Dalton Sturm, the hometown hero of Commanders training camp

Dalton Sturm, the hometown hero of Commanders training camp

 

By Cole Thompson, San Antonio Commanders Team Reporter

SAN ANTONIO — Dalton Sturm is coming home. His drive to the office is just 17 miles from where he spent four seasons on the local roster. Drafted by the San Antonio Commanders with the team’s final selection of The Alliance’s QB Protect or Pick Draft, some would consider him a longshot to make the team’s final 52-man roster.

It’s nothing new for Sturm, he’s been down this road his entire career. New team, new scheme, same story. Before becoming the University of Texas at San Antonio’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns and quarterback rating, Sturm was a walk on from Goliad, Texas, just looking to earn a roster spot.

“At this point, it’s similar to everywhere I’ve been,” Sturm said. “You’ve got a lot of talent level out here as you would anywhere else. The practices are similar as well. We have drills, walk through and then meetings in the evening. I’m just trying to do the best for myself while growing.”

After his senior season with at Goliad High School, Sturm’s options for college were slim. While several FCS level programs offered him a guaranteed roster spot, the 6-foot-1 signal caller wanted to play for a larger program. Taking a chance and trusting his skills, Sturm enrolled into UTSA, hoping to win the quarterback battle in camp.

Working rigorously through two seasons, Sturm was focused on getting a scholarship. After a career-ending concussion suffered by Blake Bogenschutz during his sophomore season, Sturm was asked by then coach Larry Coker to finish the season. He would start the team’s final seven games, throwing for 1,354 and 13 touchdowns.

But a new era was beginning with the Roadrunners program. In 2016, UTSA named LSU running back coach Frank Wilson their new head coach. Wilson wanted to bring his own vision to the program, allowing transfer quarterback Jared Johnson to compete for the starting quarterback job.

The pair would battle throughout training camp, working to impress Wilson for a chance to lead the Roadrunners to victory. In the end, Sturm’s knowledge of the playbook gave him the edge, winning the battle before the team’s game season opener against Alabama State.

Along with Commanders wide receiver Josh Stewart, Sturm would go on to break records inside the Alamodome. The pair would combine for 75 receptions, 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns over the course of two seasons while leading UTSA to their first ever bowl game in 2016.

“I’m really lucky,” Sturm said. “Having already built some chemistry with several of these guys is really helpful for me. Knowing where they’re going to be coming out of their breaks has been great.”

Following his senior season, Sturm signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, the wear and tear from his days at UTSA caught up to him. Forced to require elbow surgery, Sturm was limited to participation during Cowboys camp and was released during the team’s second wave of cuts.

When The Alliance formed, it gave Sturm another opportunity. Undergoing a second surgery, Sturm would miss all of minicamp in order to prep for the start of the season. Fully healthy, he now is ready for his opportunity to prove the doubters wrong again and potentially return to a NFL roster.

“I love Dalton,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “Dalton’s got a good story behind him. He walked on, won the spot, won games, has records at school. I think he’s got a lot of self confidence and I think he understands the quarterback position.”

The quarterback battle in San Antonio is beginning to pick up momentum and Sturm is right in the heat of the battle. Everyday correcting mistakes and growing in the team’s shotgun formation, the hometown product is working to better understand his offense and stay in conversation for the team’s starting position.

Everything is new for Sturm, which he enjoys. It’s fresh start in a new offense to help further his playing career. Timing is everything and Sturm hopes to continue to build on it with his receivers throughout training camp.

For now, Sturm is content with his position. Perhaps best known for his acrobatic touchdown run against the University of Alabama-Birmingham in 2017, Sturm is ready to return to the Alamodome and continue to make memories now donning the maroon and red colors.

“I’m excited to be back and playing ball here in San Antonio,” Sturm said. “I can’t wait to get back into the dome and play some ball.”

The San Antonio Commanders are in training camp throughout January. The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins Saturday, February 9, when the Commanders host the San Diego Fleet at the Alamodome. You can get tickets at: SanAntonioCommanders.com/tickets