After signing 20-plus junior college prospects last month, the UAB football coaching staff will turn their attention to the February 2016 recruiting class. As the program continues to build itself back up, it’s extremely important that each new addition to the roster is ready to contribute in 2017 as there will be no shortage of playing time available.

UAB is allowed to sign 45 players for the 2016 recruiting class, meaning they will be able to pick up an additional 24 or so prospects in February. Let’s take a quick look at the seven committed players who are expected to sign:

· Maquedius “Quay” Bain – 6’4, 300 pounds. Defensive tackle. Pear River C.C. in Poplarsville, MS
· Earl Chambers – 6’2 195 pounds. Safety. Merced College in Merced, CA
· Jonathan Charles – 6’1 240 pounds. Inside linebacker. Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys, CA
· Tyler Johnston – 6’2 212 pounds. Dual threat quarterback. Spanish Fort High School
· Andrew Marshall – 6’8 360 pounds. Offensive tackle. Globe Institute of Technology in New York, NY
· Tyler Marshall – 6’5 225 pounds. Pro style quarterback. Northview High School in Dothan, AL
· Darryl Waters – 6’4 245 pounds. Strongside defensive end. Coffeyville C.C. in Coffeyville, KS

While the December signing class consisted of only junior college players, you’ll see – beginning with the list above – that the staff will look to begin sprinkling in a few high school prospects here and there to balance out the classes. The players who stuck around after the shutdown, along with transfers and the 2016 signing class, will very much be the core of the team you’ll see on the field in 2017. The players who signed in December have already begun arriving on campus and will start working out as a unit soon.

So who else has expressed interest in signing with UAB in February? It was announced on Twitter earlier this week that Andre Wilson, a 5’10 175 pound wide receiver from Trinity Valley Community College, has set up an official visit to UAB, but the date is unknown at this time. Besides that, there are a lot of other moving pieces that should begin to come together in the next couple of weeks.

A couple of names I’d keep an eye on are Ronnie Turner, Chris Hawkins, Vitas Hrynkiewicz, Montavious Smoke, and Xavier Ubosi. Ronnie Turner is a junior college wide receiver who just so happens to be the brother of Michael Turner; whom just committed to UAB a few weeks back. The rest are also junior college prospects and have expressed interest in UAB previously.

Lastly, let’s not forget about the 2017 recruiting class. Who has stood out early? The biggest name by far is Thomas Johnston. Johnston is a 6’2 215 pound outside linebacker who is the brother of UAB QB commit, Tyler Johnston. He already boasts offers from some of the top programs in the country including: Auburn, LSU, Clemson, Iowa, and many more. UAB will need his brother Tyler to do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of recruiting him to the Southside!

Other names that stand out early are Spanish Fort High School strongside defensive end, Justin Thomas, as well as Gardendale High School wide receiver Kevin Howard. Howard, especially, has been very pro-UAB on Twitter and is rumored to have a visit setup sometime later this month.

Finally, D’Najee Whosendove is another high school prospect who has expressed early interest in the Blazers. The 6’0 170 pound safety recently listed UAB in his “top 6” along with Clemson, Georgia Southern, Eastern Michigan, Charlotte, and Presbyterian College.

More to come later…