UTSA coach Jeff Traylor’s phone number has not changed since the moment he got his first high school head coaching job at Gilmer in 2001.
Traylor took the same East Texas number through 14 years and three state titles at Gilmer as head coach. He kept it at Texas was named Big 12 recruiter of the year in 2016, then when he joined Chad Morris at SMU and even when he moved to the SEC at Arkansas.
Traylor is proud to be Texan.
He goes to Walmart to grab his copy of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football the first day he can.
He’s assembled a coaching staff at UTSA with rooted ties to Texas high school football, including his brother Kurt Traylor, who came from Tyler Lee, and Lake Travis offensive coordinator Will Stein.
“We have seven coaches on my staff that were Texas high school football coaches, so we know almost every coach in the state of Texas,” Traylor said. “If not, we have at least crossed their path at some point.”
Traylor is taking his unlimited Rolodex of Texas high school football coaches to the Alamo City. The gamble is simple: Can Texas high school football help a Group of Five program win at the highest level? UTSA is about to find out.
His primary focus at the moment is winning on the recruiting trail. Any high school football coach can send UTSA a player’s film and Traylor has promised to evaluate them. Coaches are taking that to heart; Traylor’s staff is buried in film, which they’ve used to their advantage by compiling the top recruiting class in Conference USA all while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s one thing to get the recruits to campus and a whole other task making sure they’re developed properly. That’s why Traylor hired coordinators who know how to get the best out of the talent on campus. Defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix led years of defenses in the SEC and Conference USA.. Offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. worked with both spread and pro style concepts during his stint at Arkansas. The task is simply to get the best players to campus and learn how to use them.
“One thing I’m certain of is that here under Coach Traylor’s leadership, we’re going to be very relational driven,” Lunney said. “Kids don’t realize how much you know until you show them how much you care. I think this staff is going to be so driven by relationships that over the course of time they’ll see that we’re sincere. When you earn trust and play in a sound scheme, you can usually get them to play hard and be successful.”
San Antonio football gets overlooked next to the powers in Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, but the Alamo City is quietly becoming a hidden giant. Converse Judson ranks among the state’s biggest powers. Cibolo Steele is a perennial contender. San Antonio Wagner is fresh off back-to-back state semifinal appearances. Others are next in line.
That excitement has carried to UTSA, even as the program struggles to get off the ground just nine years after forming. The Roadrunners have ranked among the attendance leaders in Conference USA ever since joining, even as the team struggles. The community is starving for a winner, and for a team to rally behind.
“If they get everybody they can in San Antonio, it’s going to be unstoppable,” running back Sincere McCormick said. “I’m telling you, if we get everybody from around here to come here and hop on the train, it’s going to be unbelievable.”
In addition to an exciting new coaching staff, UTSA has spent heavily on infrastructure. A brand new football operations facility is coming around the corner, which is just something else to sell to recruits. The recruiting budget is rising. With the combination of relationships, resources and rabid fan support, Traylor believes he has everything he needs to set the foundation for a winning program.
"I think the potential is unlimited," Traylor said. "There's no reason we're not competing for Conference USA championships every year. From there, who knows what the limit is. We gotta crawl before we walk, but with those things in line, I really think it's a gold mine of a job."
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