Did you see history last night? It happened on Fox or the NFL Network, or ESPN. UTSA's Marcus Davenport became the first ever Roadrunner drafted in the first round when the Saints selected him at number 14. The Saints traded up to grab the big edge rusher because they believed in his chaos-causing traits.
Where did UTSA find a talent like Davenport? Davenport found them and the Roadrunners built him. A two-star recruit in their backyard, no one was beating a path to Davenport's door. The scrawny three-sport tall had two things going for him, his frame and his athleticism. Even two years ago Davenport was just 215 pounds and a curiosity to the Roadrunner coaching staff.
That's when Frank Wilson and the strength staff at UTSA went to work. Davenport added fifty pounds and kept most of his athleticism and became a destroyer of worlds. Someday the Hague will probably assess reparations against Davenport for what he's done to CUSA offenses.
When you're UTSA, and you're in a G5 league with $40 million less in rights fees than your neighbor up I-35 in Austin, you need to be a smart steward of your resources. If you can't attract 5-Star defensive ends, you must build them. That's where Larry Coker and his staff deserve credit. They took a flyer on a scrawny kid who was probably better known as a basketball player. Coker saw his frame and his athletic ability and thought there just might be something here.
Wilson and his staff deserve credit for getting Davenport in the weight room and chaining him to a buffet. Davenport built good weight on a frame that could sustain it. Credit Pete Golding for using Davenport to ensure production or perhaps better-said destruction.
Davenport is the type of player that schools like UTSA must risk bringing in, lesser developed talents who look like misfit toys until the weight room and training table chisel them. The upper echelon Power Five teams don't have to take those risks. Four and five stars are expected to compete immediately, and some won't sit around for two seasons to absorb coaching and develop.
That's the market inefficiency that UTSA and other G5 schools have to take advantage of, but it requires patience on both the program's and the player's part. Lots of these projects don't pan out. But, if it works out, a player like Davenport can serve as an equalizer, a hidden gem.
You can recruit off successes like Marcus Davenport because he shows raw, talented, young players what your program can build.