We are still a good ways away from the UAB Blazers football team taking the field, but it’s never too soon to start speculating who will be the starting quarterback to begin the 2017 season.
UAB currently has four quarterbacks listed in its 2016 signing class. Sederian Copeland is a junior college transfer who is listed as an athlete/quarterback, and A.J. Erdely is another junior college transfer. Tyler Marshall is a high school recruit who is listed as either a tight end or quarterback. Tyler Johnston was named the Coastal Player of the Year in Alabama for 2015 after helping Spanish Fort win the Class 6A state title.
In 11 games with Tyler Junior College this year Copeland passed for 1,833 yards and 20 touchdowns, while rushing for 504 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is listed at 6-foot even and 180 pounds so it’s possible he could be moved to running back or wide receiver depending on what the Blazers options are at those positions. Head Coach Bill Clark originally looked at him as a receiver, but after seeing him play quarterback they decided to bring him on at that position.
Copeland also received honorable mention for the 2015 National Junior College Athletic Association All-American team. It sounds like if he doesn’t win the quarterback job in 2017 he will be a very dynamic play-maker in the Blazers’ offense.
In 11 games with Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2015 Erdely threw for 1,881 yards and 14 touchdowns, while only throwing 3 interceptions. He originally signed with Middle Tennessee State out of high school, but after being used sparingly in a wildcat formation his redshirt freshman season he transferred to junior college where he could throw the ball gain.
He’s listed at 6-foot, 3-inches and 215 pounds, but he’s become more of a drop-back, pocket passer. Clark praised his ability to lead as he led Mississippi Gulf Coast to an 8-3 record this year. Unlike Copeland, it’s quarterback or bust for Erdely so he’ll be in full competition for the job.
Marshall was the Blazers first high school commit for the 2016 signing class. From Dothan, Ala., the Northview High School quarterback is list around 6-foot, 5-inches and between 225 and 240 pounds, and he is already being looked at as a tight end.
I think Marshall eventually ends up at tight end and doesn’t factor into the quarterback competition for the 2017 season. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him used in a wildcat formation.
The 6-foot, 2-inch and 212 pound quarterback from Spanish Fort, Ala. is listed as a three-star dual threat quarterback by 247Sports. He passed for 3,619 yard and 39 touchdowns, while rushing for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns as he helped lead his team to a perfect 15-0 season and a Class 6A state title.
He missed nine games during his junior season with an ACL injury, but he won all 35 games for Spanish Fort in which he started at quarterback. Johnston racked up almost 11,000 total yards and 128 touchdowns in his high school career. The guy just sounds like a great competitor.
The one downside about Johnston is his injury problems. He had the ACL injury his junior year, and then he suffered an elbow injury during the playoffs this season. Dr. James Andrews thinks he could avoid surgery, but at least if he does have to have it this January he should be ready when the Blazers take the field in 2017.
Another name to watch is junior college transfer Michael Turner who is expected to be a walk-on at UAB. He is listed as pro-style quarterback who threw for a school record 35 touchdowns in 2014 for Hartnell Junior College.
If we’re picking a starter for the 2017 season right now, I’d have to go with Erdely as he has the most college experience. Long-term for the Blazers I think Johnston is the guy. I just really like his competitive nature and think he will be a gamer for UAB.
If Copeland really impresses this spring when they start practicing, he may get a shot to run the offense, but I think Coach Clark will take advantage of his skill set elsewhere on the field. I think it’s a done deal that Marshall will be moved to tight end, and Turner sounds like a depth addition at this point.
So there you have it – the Blazers 2017 starting quarterback will be A.J. Erdely.
Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments sections below and on Twitter @UABBlazerBloggn.