Tonight is the night where many young men’s dreams come true. They hear their named called into the NFL. It is a special night and UAB has two players from the dismantled team up for the draft tonight.

Jordan Howard

After the football team was torn apart in December 2014, Jordan Howard had to find somewhere to play. With two years of eligibility left, it was evident from the start that someone big would come find him. That someone would be Indiana out of the Big 10. Howard was given a great opportunity and immediate playing time at a school that was going to really need a big back.

Kentrell Brice, Beau Fitte, Nick Thomason, Houston Bates, Jordan Howard
(AP Photo/AL.com, Hal Yeager, File)

In his two years at UAB, Howard became an instant star. He would end up rushing for 2,468 yards (1,587 of those in 2014). He also had 155 receiving yards at UAB.

Then at Indiana, he saw his stock significantly increase. Plagued by a couple of injuries, Howard only played in nine games. In six of those games Howard showed off all he could. He amassed 1,213 rushing yards and 106 receiving yards. His best game came against Michigan where he rushed for 238 yards and 2 TDs.

At 6’0″ and 230 pounds, Howard has great power and the ability to lower the boom on secondaries. While he isn’t the fastest running back (4.59 40 yard) he can certainly get to the second level as quick as anyone else. It remains to be seen if he can stay healthy. However, he did not miss many games at UAB so he does know how to take care of his health.

Most people are saying he is around the 8th choice for running back, but UAB fans know he has great value. Don’t be surprised to see him go closer to No. 5.

Jake Ganus

Jake Ganus was an incredible linebacker with many talents at UAB. When UAB football was shut down, Georgia made a surprising pick up. But it did not take long for Ganus to prove himself to his new SEC teammates.

In his three years at UAB, Ganus lead the team twice in tackles. In 2014, he had 70 tackles including 47 solo and 16.5 tackles for a loss. He was 2nd in CUSA in tackles for a loss. One of his most memorable moments was a 56 yard fumble return for a touchdown against La Tech.

ganus.uab
uabsports.com

In Georgia he kept the momentum up. He knew he had something to prove coming from a smaller CUSA school to a big SEC school. He again led the Bulldogs in tackles at 102. He also had 5.0 tackles for a loss and 2 interceptions. He also earned Georgia’s Most Valuable Player award. Just a little icing on that, he had 10 tackles (2nd on the team) against No. 13 Alabama.

Listed at 6’1″ and 231 pounds, Ganus is definitely a little undersized for a linebacker. But that has not stopped him from being very productive. His biggest strength is his awareness. Ganus always seemed to find the right gap to meet the running back in. His best area is run protection where he can jump in gaps and get behind the line. Scouts say his weakness is his drop back defense. Being undersized is a concern for the NFL, based on the probability of missed tackles.

Right now they have him projected as an undrafted free agent, but I would look for him to sneak in to one of the late rounds. I know many teams need a leader who is smart on and off the field and won’t blow their shot.

Good luck Blazers — hope to hear your name called!