(July 17, 2017) -- Four University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) football players have been honored before the season has even begun. Matt Bayliss, Marcus Davenport, Austin Pratt and Josiah Tauaefa all were named to the Preseason All-Conference USA Team, the league office announced today. The four honorees mark the highest number of players to be recognized prior to a season in program history.
Bayliss, who earned honorable mention all-conference accolades a year ago, handled every one of the team’s deep snaps in all 13 games as a junior. The Tulsa, Okla., native did not have one errant snap in 131 attempts (69 punts/45 PATs/17 FGs) and he also registered four special teams tackles and a fumble recovery during the 2016 campaign. UTSA's kickers connected on 43 PATs and 12 field goals, while punter Yannis Routsas averaged 42 yards per punt with 11 traveling at least 50 yards, 17 landing inside the 20-yard line and 22 resulting in fair catches. At 6-foot-7, Bayliss is the tallest deep snapper in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Meanwhile, Davenport, a second-team performer as a junior, played in all 13 games (12 starts) and led the Roadrunners' defensive linemen with 68 tackles (31 solos/37 assists), including 10 for loss, and he also had team-leading marks of 6.5 sacks and a program-record eight QB hurries. The San Antonio native finished the season strong by posting 38 stops, seven TFLs and 4.5 sacks in the final six outings. He was an honorable mention all-conference choice two years ago as a sophomore and he comes into his final season ranked second on the school's career tackles for loss and sacks charts (20.5/13.5) and third on the single-season lists (10.0/6.5 both in 2016)
Pratt started 12 games at both guard (7) and center (5) as a junior and blocked for an offense that averaged 29.2 points, 161.8 rushing yards and 213.6 passing yards per contest, as the team featured a pair of 800-yard rushers who combined to score 17 touchdowns.
Tauaefa had an outstanding debut season at linebacker that saw him earn Freshman All-America, Conference USA's Freshman of the Year and first-team all-conference laurels. The Corinth native led the Roadrunners with a program single-season record 115 tackles last fall and he also racked up nine TFLs, six sacks, seven QB hurries and an interception. He also ranked second among Football Bowl Subdivision freshmen in tackles a year ago.
Led by second-year head coach Frank Wilson, UTSA is coming off last fall's six-win campaign that saw it play in the first bowl game in program history at the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
The Roadrunners will open fall camp in two weeks and their season opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Alamodome against Houston.
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