Accompanying  UAB football head coach Bill Clark at the 2017 Conference USA Football Kickoff July 19-20 in Dallas will be offensive lineman Chris Schlueger and linebacker Shaq Jones.

Both are redshirt seniors. Jones remained at UAB after the program was shutdown, and will be a leader on defense this season. He was third on the team in tackles in 2014 and will have a huge role in the defenses’ success or failure this year.

Schlueger will be playing with his third team in four years. He started his college career at Iowa Western Community College in 2014. There he helped lead his team to the NJCAA national championship game. Then he spent 2015 at Northern Iowa where he played in all 14 of the team’s games. He started eight games at left tackle and helped Northern Iowa produce two 1,000 yard rushers that season.

Both Schlueger and Jones will be foundational pieces on their respective sides of the football in 2017. They will need to quickly become leaders for a group of players that have experience, but haven’t played in a while — and haven’t ever played together in a real game.

Last year the Conference USA Kickoff was aired on ESPN3, but I have not seen that announcement yet this year.

Keep an eye out this week as the conference prepares for kickoff for the 2017 season, and this time that includes UAB football.