Our attention turns to maybe the most talented position group on the entire UAB football team with the linebackers.
There are 14 players listed as linebackers on UAB’s roster, but that doesn’t include Shaq Jones and Darryl Waters who are listed as defensive lineman for some reason.
However, Jones is by far the leader of this group and possibly the leader of the entire team. He’s one of the few starters who actually stuck around after the program was shutdown. He had several offers to go play right away at other schools, but as soon as he heard the UAB football program was coming back he knew he wanted to stay with the Blazers.
Jones was third on the team in tackles in 2014 with 50, and was second on the team with 9.5 tackles for a loss and third with 3 sacks. A lot is expected from the senior this year, and I think he delivers in a big way.
Another senior linebacker also stuck around to play for the Blazers in Tevin Crews. He had 33 tackles in 2014 with 2 sacks and 3 tackles for a loss in 2014.
Crews and Jones will most likely start as outside linebackers, and should help form the best position group on the team.
At inside linebacker will be junior Zachary Williams. He spent two years at Copiah-Lincoln CC where he racked up 114 tackles over that span.
Another possible starter in this group is junior Noah Jones. He originally signed with Michigan State before spending a few years at Pearl River CC. The 6-foot-4, 245 pound linebacker was a 3-star recruit out of high school as a defensive tackle.
Chris Woolbright is also competing for playing time. In 2015 he had 44 tackles at Fresno City College, and in 2014 he racked up 30 tackles and 3 tackles for a loss as a freshman.
Another junior in the mix is Craig Kanyangarara. He was a 3-star recruit coming out of Scottsdale CC where he had 98 tackles and 22 tackles for a loss in two seasons.
A little undersized at 5-foot-11, but walk-on sophomore Fitzgerald Mofor impressed early in fall camp and could earn some playing time.
And of course there is true freshman Thomas Johnston, brother of quarterback Tyler Johnston, who is one of the best recruits to commit to UAB. The 3-star linebacker has also been impressive early on in fall camp, and could push for playing time right away.
Late arrivals Tre Crawford and Adrienne Talan entered fall camp behind the eight ball, but could also be in the mix.
That’s 11 guys I mentioned who could all play at linebacker for UAB this fall. I think the coaching staff would feel comfortable with just about any of those guys on the field as well, which is why this is the best unit on the team.