by Pat Turner, goUTSA.com contributing writer
SAN ANTONIO — The seed for Scott Inskeep was planted several years ago at Morris Middle School in McAllen.
Although Inskeep was making his football debut on the seventh grade team, coach Bill Cameron was so impressed by the offensive lineman’s size and athletic ability that he encouraged him to keep pushing forward.
From what Cameron saw, this was a college football player in the making.
Inskeep took the advice and ran with it.
An impressive career at McAllen High School followed and he’s now made the dream of playing college football become a reality as a three-year starting offensive guard for UTSA.
“It was weird,” Inskeep said. “Coach (Cameron) called me from workouts and sat me down. He told me if I hit the weight room and worked hard, I could do it. I wanted do it and I had to deliver.”
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound junior has delivered in a big way.
In addition to making a name for himself with the Roadrunners, he’s received recognition from the outside.
A year ago, Inskeep earned second-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors.
When UTSA moved to Conference USA this season, Inskeep’s reputation already was known, as league coaches selected him to the preseason first team and he also landed on the preseason watch list for the Lombardi Award, which recognizes the nation’s top interior lineman.
Even with the encouragement from his coaches and success during his early years, Inskeep still had to prove he was college material to recruiters. After all, the Rio Grande Valley isn’t exactly considered a hot spot for NCAA Division I talent, but he was determined to prove he was worthy of that opportunity.
It all has paid off in the end.
When Inskeep started manhandling any defender who got in his way, the attention started coming, especially from UTSA.
There were opportunities from schools outside the Lone Star State, but the one that caught Inskeep’s attention the most was UTSA. Not only was the school closer to home than the others making offers, but being part of a new program and getting a chance to play quickly was hard to turn down.
“I loved the environment when I visited here,” Inskeep said. “Everyone was cool and the coaches were great. They knew what they were doing and were supportive. I met the other players and knew we were all going to mesh as a team and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”
His first year, however, wasn’t too exciting.
Because UTSA didn’t begin playing until 2011, the inaugural signing class went through a redshirt season with the only action being scrimmages against one another.
Although it was grueling at times, getting accustomed to the college football atmosphere helped Inskeep come into his own as a lineman.
“Anyone who was there knows how rough that first year was for us,” he said. “We were here seven days a week and always scrimmaging against one another. You had to stay positive, but we all got through it and bonded from that.
“It was the best thing for us. I had a whole year of coaching. If I had been anywhere else, I would have been told to run the other team’s offense (on the scout team). I had a good coach who worked with me on my steps and everything. It was a grind, but I just put one foot in front of the other and did it.”
During the past two-plus years, Inskeep has become a force while protecting senior quarterback Eric Soza and the rest of the backfield, as evident by the accolades he has received. That recognition has inspired him to make an even bigger presence this season.
“It’s great motivation,” Inskeep said. “I appreciate it, but, now that I have it, I have to show up and play every day. So far, it’s going well. I’m using my experience and trying to do the same things, but just do them better.”
While his strength and explosion off the ball are pluses, his camaraderie with the other teammates manning the front has made his job go much smoother.
No doubt their ability to connect has made a difference. A year ago, the unit allowed just seven sacks (the first came against today’s opponent Rice in the sixth game), an accomplished that ranked second nationally.
For Inskeep, that was a huge breakthrough for the entire line.
“We were really going good last year,” he said. “It helped us for this year. We’ve bonded more and trust each other. We’re taking care of the little things.”
Inskeep knows the Roadrunners have their work cut out for them. Following today’s contest, there still are games with UAB, Tulsa, Tulane, North Texas and Louisiana Tech, but he expects the Roadrunners to give it their all, just like they have since the beginning.
“We all know we can have a good year,” Inskeep said. “We’re going to put it all together but have to keep taking care of the little things. We have to put our head down and one foot in front of the other.”
Whatever happens, Inskeep has the assurance of knowing his dream came true. No doubt his coaches, friends and family in the Rio Grande Valley are proud of his accomplishments.
“It definitely was a challenge to get noticed, but I kept working, hoping and praying it would happen,” said Inskeep, who was also a three-time all-state wrestling performer at McAllen High, where he posted a 154-17 record in the heavyweight division. “It’s been great to get this chance. All my friends from the Valley are very supportive. My mom is a big fan. She always is running around there yelling ‘UT’ and hoping someone says ‘SA.’ It’s nice to have the support down there.”