We pick back up on our UAB football positional previews with the defensive line group.
There are 15 players listed as defensive lineman on UAB’s current roster, but one of those names is linebacker Shaq Jones. I have not heard any news of him switching to the defensive line, but it’s possible we see him get down as an edge rusher at some point.
The leader on the defensive line appears to be junior Anthony Rush. He was listed as a 3-star junior college prospect out of Northeast Mississippi CC. At 6-foot-5, 340 pounds, he’ll be a beast in the middle of the Blazers’ defensive line.
Teko Powell is another big defensive tackle at 6-foot-3, 320 pounds. He is a transfer from Illinois where he had 34 totals tackles in 19 games. The senior should be another anchor in the middle of the line.
Stacy Keely is a tall defensive end at 6-foot-7, but coaches would like him to gain some more weight. The roster lists him at 240, but coaches want him even heavier. The junior spent the last two seasons at Iowa Western CC where he had 10 sacks in 18 games and 29 tackles for a loss. He will be an important edge rusher for UAB, and with his height he’ll be able to disrupt passing lanes.
Beyond those three, we really don’t know much.
Redshirt sophomore Garrett Marino originally signed with Arizona State, but ended up at Montana State before committing to UAB. At 6-foot-2, 280 pounds he’ll be competing for time at defensive tackle.
Out of Luverne, Ala., junior Quindarius Thagard is battling Keely for the starting job at defensive end. Thagard spent the 2015 season at Itawamba where he had 8 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks as a sophomore. The 6-foot-4, 285 pound Thagard has the size and quickness to play on the edge.
Michael Wright and Isaiah Sampson will also be competing for playing time at defensive end.
Jay Chisolm, Bentley Easley and Roderick McKinney will also be battling for playing time on the defensive line.
Darryl Waters is another player listed as a defensive lineman on the UAB roster, but will most likely be up at linebacker. But he and Jones could both get down on the line on occasion if they decide to use four down lineman.
This is another group that should be older and experienced with just three of the 15 guys listed as defensive lineman on the roster being either a freshman or sophomore.
As I said, we really haven’t heard much out of this group during fall practice, so it’s kind of hard to know what to expect. But like all of these guys coach Clark has recruited, they have the talent to come out and compete right away, and I think the players on the defensive line are no different.