Frank Harris announced last year that he would return to UTSA in 2023, in part due to an NIL deal. Harris, a seventh year senior, hopes a stellar 2023 season could bolster his NFL Draft chances while he earns money for his stardom.
“I think it was a great opportunity for me and I just wasn’t ready to move on just yet,” Harris told the media. “The NFL wasn’t looking, you know, too convincing for me. I’ll just leave it at that. And I think as a great opportunity for me like I said, I mean, this is a unique bond that we have with the coaching staff, with my teammates, and there is something different at UTSA.”
Even if Harris doesn’t develop into a first-round NFL pick, the left-handed quarterback’s return impacts Group of Five college football tremendously.
He’s one of the few Group of Five talents with Heisman Trophy betting odds, as he’s viewed in the same upper echelon of Group of Five quarterbacks as players like Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall.
Huge boost in Year 1 of the AAC
Harris will lead UTSA from Conference USA into the AAC, arguably the top conference at the Group of Five level. His return takes a strong UTSA team and elevates them immediately to the short list of AAC contenders, joining programs like Tulane.
Head Coach Jeff Traylor has led the Roadrunners to 30 wins in his three seasons as head coach, including consecutive double-digit win seasons. He’s recruiting Texas well, and he’s building one of the more entertaining Group of Five teams in the country.
While winning double-digit games in C-USA is nothing to scoff at, the AAC represents a step up in competition, even with several standout schools (UCF, Houston, and Cincinnati) leaving for the Big 12. If Traylor’s program makes a run at 10 wins in 2023, the Roadrunners will garner national recognition for the accomplishment.
With Harris, a 10-win season looks possible, but UTSA’s schedule is a gauntlet. The Roadrunners have non-conference road games against Houston and Tennessee, and the program’s final AAC contest of the year is a road game against Tulane. It won’t be easy to reach 10 victories again in 2023, but Harris makes the goal attainable.
NFL dreams still alive
Harris’ stats at the college level are impressive, as he’s posted three consecutive seasons with at least 500 rushing yards. In his last two seasons, he’s thrown for 59 touchdowns and over 7,000 yards.
Despite strong numbers, Harris wasn’t considered a top NFL Draft prospect at the position last year. Guys like Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, Anthony Richardson, and Hendon Hooker were all viewed as top-tier prospects.
With another year of strong production, Harris could turn his NFL Draft dreams into a reality. His age could be viewed as a downside, but the experienced quarterback is a dynamic athlete with impressive accuracy. He might not become a Day 1 selection, but it would be surprising if Harris performs well in 2023 and doesn’t at least get selected late in the 2024 NFL Draft, especially with him facing tougher competition in 2023.
Bennett Conlin is a college football contributor for HERO Sports, and he works full-time covering sports betting industry news and legislation for Sports Handle and US Bets.