For the past three years, UTSA has had the privilege of starting a high caliber quarterback, Eric Soza. He was everything a starting college program could want. He could pass, escape the pocket, move and run like a running back. But most importantly, he was explosive. One second he was evading the imminent sack and the next second he was carrying a defensive player into the end zone for a touchdown. This impressive play led to many achievements. He was a three year captain, UTSA’s leading passer and rusher, a member of the 2013 Manning Watch, 2013 honorable mention All Conference USA, and even a finalist to the Wuerffel award.
Soza was there at the start of UTSA football and has been their only quarterback for the past 3 years. He led them through the growing pains that come with starting a new football team and ended with a 19-13 record after the three seasons. He came to UTSA as a sophomore which meant this coming season he will not be here. He will be missed. Eric Soza was 64% of the offence last year and scored a team high of 19 touchdowns. He was essential to all the wins last season as well as the seasons before, but those days are gone. Now, it all comes down to backup quarterback, Tucker Carter. Can Tucker take over and lead the team to success?
Carter stands 6’3” and weighs 220 pounds. In high school, Carter played for Allen, which is located north of Dallas. Allen High School is not your typical high school. What a lot of people do not know about Allen is that they are accustomed to winning in football. They have won two state championships and have made it to the playoffs since 2001. After leaving Allen, Carter went to Trinity Valley Community College and set up camp. There he had 322 rushing yards with 8 rushing touchdowns. In addition, he threw for 2,654 yards with 26 passing touchdowns. He was named the 2011 Southwest Junior College Football Conference Offensive Player of the Year and won Player of the Week the same year. After that impressive season with Trinity Valley Community College, he transferred to UTSA, they added him to their roster and gave him a shot. Although in 2013 he did not have the opportunity to start in any game, he did play in five games and was 23 for 33 (69.7%) and threw for 190 yards with one touchdown. However, he also threw 2 interceptions and had negative one rushing yard.
The 2014 season will be the defining season for Carter. He will have to show that he can replace Soza in all aspects of the game: running, passing, and leadership. At the junior college level, he was able to run with great power and speed. Although we did not see it in 2013, we will have to in 2014 for us to compete at the level of play the fans have come to expect. Last year was good practice for Carter. He was able to learn the different running patterns, read the pocket, and assess the holes. What he learned about the pocket will not only help him in the running game but also in the passing game. He had what some analysts would consider a decent throwing game last year with hopes that this year he will get better. Carter has looked at the old game footage and will hopefully learn from his mistakes. His best game last year was against Oklahoma State. He threw for one touchdown and had a 66% completion rate. Eric Soza stated, “He’s a dang good quarterback,’’ and then went on to say that he has put in the work necessary to lead the UTSA Roadrunners next season.
Looking at the UTSA schedule, some may panic, but I am not worried. We have our toughest schedule in the UTSA history, but I feel we are up to the challenge. All of the players in the first freshmen class will now be seniors. This is important because it means that they have been under the leadership of Larry Coker and have learned from his championship coaching experiences. So that being said, I am predicting UTSA to go 7-5 this football season. Carter is going to be the perfect man to replace Soza and is going to do amazing things. He will be the USA Conference Player of the Year and will lead his team to a bowl game. He is destined to be the future of UTSA football.