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ASU Football: UTSA Players to Watch

The Sun Devils will have their hands full with the UTSA defense.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Texas-San Antonio Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

UTSA began their 2017 season with a bang, the Roadrunners started the season 3-0 with a notable upset victory over Baylor in Waco.

The team finished with a 6-5 record, but only finished 3-5 in Conference-USA play and were passed over for a Bowl game. The key to UTSA’s 2017 success was a defense that was ranked as No. 5 overall in the country and did a tremendous job of keeping their opponents of the board. The Roadrunners were eighth in the country in scoring defense allowing only 17 points per game.

UTSA’s defense did take a major hit by losing star defensive lineman Marcus Davenport to the NFL Draft. Head coach Frank Wilson will attempt to put a lot of pressure on Manny Wilkins and the rebuilt ASU offensive line.

The Sun Devils narrowly avoided an upset in San Antonio two seasons ago at the hands of the Roadrunners. ASU used a 17-point fourth quarter comeback to fend off UTSA and to stay undefeated in non-conference play.

N’Keal Harry also made perhaps the best play of his collegiate career in that contest.

Here are some Roadrunners to pay attention to Saturday night:

RB Jalen Rhodes — Senior RB

The senior running back for the Roadrunners has been a productive player during his tenure in San Antonio. Rhodes recorded 759 yards from scrimmage last season, and scored six total touchdowns. He won’t be the most dynamic runner the Sun Devil defense will face this season. But, it will be an interesting test for the young, inexperienced ASU defensive front facing a crafty, experienced player.

DE Jaylon Haynes — Junior DE

The Roadrunners lost many notable pieces on the defensive front and it will be interesting to see how the new players adjust to the system. Haynes, will now receive starting playing time and he’s a big guy that clogs running lanes. In limited action during the 2017 season, Haynes recorded four total tackles.

WR Tyler Ogle-Kellog — Freshman WR

As a freshman, Ogle-Kellog will have big expectations. Part of the reason is that he’s the highest-rated offensive recruit in the program’s history. He’s a big target standing at 6’5” and will be a big challenge for Chase Lucas and company in the ASU secondary. UTSA doesn’t feature a very dynamic offense, but having a big target on the outside could give the young Sun Devil secondary problems.