34-31 win over UAB last November, including the game-winner on an angled pass with three seconds left to help the Roadrunners. to win the C-USA West Division crown.


Lucas Dean

Bettor Lucas Dean was named to the Ray Guy Award pre-season watch list. Also established in 2000, it is presented annually to college football’s most outstanding punter.

A native of Dunsborough, Australia, Dean enters his fourth season with the Roadrunners as the program record holder with a career average of 43.8 yards. Dean set the UTSA single-season standard for punting average in 2020 averaging 46.0 yards on 57 punts. The two-time all-conference selection was C-USA Special Teams Player of the Year in addition to being named a second-team All-American by sports news and a fourth team All-American by Phil Steele in 2020.


Zakhari Franklin

wide receiver Zakhari Franklin landed on the preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award for the second consecutive season. Any player, regardless of position, who catches a pass is eligible for the prize. As such, the Biletnikoff Award honors the most outstanding receiver in college football, not just the most outstanding wide receiver.

Franklin is coming off a record season in 2021. He broke UTSA single-season standards for receptions (81), receiving yards (1,027), receiving yards per game (79.0) and receiving touchdowns (12) en route to first-team all-conference honors. His 2021 campaign propelled him to the top of UTSA’s all-time rankings for receptions (168), receiving yards (2,212) and touchdown catches (22). He also holds the program’s single-game record for receptions with 12.


Ahofitu Maka

Center Ahofitu Maka is on the Outland Trophy pre-season watch list. Since 1946, the Outland Trophy has been awarded to the best offensive or defensive lineman in college football.

A native of Honolulu, Hawai’i, Maka has been a second-team all-conference selection at center in each of the past two seasons. He has started 37 career games, 36 of them at center, as a Roadrunner after transferring from Independence Community College ahead of the 2019 campaign. In the past two seasons, he has allowed just two sacks in addition to 500 pass-blocking snaps as a leader on an offensive line that paved the way for a record offense.


Jared Baggins

Kicker Jared Baggins was named to the preseason watch list for the Lou Groza Award. The award has been given to the top collegiate place kicker in the nation since 1992.

Sackett, a transfer grad during his second stint as a Roadrunner, was a Lou Groza Award semi-finalist in each of his first two seasons with UTSA. Sackett made 19 of 22 field goals for UTSA in 2017. He finished that fall ranked third in the Football Bowl Subdivision in field goals per game (1.9) and ninth in goal percentage. on the ground (.864) en route to winning USA today Freshman All-America, C-USA All-Freshman Team and honorable mention all conference honors. As a sophomore in 2018, Sackett made 14 of 19 field goals (73.7%), including nine for 40+ yards.

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