UAB looks to make a splash in the inaugural football early signing period with many key targets in their sight

For the first time ever college football will have an early signing period that will begin on December 20 running through December 22. College basketball has had an early singing period for many years, but for various reasons football had been denying the inevitable.

Some talking heads argue it takes away from the luster and the drama of the spring singing period, which fuels the sports media content world for months. I’ve seen a take or two out there claiming that it leaves athletes exposed given the nature of the coaching changes following the college football season.

The argument for it is it gives the athletes an option to sign and enroll early in the Spring giving them a head start in their development — if in fact they plan to graduate early in December which, more and more are starting to do. The power schools in the past have had the luxury of sitting back and waiting to see how their classes are panning out before they dip into the pools of the lower level recruits.

For UAB specifically, the early period will give them an opportunity to continue to build their depth with JUCOs (yes, we are still recovering from the shut down) and most importantly sign some high priority high school players who may be at risk of being poached in the spring as the bigger schools work out their classes. If we are talking the Group of Five only the early signing period should be mostly a positive change that will help shrink the margin between the haves and have-nots.

If I can be candid for a moment, I find this first 72 hour early period extremely interesting and entertaining because no one really knows what’s going to happen, and as a result a ton of positive and negative consequences are going to result. In this first go at it, it’s going to be a circus, especially higher up the food chain. Speaking of the higher-ups, they apparently have been going through a decommitment crisis because of the looming early signing period.

Now that we are all up to speed, let’s take a look at UAB’s 2018 targets and hash out who we may think will sign in the early period and who may hold out until the spring. Of course, there are always some players out there that are so under the radar that we don’t hear of their recruitment, so don’t be shocked if an unknown or two pops up this week.

Target Outlook


Carter Wood ¦ 6-foot-4, 285 pounds ¦ Offensive Tackle ¦Mississippi Gulf Coast CC

Prediction: Signs in the early period

Myron Mitchell ¦ 6-foot, 180 pounds ¦ 3 Star Wide Receiver ¦ Butler CC

Prediction: Signs in the early period

Colby Ragland ¦ 6-foot-6, 295 pounds ¦ 2 Star Offensive Tackle ¦ Jones County JC

Prediction: Signs in the early period

Austin Watkins Jr. ¦ 6-foot-3, 200 pounds ¦ 2 Star Wide Receiver ¦ Dodge City CC

Prediction: Signs in the early period

Orlando Victor ¦ 6-foot-5, 310 pounds ¦ Offensive Tackle/Guard ¦ Trinity Valley CC

Prediction: Signs in the early period

Kevion McGee ¦ 5-foot-10, 180 pounds ¦ Defensive Back ¦ NE Oklahoma A&M

Prediction: Signs in the early period

Jequaries Martin ¦ 6-foot-4, 240 pounds ¦ Outside linebacker ¦ Independence CC

Prediction: Signs in the early period

Emmit Gooden ¦ 6-foot-4, 310 pounds ¦ Defensive Tackle ¦ Independence CC

Prediction: Anyone’s guess at this point. It looks like it’s down to UAB and Memphis, but there is still an outside chance he works something out with his eligibility and lands at a power school.

High School

Michael Fairbanks ¦ 6-foot-3, 250 pounds ¦ Defensive End ¦ McEachern High

Prediction: Signs in the early period

Dylan Hopkins ¦ 6-foot-3, 200 pounds ¦ 3 Star Quarterback ¦ Maryville High

Prediction: Signs in the early period

Danyton Thomas ¦ 6-foot, 185 pounds ¦ 2 Star Defensive Back ¦Beauregard High

Prediction: Signs in the early period

Deandre Butler ¦ 6-foot-3, 315 pounds ¦ Offensive Guard ¦ Opelika High

Prediction: Signs in the early period

 High School Spring Hold Outs

Nuru Tinch (RB)

Starling Thomas (CB)

Deshaun Oliver (S)

Jaylen Key (S)

Fish McWilliams (DT)

Jomond Foster (CB)

*We’re unclear how the Ole Miss transfer Jarrion Street, TaDarryl Marshall, and Kingston Davis are going to be classified, but both are expected to fulfill their commitments to UAB.