It was nearly two years ago today that Bill Clark announced and celebrated his inaugural recruiting class with UAB supporters at Iron City in downtown Birmingham. Tomorrow he’ll hold a similar event, but under a completely different set of circumstances.
On Wednesday, February 5, 2014, Coach Clark announced the signing of 22 talented prospects who eventually helped UAB reach bowl eligibility for only the second time in school history. Sadly, none of these players remain on UAB’s football roster, which has seen both it’s own death and resurrection over the course of the last two years.
A lot has happened since then, but one thing has remained the same – Bill Clark still holds the title of head coach. His vision for this program has not changed and his faith has never dwindled. With the city of Birmingham now behind him, he continues to piece together, day-by-day, a roster that will be one of the best to take the field for the Blazers in 2017.
*Here’s a quick preview of what to expect and a few predictions thrown in just for fun.
UAB has a total of 21 players committed who are expected to sign. This group consists of 17 JUCO and 4 high school prospects. Since UAB has only experienced a total of three decomittments during this recruiting period, it’s fairly safe to assume that all 21 players presently committed will sign on Wednesday. The real question is who else could put on a UAB cap and provide some signing day drama?
- Justin Brown: 6-foot, 186 pound cornerback from Parker High in Birmingham, AL
- This one is a long shot and would be a shock to MTSU fans. Brown was first offered by UAB in mid-January, but he has been committed to the Blue Raiders since last summer. Even with UAB and Troy knocking down his door he has remained committed to MTSU, the first Division 1 school to offer him.
- Prediction: MTSU. Brown sticks with the Blue Raiders despite a valiant last second effort from the UAB coaching staff.
- Jonathan Charles: 6-foot, 240 pound insider linebacker from Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys, Calif.
- Charles first committed to UAB back in late November before reversing his decision two months later. Since then, he has received offers from Western Michigan, Prairie View A&M, Sioux Falls, Charleston Southern, and Virginia Union. Cal has also expressed interest in him. The only official visit he has taken besides UAB is to Southern Illinois on the weekend of January 22.
- Prediction: UAB. My gut tells me Charles got cold feet and wanted to see what else was out there for him. Although he has received interest from Cal, they have not extended him an offer. I think he re-evaluates his situation and ultimately chooses to sign with the Blazers.
- Demetrius Davis: 5-foot-10, 175 pound athlete from Huffman High in Birmingham, AL
- The local high school prospect recently listed UAB in his top three along with Troy and Western Kentucky. He has visited all three schools this month and will have a lot to think about before making his decision tomorrow. Troy has a member of their coaching staff, former UAB assistant coach Cornelius Williams, who has developed a close relationship with him. Western Kentucky is an established program coming off a Conference USA Championship this past season. Finally, UAB brings a level of excitement and an opportunity to make history for his home town. Davis said on social media last Friday that he planned on announcing his decision the next day. He later pushed back his announcement to National Signing Day.
- Prediction: UAB. I think Davis pushing his decision back favors UAB as it would have made sense for him to commit to WKU if he did in fact visit them.
- Jordan Johnson: 5-foot-11, 190 pound athlete from Terry High in Terry, Miss.
- Johnson visited UAB this past weekend and was offered a scholarship on Sunday morning. He was one of only two players from this past weekend to not give Coach Clark a verbal commitment.
- Prediction: Jackson State. Johnson is from Miss. and I think he will want to remain loyal to Jackson State, where he has been committed for a few weeks.
- Kendall Sawyer: 5-foot-11, 175 pound corner back from Arizona Western College in Yuma, AZ
- The former USF Bull was a teammate of UAB outside linebacker Clifton Garrett at Arizona Western Community College. Not a lot of information has been made available on Sawyer’s recruiting process, but he has been offered by UAB. Members of the coaching staff still follow him on social media, and it can only help that he has a previous relationship with Garrett.
- Prediction: UAB.
- Montavious Smoke: 6-foot-1, 182 pound cornerback from Highland Community College in Highland, KS
- The former Stanhope Elmore standout has been very pro UAB since visiting campus back in December. He holds offers from UAB, UNLV, Northern Iowa, Tennessee Martin, and Tennessee State. An article came out mid-January talking about his overall process and stating he had yet to decide on where he would be playing next.
- Prediction: UAB. The Alabama native returns home to finish out his college career mainly due to his relationship with the Blazer’s coaching staff.
- Malik Williams: 6-foot-3, 215 pound running back from Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif.
- Arguably the most talented player to visit UAB during this recruiting period, Williams recently listed the Blazers in his top five along with Louisville, Purdue, Texas State, and Southeast Louisiana. Louisville and Purdue have been recruiting him hard, so you know there’s got to be something special about his talent.
- Prediction: Louisville. UAB comes in a close second.
- Jake Verity: 6-foot-2, 170 pound kicker from Bremen High in Bremen, GA
- Here’s a prospect who didn’t come onto the scene until late. He holds offers from UAB, ECU, and Marshall. He visited Marshall this past weekend. UAB has Nick Vogel, the first player to transfer back to the program after it was announced it would be coming back, but Verity would make the contest for kicker and possibly punter very compelling.
- Prediction: Marshall. The last school to get a visit usually has the upper hand. He hasn’t committed yet, but I think he’ll choose Marshall with ECU putting up a good fight.
Other Targets and Predictions:
- Robert Adams – Samford
- Maquedius Bain – UNT
- Lanard Bonner – MTSU
- Anthony Cruz – Bethune Cookman
- Chris Hawkins – Buffalo
- William Johnson – UNT
- Brian Keyes – UNLV
- Cameron Mackey – Youngstown State
- Andrew Marshall – Akron
- Shawn Poindexter – Marshall
- Joseph Putu – Arkansas
- Brandon Rogers – Marshall
- Buddy Tuamasaga – Houston Baptist
Spring 2016 Commitment List:
- Tarik Ballard 6-foot-5, 260 pound tight end/linebacker from Feather River Community College in Quincy, Calif.
- Anthony “A.J.” Brooks 6-foot-2, 200 pound running back from Gavilan College in Gilroy, Calif.
- Earl Chambers 6-foot-2, 195 pound safety from Merced College in Merced, Calif.
- Corey Davis 6-foot-2, 210 pound wide receiver/halfback from East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, MS
- Tyler Haddock 6-foot-0, 290 pound defensive tackle from California University of Pennsylvania in California, PA
- Kendrick Hair 6-foot-5, 300 pound defensive tackle from Pearl River College in Poplarville, MS
- Jordan Jamison 6-foot-7, 320 pound offensive tackle from Lafayette High in Oxford, MS
- Malique Johnson 6-foot-3, 315 pound offensive guard from Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, IA
- Tyler Johnston 6-foot-2, 212 pound dual threat quarterback from Spanish Fort High in Spanish Fort, AL
- Dacorius “D.J.” Law 5-foot-10, 190 pound running back from East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, MS
- Donnie Lee 6-foot-2, 215 pound strong safety from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, AR
- Tyler Marshall 6-foot-5, 225 pound pro style quarterback from Northview High in Dothan, AL
- Garrison Mitchell 6-foot-1, 193 pound defensive back/wide receiver from Blinn College in Beaumont, TX
- Raylon Richardson 6-foot-5, 185 pound wide receiver from Miller Grove High in Lithonia, GA
- Ronnie Turner 6-foot-4, 190 pound wide receiver from Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif.
- Darryl Waters 6-foot-4, 245 pound strongside defensive end from Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, KS
- Andre Wilson 5-foot-10, 175 pound wide receiver from Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, TX
- Marquis Wimberly 6-foot, 200 pound wide receiver from Chaffey C.C. in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
- Chris Woolbright 6-foot-3, 230 pound outside linebacker from Fresno City College in Fresno, Calif.
- Michael Wright 6-foot-4, 250 pound defensive end from Blinn College in Beaumont, TX
- Xavier Ubosi 6-foot-4, 200 pound wide receiver from Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.
- *Keontre’ Toles 5-foot-9, 235 pound linebacker from Lafayette High in Oxford, MS
- *Kylen Binn 6-foot-6, 230 pound quarterback from Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, KS
- *Luke Long 6-foot-3, 290 pound offensive guard from Glencoe High in Gadsden, AL
- *Denzel Mitchell 5-foot-10, 197 pound running back from Hamilton High in Hamilton, AL
* Players are expected to sign as preferred walk-ons