Texas State Still Lacks Bite In Sun Belt Conference

THSF
Photo via Photo via Soobum Im- USA Today Sports

 
There’s really nowhere for the Bobcats to go but up. After the worst season in the program’s five year FBS history — and worst overall since 1938 — Texas State won a single contest against an FBS opponent during 2016, causing San Marcos to bottom out as the worst team in the Lone Star State. The boys in burgundy and gold had numerous issues on both sides of the ball, ranking 124th in scoring offense and 125th in scoring defense — out of 128 total FBS competitors.

Second year coach Everett Withers continues to maneuver the building blocks into a hopeful construction of Texas State winning success, but hasn’t quite found anything that is durable. The Bobcats are struggling with their identity and will have to prove they’re a viable option for potential recruits by nabbing some wins in the Sun Belt conference.

Key Losses
QB Tyler Jones, OT Ryan Melton, C Giuliano Cattaneo, G Felix Romero

Four-year starting quarterback Tyler Jones played his final season in a Texas State uniform, finishing his Bobcat career with 8,501 yards for 55 TDs with an average 62.6% completion rate — the highest mark in the conference.

A chief concern will be tutoring an inexperienced line that allowed 44 sacks in 12 games in 2016. Expect numerous freshman prospects to fill vacancies along the offensive front.

Key Returners
Wide receiver depth, RB Stedman Mayberry, LB Bryan London

Junior running back Stedman Mayberry lead the team in rushing last season with 593 yards and touchdowns (5). Mayberry will have to compete with six other potential starting running backs on Texas State’s roster. The offense will also see the return of their top seven pass catchers; key among the group are Tyler Watts (team leading 43 catches) and Elijah King (team leading 453 yards).

Inside linebackers Bryan London (141 tackles, second in the FBS) and Gabe Loyd (102 tackles) did what they could for the defense, but the unit sacrificed 41.1 points per game behind shoddy play of the secondary and defensive front.

Verdict

Texas State is in a tricky spot; they reside in the middle of Austin and San Antonio — both cities attractive destinations for high school prospects and collegiate transfers. Because of a spillover, San Marcos looks to rebound with the best signing class in their conference. Coach Withers first official signing class accumulated 11 three-star recruits and Mississippi quarterback transfer Damien Williams – next year’s presumed starter.

The poor roster of last year’s 2-10 squad was hindered by undersized players and lack of speed; this year’s class should rectify those flaws, but just barely. Expect an extra “W” or two until the roster becomes more adapted to the second-year coach’s methodology.

Prediction: 3-9

 

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