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Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
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Ranger1386c Offline
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Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
Ranger’s Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019

2018 DEFENSIVE NOTES. UAB had 11 wins, a conference championship, set the team record for sacks (48) and tackles for loss (111). UAB was ninth in total defense nationally, third in sacks and third in tackles for loss and fourth in blocked punts, as well as fielding the 8th ranked scoring defense. Eight graduated 2018 defensive players - Marsean Diggs (safety), Broderick Thomas (safety), Anthony Rush (nose), Quindarius Thagard (DT), Stacy Keely (Jack), Tre Crawford (LB), and Jamell Garcia-Williams (Jack) - signed free agent NFL contracts.

Yet there were zero UAB defensive players on the first team post-season All C-USA awards and only two on the Second Team.


Suggested 2019 UAB Defensive Motto: “Underestimate us, again. That will be fun.”


ANTICPATED 2019 UAB DEFENSIVE DEPTH CHART
Following the structure of the UAB game roster for the bowl game, with an extra LB position.
Recruiting rankings are 24/7 Sports composites.
Opinions and forecasts are mine and subject to change based on future results.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
1. Garrett Marino, 6-2, 290, R-SR (2015, transfer, 2-star, 0.700 rating) 2018: 19 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1TD. You have to love this story. Marino is the lowest-rated scholarship player on UAB’s team. Recruiting experts, meh. Led CUSA interior defenders in pass rush win rate in 2018. Ran a fumble back for a TD against Tulane. A terror when healthy. A poster child for UAB player development. Quick and aggressive. He ate the lunch of several O-lines in 2018 (including UNT), and he was sorely missed after a mid-season injury slowed him. Marino will be the defensive line bell cow for 19. 2019 Athlon Preseason All-Conference selection (2nd team).
2. Tony Fair, R-JR, 6-3, 335 (2019, JUCO, 3-star, 0.8649 rating). Big, talented JUCO addition. Former 2018 Nebraska commit. Needs to get in shape but will likely see significant playing time in the rotation due to limited depth on the D-line. Chose UAB over Indiana and Nebraska.
3. Michael Fairbanks, 6-3, 275, R-FR (2018 3-star, 0.8104 rating): 2018 RS. High potential out of HS. Added 15 pounds in the off-season. Could be an impact player by SO season if he sees enough playing time this year. Chose UAB over offers from Air Force, army, Marshall, Arkansas State and others.
4. Ishmal Ball, 6-0, 290, R-JR (transfer walk on), practice squad
Graduated: Zach Williams

DEFENSIVE TACKLE/END
1. Rio Stanley, 6-2, 275, R-JR (2018 USF transfer, 3-star LB out of HS) Gained weight after arriving at USF as a LB and moved to DL. Looked good in UAB spring game. Forecasting as an early season starter due to his experience and quickness, but it’s only a guess at this stage. Tony Fair could also eventually own the starter role here if he gets in shape, as could Moultrie.
2. Antonio Moultrie, 6-4, 290, RS-O (2017 JUCO 2-star, 0.7667 rating) 2018: 2 tackles, RS. Former USM signee but went JUCO. High school team-mate of nose tackle Fish McWilliams. Good frame.
3. Joey Purifoy, 6-3, 245, R-SR (walkon) practice squad
4. Jammal Abrams, 6-2, 250, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8538 rating). Former Florida commit as a LB but grew into a DL his senior year of HS. Will develop into another mobile DT terror after a couple of years in the UAB development program. Will likely RS in 19. Not on roster yet but anticipated to join team for fall practice. Could also play Jack. Chose UAB over FAU, Louisville, Memphis, Ole Miss, Oregon, and South Carolina.
Graduated: Quindarrius Thagard

NOSE TACKLE
1. Jauntavius Johnson, 6-2, 345 (2019 Auburn grad transfer, 4-star, 0.89 rating). Huge early summer addition to the UAB roster at a position of prime need. Transferred from AU to Colorado for the spring, but returned home to AL after a family health situation and joined the UAB family. Limited playing time at AU due to a roster packed with NFL tackles. If healthy, will be a major force in C-USA, and will help UAB manage the pain of losing Anthony Rush to graduation. Starts by game 2 if he is in shape.
2. Fish McWilliams, 6-0, 310, RFR (2018 2-star, 0.7691 rating): 2018: 3 tackles, RS. Showed very good DL skills and aggressiveness in the limited snaps he played in his 18 RS year. Quick. Could have played full time as a FR. More than capable of handling the role, but height is less than ideal. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, FAU, Liberty, Louisiana and Appalachian State.
3. Kevin Penn, 6-3, 300, FR (2019, 3-star, 0.8053 rating). Will probably need a year to develop but has the coveted big body and good feet for a HS lineman. Also offered by Ole Miss. Could grow into a nose tackle or move over to the O-line. Not on roster yet but anticipated to join team for fall practice.
Graduated: Anthony Rush. 2ndTeam All CUSA.

JACK LINEBACKER
1. Jordan Smith, 6-7, 250, JR (2019 JUCO, 3-star, 0.85 rating). Another huge signee at the team’s position of greatest need. Former 4-star HS player who spent a year at Florida before transferring to JUCO. Smith needs a team like UAB, and UAB needs him. Fantastic size. Has the talent level to become as good as anyone UAB has had at that position, but the team will need him to grow into the role very quickly.
2. Michael Wright, 6-4, 250, RSR (2016 JUCO 2-star, 0.7805). 2018: 1 tackle. No game impact to date but was a first team starter for the spring game. Dropped a substantial amount of weight (previously at 290) to play DE/Jack LB this year. Has been with the team since 2016 so should be prepared to contribute.
3. Thomas Johnston, 6-2, 240, JR (2017, 3star+, 0.8838). 2018: 17 tackles (6 in bowl game). UAB’s highest rated HS signee ever but had only 11 tackles in the ‘18 regular season. His best game and most playing time was the bowl game, so it makes one wonder if he was battling injury. Will be a tremendous weapon if he finally blossoms into a player who matches his recruiting projections. Played LB previous 2 years, but struggled with angles, and is slotted move to Jack in 19. Added 10 lbs in off-season. Could rise in the rotation if it all comes together for him. Chose UAB over offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, Iowa, Arkansas, Arizona State, California, Ga Tech, UNC, Oregon, Michigan State, Louisville and LSU.
3. Alex Wright, 6-4, 235, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8204). Another fantastic 2018 HS signee. Had offers from several ACC schools. Will be a foundational, 4-year player. May RS as a freshman. Interested to see how fast he is, since he was also recruited as a receiver by some schools. Chose UAB over offers from Duke, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Wake Forrest and Virginia. Future All Conference Player.
4. Kelle Sanders, 6-6, 230, JR (2019 JUCO late signee, 3-star, 0.8451 rating). Signed but not on roster yet. Expected to join for fall practice. Outstanding size and frame. Raw talent. Very compelling back story of how he came back to football but will probably take a year to develop.
5. Shaakir Smith, 6-4, 230, JR (2019 JUCO late signee, 3-star, 0.80 rating). Signed but not on roster yet. May join for fall practice.
Graduated: Jamell Garcia-Williams (2ndteam All CUSA), Stacy Keely, Kylen Binn.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
1. Adrienne Talan, 6-0, 215, R-SR (2016 Nebraska transfer, 3-star, 0.8415 rating): 2018: 9 tackles, 1 sack. Nebraska transfer with modest game impact to date in 2 years of playing time. Spring game starter but might have a tough time holding that role with Rayam behind him.
2. Jalan Rayam, 6-0, 220, RFR (2018 3-star, 0.8416): 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QBH. Huge local 18 recruit for UAB. Flashed his talent and quickness in limited 18 playing time. Could move into a starter’s role by mid-season. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Connecticut, MTSU, FAU and UCF. Future All-Conference LB.
3. Terrell McDonald, 6-2, 230, FR (2019 2-star, 0.7963 rating): Suspect he will prove to be under-rated. Was a HS QB. Great size and very good feet. Will be a solid LB after a year to develop an understanding of the position. Had a solid spring game as an early arrival. Chose UAB over Army and others.
4. Kyle Harrell, 6-1, 205, R-SO (walk on), solid practice squad player
5. Nikia Eason JR, 6-4, 200, R-FR (walk on), Former basketball player. Has a good spring game and shows potential to play OLB or Jack if he can bulk up.
Graduated: Tre Crawford, Craig Kanyangarara

LINEBACKER
1. Kristopher Moll, 6-1, 215, JR (2017 2-star, 0.7580 rating): 2018: 54 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF. Along with Spencer Brown, was one of UAB’s lowest rated HS signees in ‘17. UAB got the last laugh, again! Fast. Very quick. Very aggressive. Playmaker with great instincts. Love his play. Played the Star position in 18 but will move to LB in 19. Added 15 pounds in off season but still needs to add a few more. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (3rd team, LB).
2. Deshaun Oliver, 6-2, 205, R-FR (2018 2-star, 0.7798): Former safety. Good speed and size. Needs to add weight. Had an outstanding spring game for UAB (8 tackles, 1 FF).
3. Kobe Griffin, 6-0, 205, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7631 rating), Moved over to LB from safety. Will provide depth. Needs to add size.
4. Larry Smith, 5-9, 225, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8142 rating). Bowling ball of a player. Could prove to be the surprise of the ‘18 signing class. Chose UAB over offers from Syracuse, Arkansas State and USF.
5. Parker Dennis, 6-0, 200, R-FR (transfer from Austin Peay), practice squats
6. De’Angelo Jones, 5-10, 205, FR (walkon) practice squad
Graduated: Chris Woolbright.

WILL LINEBACKER
1. Fitzgerald Mofor, 6-0, 230, RSR (2016 transfer, Not rated, originally a transfer walk-on) 2018: 75 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks. Stud. Leading returning tackler. Missed the least tackles of any player in C-USA last year. Great story coming to UAB as a walk-on and enduing some difficult challenges. Mofor & Marino will be keys to early season defensive success as they will be surrounded by inexperienced starters up front. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (3rd team, LB).
2. Will Connor, 6-2, 220, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8402 rating). Huge local signee (out of Thompson HS, same as Rayam and Simmons) for UAB. Class bell cow because he committed early and was local and vocal. Expect him to be ready to play in ‘19. Should see the rotation by mid-season. Chose UAB over offers from Ga Tech, UNC, Iowa, Ole Miss, Maryland, and Virginia, among many others. Future All Conference Player.
3. Luke Brasher, 6-0, 225, R-JR (no rating, PWO) 2018: 6 tackles. Struggled with speed and angles. Had a tough game against Coastal Carolina and played less after that - but ended the year with an impressive bowl game against NIU. Will likely make the regular rotation in 19 unless some of the freshman signees surge ahead.
4. Rubin Stinson III, 6-1, 215, RJR (walk-on)
5. Noah Wilder, 6-0, 225, R-SO (walkon) practice squad. Had an interception in the spring game.
Graduated: No one.

CORNERBACK
1. Brontae Harris, 5-10, 190, R-JR (2016 transfer walk-on, upgraded to scholarship in ‘17) 2018: 34 tackles, 2 INT, 11 PBU. Stud cover corner. Another great UAB story who started as a walk-on. You have to love this guy. C-USA’s highest rated 2018 corner according to Pro Football Focus. Few teams threw his way. Added 10 lbs in off-season. NFL teams are taking notice. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (First Team, CB).
2. C.D. Daniels, 6-2, 180, SO (2018 3-star, 0.8606 rating):2018: 2 tackles. Highest rated 18 recruit. Played in 9 games as a true FR. Should blossom this year. Great height for a corner. Chose UAB over offers from Mississippi State, Troy, Tulane, FAU, Colorado State, Memphis, UCF and others.
3. Damien Miller, 6-0, 195, FR (2018 3 star, 0.8399 rating) Another local signing coup for the Blazers. Very likely another under-rated recruit. Miller ran back 13 punts and kickoffs for TDs in high school. Stood out in a Birmingham camp sponsored by Cam Newton, and was called out by Newton for his performance and skills. Has good size, outstanding athletic talent, and will be hard to keep off the field as a freshman, probably as both a kick returner and defender. Early arrival allowed him to participate in spring practice where he had an outstanding kick return in the spring game. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Troy and Arkansas State. His twin brother, Damon, will play safety at UAB.
4. Alondras Strong, 5-11, 180, R-FR (2018 3-star, 0.8222). 2018 late signee. Talented IMG guy originally from Hazel Green, AL. Corner/safety or could be a good fit at Star once he gains a bit more size. Chose UAB over offers from Memphis, Duke, FIU, and Troy.
5. Chase Biles, 5-10, 185, R-JR (walk on): Special teams. Blocked a punt in 2018.
6. Amahni Spinks, 6-0, 180 FR (walk on), practice squad
Graduated: No one.

CORNERBACK
1. Starling Thomas V, 5-11, 185, SO (2018 3-star, 0.8305): 2018: 10 tackles, 3 PBU. Huge 18 recruit for UAB. Looked very impressive as the only true freshman in the regular rotation this year. Looks like he could be a star, and that’s not a pun. Started several games and had very outings against North Texas and Texas A&M. Chose UAB over offers from Purdue, Memphis, Tulane, Troy and FAU, among others. Early season will be a learning curve as a starter. Future All Conference player.
2. Xavier Lanier, 6-2, 190, R-FR (2017, 0.7903 rating). Very likely the fastest player on a fast team. Very good size. Will develop into a solid corner or safety. May need another year to develop before owning a position.
3. Devodric Bynum, 5-11 190, R-SO (2019 late signee, JUCO, 0.8247) former Houston commit as a WR. Not many offers out of JUCO, but looks to be a solid late addition. Could push for regular playing time by mid-season.
4. Keondre Swoopes, 5-10, 170, FR (2019 3-star, 0.7993). Fast. Under-rated. Very good athlete. Could also play WR if necessary. Needs to gain some weight. Likely a RS this year due to a very talented CB corps. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Appalachian State, South Alabama, Coastal Carolina, MTSU and Liberty among others.
5. AJ Brooks, 6-0, 190, R-SR (2016 2-star, 0.7800): special teams player
6. Orlando Swan, 5-10, 180, RSR (2018 transfer from Auburn, walk on)
Graduated: D.A. Willams, Duke Culver

FREE SAFETY
1. Will Boler, 6-0, 210, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7580) 2018: 5 tackles, 1 PBU. Played sparingly behind talented senor safeties in ‘18. Hard hitter. Earned starting safety role for the spring game.
2. Jaylen Key, 6-2, 205, RFR (2018 3-star, 0.8093). Tall. Fast. Talented. Added 10 lbs in the off-season. Has the ideal frame for a deep cover safety. Chose UAB over offers from UCF and Southern Miss.
3. Rashard Revels, 5-10, 175, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8315). Another major recruit (but much smaller than his 24/7 Sports recruiting listing of 6-0, 200 lbs) who committed early. Leading HS tackler in state of GA last year (213 tackles in 2018, 201 tackles in 2017) and second in all time tackles. A tackling beast, particular for his size. Chose UAB over offers from Colorado, Maryland, Misssouri, Oregon State, Purdue, Vanderbilt, West VA and many others. It will be difficult to keep him off the field. Could have a future at STAR if he adds some size. Future All Conference Player.
4. Kobe Griffin, 6-0, 200, RSO (2017 2-star, 0.7631): Little playing time thus far.
Graduated: Broderick Thomas.

STRONG SAFETY
1. Will Dawkins, 5-10, 205, R-SR (2015 3-star transfer, 0.8625) 2018: 14 tackles. Talented Indiana transfer who was in the rotation the last 2 years. Solid and experienced, but not spectacular, yet. UAB needs him to be spectacular, particularly in early 19, or he will not hold this position.
2. Grayson Cash, 6-0, 195, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7682) 2018: 4 tackles, 1 INT. Flashed some skills in limited playing time in 19. Nice interception against UTSA in ’18. Another interception in spring game. Added 10 pounds in the off-season. Need him to grow into this role very quickly.
3. Monterrius Turner, 6-1, 210, JR (2019 JUCO) preferred walk on from New Mexico Military.
4. Damon Miller, 6-0, 180, FR (2019 2-star, 0.7892). Hard hitter. Recovering from surgery but should be ready for fall camp. His twin brother Damien will play CB at UAB.
Graduated: Marsean Diggs

STAR
1. Jarrion Street, 6-1, 210, SR (3-star, 0.860 rating). Played RB for UAB in 2018, after transferring from Ole Miss where he played LB. Moved to Star in the spring and appears to have taken ownership of the position.
2. Dy’Jonn Turner, 5-11, 200, JR (2017 2-star, 0.7681) 2018: 16 tackles, 1 INT as starter at Star but shared the position with Kris Moll. Not quite the playmaker that Moll was last year. The staff obviously likes him, although he had a relatively quiet year as a starter. Could also move over and start at one of the CB positions.
3. David Acfalle, 6-0, 185, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7681): Stood out in ‘18 camp but was injured in preseason and never played. Fast. Aggressive hitter. If he comes back healthy will be in the rotation.
Graduated: No one.


MOST ACCOMPLISHED RETURNEES: Fitz Mofor (WLB), Brontae Harris (CB), Kristopher Moll (LB), Garrett Marino (DT), Dy’Jon Turner (Star), Will Dawkins (safety), Starling Thomas (CB)

PLAYERS EXPECTED TO STEP UP AND MAKE AN IMPACT: Jauntavius Johnson (DT), Jordan Smith (Jack), Jarrion Street (Star), Fish McWilliams (Nose), Tony Fair (DT), Jalen Rayam (LB), Thomas Johnston (Jack/LB), Grayson Cash (CB), CD Daniels (CB)

NEW FACES WHO MIGHT SUPRRISE: Damien Miller (FR, CB, kick returner), Rashard Revels (safety, special teams), Jaylen Key (safety), Devodric Bynum (CB), Will Conner (LB), Alex Wright (Jack), Antonio Moultrie (DT), Larry Smith (LB)

STRONGEST POSITION: Cornerback (talent, depth, Harris)

POSITION OF MOST CONCERN: Safety (many new faces)

POSITION IN NEED OF MORE DEPTH: Defensive tackle/nose (perpetual)

MOST INTRIGUING AND DIFFICULT TO EVALUTAE ROSTER POSITION: Jack LB (no returning players)

TOP NEW PLAYER: Jauntavius Johnson, DT (Auburn transfer)

FRESHMAN SIGNEES MOST LIKELY TO IMPACT: Will Conner (LB) or Damien Miller (CB, returner), Rashaun Revels (safety, special teams)

MOST LIKELY PLAYERS TO DRAW NATIONAL ATTENTION IF IMPROVEMENT CONTINUES: Kristopher Moll, Brontae Harris

FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR 2020: There are only 4 – 6 seniors (Fitzgerald, Marino, Johnson, Street, maybe Talan and Dawkins) expected to play leading defensive roles across the 2019 UAB depth chart. 2020 will possibly be the best defense in UAB history, barring injuries and attrition, and assuming recruiting remains strong and adds a few more JUCO Dlinemen and maybe a tall top quality JUCO safety.
(This post was last modified: 07-07-2019 08:15 PM by Ranger1386c.)
07-07-2019 08:12 PM
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frenchbeef Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
Great summary! Enjoyed it.
07-07-2019 08:50 PM
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Jball Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
(07-07-2019 08:12 PM)Ranger1386c Wrote:  Ranger’s Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019

2018 DEFENSIVE NOTES. UAB had 11 wins, a conference championship, set the team record for sacks (48) and tackles for loss (111). UAB was ninth in total defense nationally, third in sacks and third in tackles for loss and fourth in blocked punts, as well as fielding the 8th ranked scoring defense. Eight graduated 2018 defensive players - Marsean Diggs (safety), Broderick Thomas (safety), Anthony Rush (nose), Quindarius Thagard (DT), Stacy Keely (Jack), Tre Crawford (LB), and Jamell Garcia-Williams (Jack) - signed free agent NFL contracts.

Yet there were zero UAB defensive players on the first team post-season All C-USA awards and only two on the Second Team.


Suggested 2019 UAB Defensive Motto: “Underestimate us, again. That will be fun.”


ANTICPATED 2019 UAB DEFENSIVE DEPTH CHART
Following the structure of the UAB game roster for the bowl game, with an extra LB position.
Recruiting rankings are 24/7 Sports composites.
Opinions and forecasts are mine and subject to change based on future results.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
1. Garrett Marino, 6-2, 290, R-SR (2015, transfer, 2-star, 0.700 rating) 2018: 19 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1TD. You have to love this story. Marino is the lowest-rated scholarship player on UAB’s team. Recruiting experts, meh. Led CUSA interior defenders in pass rush win rate in 2018. Ran a fumble back for a TD against Tulane. A terror when healthy. A poster child for UAB player development. Quick and aggressive. He ate the lunch of several O-lines in 2018 (including UNT), and he was sorely missed after a mid-season injury slowed him. Marino will be the defensive line bell cow for 19. 2019 Athlon Preseason All-Conference selection (2nd team).
2. Tony Fair, R-JR, 6-3, 335 (2019, JUCO, 3-star, 0.8649 rating). Big, talented JUCO addition. Former 2018 Nebraska commit. Needs to get in shape but will likely see significant playing time in the rotation due to limited depth on the D-line. Chose UAB over Indiana and Nebraska.
3. Michael Fairbanks, 6-3, 275, R-FR (2018 3-star, 0.8104 rating): 2018 RS. High potential out of HS. Added 15 pounds in the off-season. Could be an impact player by SO season if he sees enough playing time this year. Chose UAB over offers from Air Force, army, Marshall, Arkansas State and others.
4. Ishmal Ball, 6-0, 290, R-JR (transfer walk on), practice squad
Graduated: Zach Williams

DEFENSIVE TACKLE/END
1. Rio Stanley, 6-2, 275, R-JR (2018 USF transfer, 3-star LB out of HS) Gained weight after arriving at USF as a LB and moved to DL. Looked good in UAB spring game. Forecasting as an early season starter due to his experience and quickness, but it’s only a guess at this stage. Tony Fair could also eventually own the starter role here if he gets in shape, as could Moultrie.
2. Antonio Moultrie, 6-4, 290, RS-O (2017 JUCO 2-star, 0.7667 rating) 2018: 2 tackles, RS. Former USM signee but went JUCO. High school team-mate of nose tackle Fish McWilliams. Good frame.
3. Joey Purifoy, 6-3, 245, R-SR (walkon) practice squad
4. Jammal Abrams, 6-2, 250, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8538 rating). Former Florida commit as a LB but grew into a DL his senior year of HS. Will develop into another mobile DT terror after a couple of years in the UAB development program. Will likely RS in 19. Not on roster yet but anticipated to join team for fall practice. Could also play Jack. Chose UAB over FAU, Louisville, Memphis, Ole Miss, Oregon, and South Carolina.
Graduated: Quindarrius Thagard

NOSE TACKLE
1. Jauntavius Johnson, 6-2, 345 (2019 Auburn grad transfer, 4-star, 0.89 rating). Huge early summer addition to the UAB roster at a position of prime need. Transferred from AU to Colorado for the spring, but returned home to AL after a family health situation and joined the UAB family. Limited playing time at AU due to a roster packed with NFL tackles. If healthy, will be a major force in C-USA, and will help UAB manage the pain of losing Anthony Rush to graduation. Starts by game 2 if he is in shape.
2. Fish McWilliams, 6-0, 310, RFR (2018 2-star, 0.7691 rating): 2018: 3 tackles, RS. Showed very good DL skills and aggressiveness in the limited snaps he played in his 18 RS year. Quick. Could have played full time as a FR. More than capable of handling the role, but height is less than ideal. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, FAU, Liberty, Louisiana and Appalachian State.
3. Kevin Penn, 6-3, 300, FR (2019, 3-star, 0.8053 rating). Will probably need a year to develop but has the coveted big body and good feet for a HS lineman. Also offered by Ole Miss. Could grow into a nose tackle or move over to the O-line. Not on roster yet but anticipated to join team for fall practice.
Graduated: Anthony Rush. 2ndTeam All CUSA.

JACK LINEBACKER
1. Jordan Smith, 6-7, 250, JR (2019 JUCO, 3-star, 0.85 rating). Another huge signee at the team’s position of greatest need. Former 4-star HS player who spent a year at Florida before transferring to JUCO. Smith needs a team like UAB, and UAB needs him. Fantastic size. Has the talent level to become as good as anyone UAB has had at that position, but the team will need him to grow into the role very quickly.
2. Michael Wright, 6-4, 250, RSR (2016 JUCO 2-star, 0.7805). 2018: 1 tackle. No game impact to date but was a first team starter for the spring game. Dropped a substantial amount of weight (previously at 290) to play DE/Jack LB this year. Has been with the team since 2016 so should be prepared to contribute.
3. Thomas Johnston, 6-2, 240, JR (2017, 3star+, 0.8838). 2018: 17 tackles (6 in bowl game). UAB’s highest rated HS signee ever but had only 11 tackles in the ‘18 regular season. His best game and most playing time was the bowl game, so it makes one wonder if he was battling injury. Will be a tremendous weapon if he finally blossoms into a player who matches his recruiting projections. Played LB previous 2 years, but struggled with angles, and is slotted move to Jack in 19. Added 10 lbs in off-season. Could rise in the rotation if it all comes together for him. Chose UAB over offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, Iowa, Arkansas, Arizona State, California, Ga Tech, UNC, Oregon, Michigan State, Louisville and LSU.
3. Alex Wright, 6-4, 235, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8204). Another fantastic 2018 HS signee. Had offers from several ACC schools. Will be a foundational, 4-year player. May RS as a freshman. Interested to see how fast he is, since he was also recruited as a receiver by some schools. Chose UAB over offers from Duke, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Wake Forrest and Virginia. Future All Conference Player.
4. Kelle Sanders, 6-6, 230, JR (2019 JUCO late signee, 3-star, 0.8451 rating). Signed but not on roster yet. Expected to join for fall practice. Outstanding size and frame. Raw talent. Very compelling back story of how he came back to football but will probably take a year to develop.
5. Shaakir Smith, 6-4, 230, JR (2019 JUCO late signee, 3-star, 0.80 rating). Signed but not on roster yet. May join for fall practice.
Graduated: Jamell Garcia-Williams (2ndteam All CUSA), Stacy Keely, Kylen Binn.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
1. Adrienne Talan, 6-0, 215, R-SR (2016 Nebraska transfer, 3-star, 0.8415 rating): 2018: 9 tackles, 1 sack. Nebraska transfer with modest game impact to date in 2 years of playing time. Spring game starter but might have a tough time holding that role with Rayam behind him.
2. Jalan Rayam, 6-0, 220, RFR (2018 3-star, 0.8416): 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QBH. Huge local 18 recruit for UAB. Flashed his talent and quickness in limited 18 playing time. Could move into a starter’s role by mid-season. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Connecticut, MTSU, FAU and UCF. Future All-Conference LB.
3. Terrell McDonald, 6-2, 230, FR (2019 2-star, 0.7963 rating): Suspect he will prove to be under-rated. Was a HS QB. Great size and very good feet. Will be a solid LB after a year to develop an understanding of the position. Had a solid spring game as an early arrival. Chose UAB over Army and others.
4. Kyle Harrell, 6-1, 205, R-SO (walk on), solid practice squad player
5. Nikia Eason JR, 6-4, 200, R-FR (walk on), Former basketball player. Has a good spring game and shows potential to play OLB or Jack if he can bulk up.
Graduated: Tre Crawford, Craig Kanyangarara

LINEBACKER
1. Kristopher Moll, 6-1, 215, JR (2017 2-star, 0.7580 rating): 2018: 54 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF. Along with Spencer Brown, was one of UAB’s lowest rated HS signees in ‘17. UAB got the last laugh, again! Fast. Very quick. Very aggressive. Playmaker with great instincts. Love his play. Played the Star position in 18 but will move to LB in 19. Added 15 pounds in off season but still needs to add a few more. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (3rd team, LB).
2. Deshaun Oliver, 6-2, 205, R-FR (2018 2-star, 0.7798): Former safety. Good speed and size. Needs to add weight. Had an outstanding spring game for UAB (8 tackles, 1 FF).
3. Kobe Griffin, 6-0, 205, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7631 rating), Moved over to LB from safety. Will provide depth. Needs to add size.
4. Larry Smith, 5-9, 225, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8142 rating). Bowling ball of a player. Could prove to be the surprise of the ‘18 signing class. Chose UAB over offers from Syracuse, Arkansas State and USF.
5. Parker Dennis, 6-0, 200, R-FR (transfer from Austin Peay), practice squats
6. De’Angelo Jones, 5-10, 205, FR (walkon) practice squad
Graduated: Chris Woolbright.

WILL LINEBACKER
1. Fitzgerald Mofor, 6-0, 230, RSR (2016 transfer, Not rated, originally a transfer walk-on) 2018: 75 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks. Stud. Leading returning tackler. Missed the least tackles of any player in C-USA last year. Great story coming to UAB as a walk-on and enduing some difficult challenges. Mofor & Marino will be keys to early season defensive success as they will be surrounded by inexperienced starters up front. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (3rd team, LB).
2. Will Connor, 6-2, 220, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8402 rating). Huge local signee (out of Thompson HS, same as Rayam and Simmons) for UAB. Class bell cow because he committed early and was local and vocal. Expect him to be ready to play in ‘19. Should see the rotation by mid-season. Chose UAB over offers from Ga Tech, UNC, Iowa, Ole Miss, Maryland, and Virginia, among many others. Future All Conference Player.
3. Luke Brasher, 6-0, 225, R-JR (no rating, PWO) 2018: 6 tackles. Struggled with speed and angles. Had a tough game against Coastal Carolina and played less after that - but ended the year with an impressive bowl game against NIU. Will likely make the regular rotation in 19 unless some of the freshman signees surge ahead.
4. Rubin Stinson III, 6-1, 215, RJR (walk-on)
5. Noah Wilder, 6-0, 225, R-SO (walkon) practice squad. Had an interception in the spring game.
Graduated: No one.

CORNERBACK
1. Brontae Harris, 5-10, 190, R-JR (2016 transfer walk-on, upgraded to scholarship in ‘17) 2018: 34 tackles, 2 INT, 11 PBU. Stud cover corner. Another great UAB story who started as a walk-on. You have to love this guy. C-USA’s highest rated 2018 corner according to Pro Football Focus. Few teams threw his way. Added 10 lbs in off-season. NFL teams are taking notice. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (First Team, CB).
2. C.D. Daniels, 6-2, 180, SO (2018 3-star, 0.8606 rating):2018: 2 tackles. Highest rated 18 recruit. Played in 9 games as a true FR. Should blossom this year. Great height for a corner. Chose UAB over offers from Mississippi State, Troy, Tulane, FAU, Colorado State, Memphis, UCF and others.
3. Damien Miller, 6-0, 195, FR (2018 3 star, 0.8399 rating) Another local signing coup for the Blazers. Very likely another under-rated recruit. Miller ran back 13 punts and kickoffs for TDs in high school. Stood out in a Birmingham camp sponsored by Cam Newton, and was called out by Newton for his performance and skills. Has good size, outstanding athletic talent, and will be hard to keep off the field as a freshman, probably as both a kick returner and defender. Early arrival allowed him to participate in spring practice where he had an outstanding kick return in the spring game. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Troy and Arkansas State. His twin brother, Damon, will play safety at UAB.
4. Alondras Strong, 5-11, 180, R-FR (2018 3-star, 0.8222). 2018 late signee. Talented IMG guy originally from Hazel Green, AL. Corner/safety or could be a good fit at Star once he gains a bit more size. Chose UAB over offers from Memphis, Duke, FIU, and Troy.
5. Chase Biles, 5-10, 185, R-JR (walk on): Special teams. Blocked a punt in 2018.
6. Amahni Spinks, 6-0, 180 FR (walk on), practice squad
Graduated: No one.

CORNERBACK
1. Starling Thomas V, 5-11, 185, SO (2018 3-star, 0.8305): 2018: 10 tackles, 3 PBU. Huge 18 recruit for UAB. Looked very impressive as the only true freshman in the regular rotation this year. Looks like he could be a star, and that’s not a pun. Started several games and had very outings against North Texas and Texas A&M. Chose UAB over offers from Purdue, Memphis, Tulane, Troy and FAU, among others. Early season will be a learning curve as a starter. Future All Conference player.
2. Xavier Lanier, 6-2, 190, R-FR (2017, 0.7903 rating). Very likely the fastest player on a fast team. Very good size. Will develop into a solid corner or safety. May need another year to develop before owning a position.
3. Devodric Bynum, 5-11 190, R-SO (2019 late signee, JUCO, 0.8247) former Houston commit as a WR. Not many offers out of JUCO, but looks to be a solid late addition. Could push for regular playing time by mid-season.
4. Keondre Swoopes, 5-10, 170, FR (2019 3-star, 0.7993). Fast. Under-rated. Very good athlete. Could also play WR if necessary. Needs to gain some weight. Likely a RS this year due to a very talented CB corps. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Appalachian State, South Alabama, Coastal Carolina, MTSU and Liberty among others.
5. AJ Brooks, 6-0, 190, R-SR (2016 2-star, 0.7800): special teams player
6. Orlando Swan, 5-10, 180, RSR (2018 transfer from Auburn, walk on)
Graduated: D.A. Willams, Duke Culver

FREE SAFETY
1. Will Boler, 6-0, 210, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7580) 2018: 5 tackles, 1 PBU. Played sparingly behind talented senor safeties in ‘18. Hard hitter. Earned starting safety role for the spring game.
2. Jaylen Key, 6-2, 205, RFR (2018 3-star, 0.8093). Tall. Fast. Talented. Added 10 lbs in the off-season. Has the ideal frame for a deep cover safety. Chose UAB over offers from UCF and Southern Miss.
3. Rashard Revels, 5-10, 175, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8315). Another major recruit (but much smaller than his 24/7 Sports recruiting listing of 6-0, 200 lbs) who committed early. Leading HS tackler in state of GA last year (213 tackles in 2018, 201 tackles in 2017) and second in all time tackles. A tackling beast, particular for his size. Chose UAB over offers from Colorado, Maryland, Misssouri, Oregon State, Purdue, Vanderbilt, West VA and many others. It will be difficult to keep him off the field. Could have a future at STAR if he adds some size. Future All Conference Player.
4. Kobe Griffin, 6-0, 200, RSO (2017 2-star, 0.7631): Little playing time thus far.
Graduated: Broderick Thomas.

STRONG SAFETY
1. Will Dawkins, 5-10, 205, R-SR (2015 3-star transfer, 0.8625) 2018: 14 tackles. Talented Indiana transfer who was in the rotation the last 2 years. Solid and experienced, but not spectacular, yet. UAB needs him to be spectacular, particularly in early 19, or he will not hold this position.
2. Grayson Cash, 6-0, 195, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7682) 2018: 4 tackles, 1 INT. Flashed some skills in limited playing time in 19. Nice interception against UTSA in ’18. Another interception in spring game. Added 10 pounds in the off-season. Need him to grow into this role very quickly.
3. Monterrius Turner, 6-1, 210, JR (2019 JUCO) preferred walk on from New Mexico Military.
4. Damon Miller, 6-0, 180, FR (2019 2-star, 0.7892). Hard hitter. Recovering from surgery but should be ready for fall camp. His twin brother Damien will play CB at UAB.
Graduated: Marsean Diggs

STAR
1. Jarrion Street, 6-1, 210, SR (3-star, 0.860 rating). Played RB for UAB in 2018, after transferring from Ole Miss where he played LB. Moved to Star in the spring and appears to have taken ownership of the position.
2. Dy’Jonn Turner, 5-11, 200, JR (2017 2-star, 0.7681) 2018: 16 tackles, 1 INT as starter at Star but shared the position with Kris Moll. Not quite the playmaker that Moll was last year. The staff obviously likes him, although he had a relatively quiet year as a starter. Could also move over and start at one of the CB positions.
3. David Acfalle, 6-0, 185, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7681): Stood out in ‘18 camp but was injured in preseason and never played. Fast. Aggressive hitter. If he comes back healthy will be in the rotation.
Graduated: No one.


MOST ACCOMPLISHED RETURNEES: Fitz Mofor (WLB), Brontae Harris (CB), Kristopher Moll (LB), Garrett Marino (DT), Dy’Jon Turner (Star), Will Dawkins (safety), Starling Thomas (CB)

PLAYERS EXPECTED TO STEP UP AND MAKE AN IMPACT: Jauntavius Johnson (DT), Jordan Smith (Jack), Jarrion Street (Star), Fish McWilliams (Nose), Tony Fair (DT), Jalen Rayam (LB), Thomas Johnston (Jack/LB), Grayson Cash (CB), CD Daniels (CB)

NEW FACES WHO MIGHT SUPRRISE: Damien Miller (FR, CB, kick returner), Rashard Revels (safety, special teams), Jaylen Key (safety), Devodric Bynum (CB), Will Conner (LB), Alex Wright (Jack), Antonio Moultrie (DT), Larry Smith (LB)

STRONGEST POSITION: Cornerback (talent, depth, Harris)

POSITION OF MOST CONCERN: Safety (many new faces)

POSITION IN NEED OF MORE DEPTH: Defensive tackle/nose (perpetual)

MOST INTRIGUING AND DIFFICULT TO EVALUTAE ROSTER POSITION: Jack LB (no returning players)

TOP NEW PLAYER: Jauntavius Johnson, DT (Auburn transfer)

FRESHMAN SIGNEES MOST LIKELY TO IMPACT: Will Conner (LB) or Damien Miller (CB, returner), Rashaun Revels (safety, special teams)

MOST LIKELY PLAYERS TO DRAW NATIONAL ATTENTION IF IMPROVEMENT CONTINUES: Kristopher Moll, Brontae Harris

FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR 2020: There are only 4 – 6 seniors (Fitzgerald, Marino, Johnson, Street, maybe Talan and Dawkins) expected to play leading defensive roles across the 2019 UAB depth chart. 2020 will possibly be the best defense in UAB history, barring injuries and attrition, and assuming recruiting remains strong and adds a few more JUCO Dlinemen and maybe a tall top quality JUCO safety.

Outstanding report. Thanks!
07-08-2019 08:17 AM
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BlazerGreen Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
(07-08-2019 08:17 AM)Jball Wrote:  
(07-07-2019 08:12 PM)Ranger1386c Wrote:  Ranger’s Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019

2018 DEFENSIVE NOTES. UAB had 11 wins, a conference championship, set the team record for sacks (48) and tackles for loss (111). UAB was ninth in total defense nationally, third in sacks and third in tackles for loss and fourth in blocked punts, as well as fielding the 8th ranked scoring defense. Eight graduated 2018 defensive players - Marsean Diggs (safety), Broderick Thomas (safety), Anthony Rush (nose), Quindarius Thagard (DT), Stacy Keely (Jack), Tre Crawford (LB), and Jamell Garcia-Williams (Jack) - signed free agent NFL contracts.

Yet there were zero UAB defensive players on the first team post-season All C-USA awards and only two on the Second Team.


Suggested 2019 UAB Defensive Motto: “Underestimate us, again. That will be fun.”


ANTICPATED 2019 UAB DEFENSIVE DEPTH CHART
Following the structure of the UAB game roster for the bowl game, with an extra LB position.
Recruiting rankings are 24/7 Sports composites.
Opinions and forecasts are mine and subject to change based on future results.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
1. Garrett Marino, 6-2, 290, R-SR (2015, transfer, 2-star, 0.700 rating) 2018: 19 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1TD. You have to love this story. Marino is the lowest-rated scholarship player on UAB’s team. Recruiting experts, meh. Led CUSA interior defenders in pass rush win rate in 2018. Ran a fumble back for a TD against Tulane. A terror when healthy. A poster child for UAB player development. Quick and aggressive. He ate the lunch of several O-lines in 2018 (including UNT), and he was sorely missed after a mid-season injury slowed him. Marino will be the defensive line bell cow for 19. 2019 Athlon Preseason All-Conference selection (2nd team).
2. Tony Fair, R-JR, 6-3, 335 (2019, JUCO, 3-star, 0.8649 rating). Big, talented JUCO addition. Former 2018 Nebraska commit. Needs to get in shape but will likely see significant playing time in the rotation due to limited depth on the D-line. Chose UAB over Indiana and Nebraska.
3. Michael Fairbanks, 6-3, 275, R-FR (2018 3-star, 0.8104 rating): 2018 RS. High potential out of HS. Added 15 pounds in the off-season. Could be an impact player by SO season if he sees enough playing time this year. Chose UAB over offers from Air Force, army, Marshall, Arkansas State and others.
4. Ishmal Ball, 6-0, 290, R-JR (transfer walk on), practice squad
Graduated: Zach Williams

DEFENSIVE TACKLE/END
1. Rio Stanley, 6-2, 275, R-JR (2018 USF transfer, 3-star LB out of HS) Gained weight after arriving at USF as a LB and moved to DL. Looked good in UAB spring game. Forecasting as an early season starter due to his experience and quickness, but it’s only a guess at this stage. Tony Fair could also eventually own the starter role here if he gets in shape, as could Moultrie.
2. Antonio Moultrie, 6-4, 290, RS-O (2017 JUCO 2-star, 0.7667 rating) 2018: 2 tackles, RS. Former USM signee but went JUCO. High school team-mate of nose tackle Fish McWilliams. Good frame.
3. Joey Purifoy, 6-3, 245, R-SR (walkon) practice squad
4. Jammal Abrams, 6-2, 250, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8538 rating). Former Florida commit as a LB but grew into a DL his senior year of HS. Will develop into another mobile DT terror after a couple of years in the UAB development program. Will likely RS in 19. Not on roster yet but anticipated to join team for fall practice. Could also play Jack. Chose UAB over FAU, Louisville, Memphis, Ole Miss, Oregon, and South Carolina.
Graduated: Quindarrius Thagard

NOSE TACKLE
1. Jauntavius Johnson, 6-2, 345 (2019 Auburn grad transfer, 4-star, 0.89 rating). Huge early summer addition to the UAB roster at a position of prime need. Transferred from AU to Colorado for the spring, but returned home to AL after a family health situation and joined the UAB family. Limited playing time at AU due to a roster packed with NFL tackles. If healthy, will be a major force in C-USA, and will help UAB manage the pain of losing Anthony Rush to graduation. Starts by game 2 if he is in shape.
2. Fish McWilliams, 6-0, 310, RFR (2018 2-star, 0.7691 rating): 2018: 3 tackles, RS. Showed very good DL skills and aggressiveness in the limited snaps he played in his 18 RS year. Quick. Could have played full time as a FR. More than capable of handling the role, but height is less than ideal. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, FAU, Liberty, Louisiana and Appalachian State.
3. Kevin Penn, 6-3, 300, FR (2019, 3-star, 0.8053 rating). Will probably need a year to develop but has the coveted big body and good feet for a HS lineman. Also offered by Ole Miss. Could grow into a nose tackle or move over to the O-line. Not on roster yet but anticipated to join team for fall practice.
Graduated: Anthony Rush. 2ndTeam All CUSA.

JACK LINEBACKER
1. Jordan Smith, 6-7, 250, JR (2019 JUCO, 3-star, 0.85 rating). Another huge signee at the team’s position of greatest need. Former 4-star HS player who spent a year at Florida before transferring to JUCO. Smith needs a team like UAB, and UAB needs him. Fantastic size. Has the talent level to become as good as anyone UAB has had at that position, but the team will need him to grow into the role very quickly.
2. Michael Wright, 6-4, 250, RSR (2016 JUCO 2-star, 0.7805). 2018: 1 tackle. No game impact to date but was a first team starter for the spring game. Dropped a substantial amount of weight (previously at 290) to play DE/Jack LB this year. Has been with the team since 2016 so should be prepared to contribute.
3. Thomas Johnston, 6-2, 240, JR (2017, 3star+, 0.8838). 2018: 17 tackles (6 in bowl game). UAB’s highest rated HS signee ever but had only 11 tackles in the ‘18 regular season. His best game and most playing time was the bowl game, so it makes one wonder if he was battling injury. Will be a tremendous weapon if he finally blossoms into a player who matches his recruiting projections. Played LB previous 2 years, but struggled with angles, and is slotted move to Jack in 19. Added 10 lbs in off-season. Could rise in the rotation if it all comes together for him. Chose UAB over offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, Iowa, Arkansas, Arizona State, California, Ga Tech, UNC, Oregon, Michigan State, Louisville and LSU.
3. Alex Wright, 6-4, 235, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8204). Another fantastic 2018 HS signee. Had offers from several ACC schools. Will be a foundational, 4-year player. May RS as a freshman. Interested to see how fast he is, since he was also recruited as a receiver by some schools. Chose UAB over offers from Duke, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Wake Forrest and Virginia. Future All Conference Player.
4. Kelle Sanders, 6-6, 230, JR (2019 JUCO late signee, 3-star, 0.8451 rating). Signed but not on roster yet. Expected to join for fall practice. Outstanding size and frame. Raw talent. Very compelling back story of how he came back to football but will probably take a year to develop.
5. Shaakir Smith, 6-4, 230, JR (2019 JUCO late signee, 3-star, 0.80 rating). Signed but not on roster yet. May join for fall practice.
Graduated: Jamell Garcia-Williams (2ndteam All CUSA), Stacy Keely, Kylen Binn.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
1. Adrienne Talan, 6-0, 215, R-SR (2016 Nebraska transfer, 3-star, 0.8415 rating): 2018: 9 tackles, 1 sack. Nebraska transfer with modest game impact to date in 2 years of playing time. Spring game starter but might have a tough time holding that role with Rayam behind him.
2. Jalan Rayam, 6-0, 220, RFR (2018 3-star, 0.8416): 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QBH. Huge local 18 recruit for UAB. Flashed his talent and quickness in limited 18 playing time. Could move into a starter’s role by mid-season. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Connecticut, MTSU, FAU and UCF. Future All-Conference LB.
3. Terrell McDonald, 6-2, 230, FR (2019 2-star, 0.7963 rating): Suspect he will prove to be under-rated. Was a HS QB. Great size and very good feet. Will be a solid LB after a year to develop an understanding of the position. Had a solid spring game as an early arrival. Chose UAB over Army and others.
4. Kyle Harrell, 6-1, 205, R-SO (walk on), solid practice squad player
5. Nikia Eason JR, 6-4, 200, R-FR (walk on), Former basketball player. Has a good spring game and shows potential to play OLB or Jack if he can bulk up.
Graduated: Tre Crawford, Craig Kanyangarara

LINEBACKER
1. Kristopher Moll, 6-1, 215, JR (2017 2-star, 0.7580 rating): 2018: 54 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF. Along with Spencer Brown, was one of UAB’s lowest rated HS signees in ‘17. UAB got the last laugh, again! Fast. Very quick. Very aggressive. Playmaker with great instincts. Love his play. Played the Star position in 18 but will move to LB in 19. Added 15 pounds in off season but still needs to add a few more. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (3rd team, LB).
2. Deshaun Oliver, 6-2, 205, R-FR (2018 2-star, 0.7798): Former safety. Good speed and size. Needs to add weight. Had an outstanding spring game for UAB (8 tackles, 1 FF).
3. Kobe Griffin, 6-0, 205, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7631 rating), Moved over to LB from safety. Will provide depth. Needs to add size.
4. Larry Smith, 5-9, 225, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8142 rating). Bowling ball of a player. Could prove to be the surprise of the ‘18 signing class. Chose UAB over offers from Syracuse, Arkansas State and USF.
5. Parker Dennis, 6-0, 200, R-FR (transfer from Austin Peay), practice squats
6. De’Angelo Jones, 5-10, 205, FR (walkon) practice squad
Graduated: Chris Woolbright.

WILL LINEBACKER
1. Fitzgerald Mofor, 6-0, 230, RSR (2016 transfer, Not rated, originally a transfer walk-on) 2018: 75 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks. Stud. Leading returning tackler. Missed the least tackles of any player in C-USA last year. Great story coming to UAB as a walk-on and enduing some difficult challenges. Mofor & Marino will be keys to early season defensive success as they will be surrounded by inexperienced starters up front. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (3rd team, LB).
2. Will Connor, 6-2, 220, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8402 rating). Huge local signee (out of Thompson HS, same as Rayam and Simmons) for UAB. Class bell cow because he committed early and was local and vocal. Expect him to be ready to play in ‘19. Should see the rotation by mid-season. Chose UAB over offers from Ga Tech, UNC, Iowa, Ole Miss, Maryland, and Virginia, among many others. Future All Conference Player.
3. Luke Brasher, 6-0, 225, R-JR (no rating, PWO) 2018: 6 tackles. Struggled with speed and angles. Had a tough game against Coastal Carolina and played less after that - but ended the year with an impressive bowl game against NIU. Will likely make the regular rotation in 19 unless some of the freshman signees surge ahead.
4. Rubin Stinson III, 6-1, 215, RJR (walk-on)
5. Noah Wilder, 6-0, 225, R-SO (walkon) practice squad. Had an interception in the spring game.
Graduated: No one.

CORNERBACK
1. Brontae Harris, 5-10, 190, R-JR (2016 transfer walk-on, upgraded to scholarship in ‘17) 2018: 34 tackles, 2 INT, 11 PBU. Stud cover corner. Another great UAB story who started as a walk-on. You have to love this guy. C-USA’s highest rated 2018 corner according to Pro Football Focus. Few teams threw his way. Added 10 lbs in off-season. NFL teams are taking notice. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (First Team, CB).
2. C.D. Daniels, 6-2, 180, SO (2018 3-star, 0.8606 rating):2018: 2 tackles. Highest rated 18 recruit. Played in 9 games as a true FR. Should blossom this year. Great height for a corner. Chose UAB over offers from Mississippi State, Troy, Tulane, FAU, Colorado State, Memphis, UCF and others.
3. Damien Miller, 6-0, 195, FR (2018 3 star, 0.8399 rating) Another local signing coup for the Blazers. Very likely another under-rated recruit. Miller ran back 13 punts and kickoffs for TDs in high school. Stood out in a Birmingham camp sponsored by Cam Newton, and was called out by Newton for his performance and skills. Has good size, outstanding athletic talent, and will be hard to keep off the field as a freshman, probably as both a kick returner and defender. Early arrival allowed him to participate in spring practice where he had an outstanding kick return in the spring game. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Troy and Arkansas State. His twin brother, Damon, will play safety at UAB.
4. Alondras Strong, 5-11, 180, R-FR (2018 3-star, 0.8222). 2018 late signee. Talented IMG guy originally from Hazel Green, AL. Corner/safety or could be a good fit at Star once he gains a bit more size. Chose UAB over offers from Memphis, Duke, FIU, and Troy.
5. Chase Biles, 5-10, 185, R-JR (walk on): Special teams. Blocked a punt in 2018.
6. Amahni Spinks, 6-0, 180 FR (walk on), practice squad
Graduated: No one.

CORNERBACK
1. Starling Thomas V, 5-11, 185, SO (2018 3-star, 0.8305): 2018: 10 tackles, 3 PBU. Huge 18 recruit for UAB. Looked very impressive as the only true freshman in the regular rotation this year. Looks like he could be a star, and that’s not a pun. Started several games and had very outings against North Texas and Texas A&M. Chose UAB over offers from Purdue, Memphis, Tulane, Troy and FAU, among others. Early season will be a learning curve as a starter. Future All Conference player.
2. Xavier Lanier, 6-2, 190, R-FR (2017, 0.7903 rating). Very likely the fastest player on a fast team. Very good size. Will develop into a solid corner or safety. May need another year to develop before owning a position.
3. Devodric Bynum, 5-11 190, R-SO (2019 late signee, JUCO, 0.8247) former Houston commit as a WR. Not many offers out of JUCO, but looks to be a solid late addition. Could push for regular playing time by mid-season.
4. Keondre Swoopes, 5-10, 170, FR (2019 3-star, 0.7993). Fast. Under-rated. Very good athlete. Could also play WR if necessary. Needs to gain some weight. Likely a RS this year due to a very talented CB corps. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Appalachian State, South Alabama, Coastal Carolina, MTSU and Liberty among others.
5. AJ Brooks, 6-0, 190, R-SR (2016 2-star, 0.7800): special teams player
6. Orlando Swan, 5-10, 180, RSR (2018 transfer from Auburn, walk on)
Graduated: D.A. Willams, Duke Culver

FREE SAFETY
1. Will Boler, 6-0, 210, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7580) 2018: 5 tackles, 1 PBU. Played sparingly behind talented senor safeties in ‘18. Hard hitter. Earned starting safety role for the spring game.
2. Jaylen Key, 6-2, 205, RFR (2018 3-star, 0.8093). Tall. Fast. Talented. Added 10 lbs in the off-season. Has the ideal frame for a deep cover safety. Chose UAB over offers from UCF and Southern Miss.
3. Rashard Revels, 5-10, 175, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8315). Another major recruit (but much smaller than his 24/7 Sports recruiting listing of 6-0, 200 lbs) who committed early. Leading HS tackler in state of GA last year (213 tackles in 2018, 201 tackles in 2017) and second in all time tackles. A tackling beast, particular for his size. Chose UAB over offers from Colorado, Maryland, Misssouri, Oregon State, Purdue, Vanderbilt, West VA and many others. It will be difficult to keep him off the field. Could have a future at STAR if he adds some size. Future All Conference Player.
4. Kobe Griffin, 6-0, 200, RSO (2017 2-star, 0.7631): Little playing time thus far.
Graduated: Broderick Thomas.

STRONG SAFETY
1. Will Dawkins, 5-10, 205, R-SR (2015 3-star transfer, 0.8625) 2018: 14 tackles. Talented Indiana transfer who was in the rotation the last 2 years. Solid and experienced, but not spectacular, yet. UAB needs him to be spectacular, particularly in early 19, or he will not hold this position.
2. Grayson Cash, 6-0, 195, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7682) 2018: 4 tackles, 1 INT. Flashed some skills in limited playing time in 19. Nice interception against UTSA in ’18. Another interception in spring game. Added 10 pounds in the off-season. Need him to grow into this role very quickly.
3. Monterrius Turner, 6-1, 210, JR (2019 JUCO) preferred walk on from New Mexico Military.
4. Damon Miller, 6-0, 180, FR (2019 2-star, 0.7892). Hard hitter. Recovering from surgery but should be ready for fall camp. His twin brother Damien will play CB at UAB.
Graduated: Marsean Diggs

STAR
1. Jarrion Street, 6-1, 210, SR (3-star, 0.860 rating). Played RB for UAB in 2018, after transferring from Ole Miss where he played LB. Moved to Star in the spring and appears to have taken ownership of the position.
2. Dy’Jonn Turner, 5-11, 200, JR (2017 2-star, 0.7681) 2018: 16 tackles, 1 INT as starter at Star but shared the position with Kris Moll. Not quite the playmaker that Moll was last year. The staff obviously likes him, although he had a relatively quiet year as a starter. Could also move over and start at one of the CB positions.
3. David Acfalle, 6-0, 185, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7681): Stood out in ‘18 camp but was injured in preseason and never played. Fast. Aggressive hitter. If he comes back healthy will be in the rotation.
Graduated: No one.


MOST ACCOMPLISHED RETURNEES: Fitz Mofor (WLB), Brontae Harris (CB), Kristopher Moll (LB), Garrett Marino (DT), Dy’Jon Turner (Star), Will Dawkins (safety), Starling Thomas (CB)

PLAYERS EXPECTED TO STEP UP AND MAKE AN IMPACT: Jauntavius Johnson (DT), Jordan Smith (Jack), Jarrion Street (Star), Fish McWilliams (Nose), Tony Fair (DT), Jalen Rayam (LB), Thomas Johnston (Jack/LB), Grayson Cash (CB), CD Daniels (CB)

NEW FACES WHO MIGHT SUPRRISE: Damien Miller (FR, CB, kick returner), Rashard Revels (safety, special teams), Jaylen Key (safety), Devodric Bynum (CB), Will Conner (LB), Alex Wright (Jack), Antonio Moultrie (DT), Larry Smith (LB)

STRONGEST POSITION: Cornerback (talent, depth, Harris)

POSITION OF MOST CONCERN: Safety (many new faces)

POSITION IN NEED OF MORE DEPTH: Defensive tackle/nose (perpetual)

MOST INTRIGUING AND DIFFICULT TO EVALUTAE ROSTER POSITION: Jack LB (no returning players)

TOP NEW PLAYER: Jauntavius Johnson, DT (Auburn transfer)

FRESHMAN SIGNEES MOST LIKELY TO IMPACT: Will Conner (LB) or Damien Miller (CB, returner), Rashaun Revels (safety, special teams)

MOST LIKELY PLAYERS TO DRAW NATIONAL ATTENTION IF IMPROVEMENT CONTINUES: Kristopher Moll, Brontae Harris

FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR 2020: There are only 4 – 6 seniors (Fitzgerald, Marino, Johnson, Street, maybe Talan and Dawkins) expected to play leading defensive roles across the 2019 UAB depth chart. 2020 will possibly be the best defense in UAB history, barring injuries and attrition, and assuming recruiting remains strong and adds a few more JUCO Dlinemen and maybe a tall top quality JUCO safety.

Outstanding report. Thanks!

Yes indeed. Many thanks for all the work put into it.

Looking forward to the O breakdown.
07-08-2019 09:15 AM
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Ranger1386c Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
Comments and corrections to the “report” are welcome. On vacation with a bit of down time to play. These are obviously guesses from a long time fan who no longer knows anyone in the program (ha, that said the guys I knew were club teamers who wanted me to play, but life and the Army Reserve didnt cooperate). That was last century. Wow, time goes by so fast, doesnt it?

A long standing Preseason hobby for me has been to watch the UAB roster evolve and forecast who is next at each position. Thats been more fun since Clark arrived. He is a virtual wizard at having his staff turn over all the rocks and find the jewels among the late signees who might have fallen through the cracks or were waiting for some sort of resolution. Like Tre Crawford and J. Garcia Williams two years ago. Or half the defensive roster his first year. Or Jauntavius Johnson and RaJae (and hopefully several other lesser known juco players whose performance we will be celebrating by mid season) this year.

Offensive report is coming later today. O-line is a bit harder to sort out with all the late additions. It seems to me the staff were not convinced we had the 2019 offensive line we needed after spring and went hard after some very late juco guys who might be able to compete, or at least fill gaps, immediately. Frankly, the guards, and maybe right tackle, seem to be the potential achilles heel as a team this season. I was hoping we would sign at least one talented SEC type grad transfer at guard or tackle who wanted to start his last year, a la Johnson.

The good news for 2019is that the schedule is not difficult, and the front end is even lighter and will give the line a bit of time to grow and gel before we hit the late season stretch of more talented teams. But South Alabama worries me. They will be on a mission to end the Legion Field win streak and establish a rivalry and recruiting leverage.

The other good news is that we have few seniors in the two deeps and 2020 seems to be shaping up for another CUSA championship run, or better, if we can develop an Oline and add a few defensive tackles. These deep classes of redshirts are going to begin to pay dividends.
(This post was last modified: 07-08-2019 11:06 AM by Ranger1386c.)
07-08-2019 10:57 AM
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josephblazer2770 Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
Outstanding analysis, can't wait for it, to come to fruition. Thanks Pal, much time must of been taken much time spent and research must of been put into that, Looks great. Can you do the Offensive as well.
07-08-2019 01:19 PM
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Blazer Engineer Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
(07-08-2019 10:57 AM)Ranger1386c Wrote:  Comments and corrections to the “report” are welcome. On vacation with a bit of down time to play. These are obviously guesses from a long time fan who no longer knows anyone in the program (ha, that said the guys I knew were club teamers who wanted me to play, but life and the Army Reserve didnt cooperate). That was last century. Wow, time goes by so fast, doesnt it?

A long standing Preseason hobby for me has been to watch the UAB roster evolve and forecast who is next at each position. Thats been more fun since Clark arrived. He is a virtual wizard at having his staff turn over all the rocks and find the jewels among the late signees who might have fallen through the cracks or were waiting for some sort of resolution. Like Tre Crawford and J. Garcia Williams two years ago. Or half the defensive roster his first year. Or Jauntavius Johnson and RaJae (and hopefully several other lesser known juco players whose performance we will be celebrating by mid season) this year.

Offensive report is coming later today. O-line is a bit harder to sort out with all the late additions. It seems to me the staff were not convinced we had the 2019 offensive line we needed after spring and went hard after some very late juco guys who might be able to compete, or at least fill gaps, immediately. Frankly, the guards, and maybe right tackle, seem to be the potential achilles heel as a team this season. I was hoping we would sign at least one talented SEC type grad transfer at guard or tackle who wanted to start his last year, a la Johnson.

The good news for 2019is that the schedule is not difficult, and the front end is even lighter and will give the line a bit of time to grow and gel before we hit the late season stretch of more talented teams. But South Alabama worries me. They will be on a mission to end the Legion Field win streak and establish a rivalry and recruiting leverage.

The other good news is that we have few seniors in the two deeps and 2020 seems to be shaping up for another CUSA championship run, or better, if we can develop an Oline and add a few defensive tackles. These deep classes of redshirts are going to begin to pay dividends.
Which USAR unit were you in? I was in at that time as well.
07-08-2019 02:47 PM
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Ranger1386c Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
(07-08-2019 02:47 PM)Blazer Engineer Wrote:  
(07-08-2019 10:57 AM)Ranger1386c Wrote:  Comments and corrections to the “report” are welcome. On vacation with a bit of down time to play. These are obviously guesses from a long time fan who no longer knows anyone in the program (ha, that said the guys I knew were club teamers who wanted me to play, but life and the Army Reserve didnt cooperate). That was last century. Wow, time goes by so fast, doesnt it?

A long standing Preseason hobby for me has been to watch the UAB roster evolve and forecast who is next at each position. Thats been more fun since Clark arrived. He is a virtual wizard at having his staff turn over all the rocks and find the jewels among the late signees who might have fallen through the cracks or were waiting for some sort of resolution. Like Tre Crawford and J. Garcia Williams two years ago. Or half the defensive roster his first year. Or Jauntavius Johnson and RaJae (and hopefully several other lesser known juco players whose performance we will be celebrating by mid season) this year.

Offensive report is coming later today. O-line is a bit harder to sort out with all the late additions. It seems to me the staff were not convinced we had the 2019 offensive line we needed after spring and went hard after some very late juco guys who might be able to compete, or at least fill gaps, immediately. Frankly, the guards, and maybe right tackle, seem to be the potential achilles heel as a team this season. I was hoping we would sign at least one talented SEC type grad transfer at guard or tackle who wanted to start his last year, a la Johnson.

The good news for 2019is that the schedule is not difficult, and the front end is even lighter and will give the line a bit of time to grow and gel before we hit the late season stretch of more talented teams. But South Alabama worries me. They will be on a mission to end the Legion Field win streak and establish a rivalry and recruiting leverage.

The other good news is that we have few seniors in the two deeps and 2020 seems to be shaping up for another CUSA championship run, or better, if we can develop an Oline and add a few defensive tackles. These deep classes of redshirts are going to begin to pay dividends.
Which USAR unit were you in? I was in at that time as well.

It was an MI reserve unit on 78 Hwy near Jasper. Following active duty as infantry (which paid for my BS afterward at UAB with the Army College Fund, a phenomenal deal for me) and a bit of time with the 20th group NG unit in Bham. Its sad, but now that you ask I cant remember the actual reserve unit designation, but we supported the XVIII Airborne Corps. They eventually moved the unit somewhere near Hoover not long before I ended my service and moved to TN. The old building on 78 hwy is gone now. Ironically, a few years later i met and married a girl whose family lived in Boldo just a couple of miles from the old armory. So now we drive by the old location every time we come down to visit.

What was your unit?
07-08-2019 06:02 PM
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Blazer Engineer Offline
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Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
I was with the 318th chemical co during the club years. One of the guys in engineering a year behind me was on the club team. Tried to talk me into it but I couldn't make it work out.

We were under the 18th airborne Corp during desert storm.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
07-08-2019 08:34 PM
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Ranger1386c Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
(07-08-2019 08:34 PM)Blazer Engineer Wrote:  I was with the 318th chemical co during the club years. One of the guys in engineering a year behind me was on the club team. Tried to talk me into it but I couldn't make it work out.

We were under the 18th airborne Corp during desert storm.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

Thank you for your service.

Similar story. I often wish I had found a way to make the schedule work and to have played. It would have been fun to have contributed and been a part of this story.

It reminds me of what I tell my kids about once a month: life is beautiful but it very often does not cooperate.
07-08-2019 09:36 PM
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notnow Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
UAB has the Will!
Boler, Dawkins and Connor that is.
07-09-2019 11:57 AM
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Auburn_Blazer Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
Thanks for taking the time to write this out. I had totally forgotten about Johnson transferring....also bring on the Fish!
07-09-2019 11:57 AM
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Ranger1386c Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
(07-09-2019 11:57 AM)notnow Wrote:  UAB has the Will!
Boler, Dawkins and Connor that is.

That made me laugh. Thanks!
07-09-2019 12:46 PM
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Big Dee Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
Think acfalle and the rest of the freshmen at safety is a good depth. Could see Acfalle,Key, and Revels being a very good group of safeties by their senior year.
07-09-2019 01:00 PM
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bftb Offline
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RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
(07-07-2019 08:12 PM)Ranger1386c Wrote:  Ranger’s Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019

2018 DEFENSIVE NOTES. UAB had 11 wins, a conference championship, set the team record for sacks (48) and tackles for loss (111). UAB was ninth in total defense nationally, third in sacks and third in tackles for loss and fourth in blocked punts, as well as fielding the 8th ranked scoring defense. Eight graduated 2018 defensive players - Marsean Diggs (safety), Broderick Thomas (safety), Anthony Rush (nose), Quindarius Thagard (DT), Stacy Keely (Jack), Tre Crawford (LB), and Jamell Garcia-Williams (Jack) - signed free agent NFL contracts.

Yet there were zero UAB defensive players on the first team post-season All C-USA awards and only two on the Second Team.


Suggested 2019 UAB Defensive Motto: “Underestimate us, again. That will be fun.”


ANTICPATED 2019 UAB DEFENSIVE DEPTH CHART
Following the structure of the UAB game roster for the bowl game, with an extra LB position.
Recruiting rankings are 24/7 Sports composites.
Opinions and forecasts are mine and subject to change based on future results.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
1. Garrett Marino, 6-2, 290, R-SR (2015, transfer, 2-star, 0.700 rating) 2018: 19 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1TD. You have to love this story. Marino is the lowest-rated scholarship player on UAB’s team. Recruiting experts, meh. Led CUSA interior defenders in pass rush win rate in 2018. Ran a fumble back for a TD against Tulane. A terror when healthy. A poster child for UAB player development. Quick and aggressive. He ate the lunch of several O-lines in 2018 (including UNT), and he was sorely missed after a mid-season injury slowed him. Marino will be the defensive line bell cow for 19. 2019 Athlon Preseason All-Conference selection (2nd team).
2. Tony Fair, R-JR, 6-3, 335 (2019, JUCO, 3-star, 0.8649 rating). Big, talented JUCO addition. Former 2018 Nebraska commit. Needs to get in shape but will likely see significant playing time in the rotation due to limited depth on the D-line. Chose UAB over Indiana and Nebraska.
3. Michael Fairbanks, 6-3, 275, R-FR (2018 3-star, 0.8104 rating): 2018 RS. High potential out of HS. Added 15 pounds in the off-season. Could be an impact player by SO season if he sees enough playing time this year. Chose UAB over offers from Air Force, army, Marshall, Arkansas State and others.
4. Ishmal Ball, 6-0, 290, R-JR (transfer walk on), practice squad
Graduated: Zach Williams

DEFENSIVE TACKLE/END
1. Rio Stanley, 6-2, 275, R-JR (2018 USF transfer, 3-star LB out of HS) Gained weight after arriving at USF as a LB and moved to DL. Looked good in UAB spring game. Forecasting as an early season starter due to his experience and quickness, but it’s only a guess at this stage. Tony Fair could also eventually own the starter role here if he gets in shape, as could Moultrie.
2. Antonio Moultrie, 6-4, 290, RS-O (2017 JUCO 2-star, 0.7667 rating) 2018: 2 tackles, RS. Former USM signee but went JUCO. High school team-mate of nose tackle Fish McWilliams. Good frame.
3. Joey Purifoy, 6-3, 245, R-SR (walkon) practice squad
4. Jammal Abrams, 6-2, 250, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8538 rating). Former Florida commit as a LB but grew into a DL his senior year of HS. Will develop into another mobile DT terror after a couple of years in the UAB development program. Will likely RS in 19. Not on roster yet but anticipated to join team for fall practice. Could also play Jack. Chose UAB over FAU, Louisville, Memphis, Ole Miss, Oregon, and South Carolina.
Graduated: Quindarrius Thagard

NOSE TACKLE
1. Jauntavius Johnson, 6-2, 345 (2019 Auburn grad transfer, 4-star, 0.89 rating). Huge early summer addition to the UAB roster at a position of prime need. Transferred from AU to Colorado for the spring, but returned home to AL after a family health situation and joined the UAB family. Limited playing time at AU due to a roster packed with NFL tackles. If healthy, will be a major force in C-USA, and will help UAB manage the pain of losing Anthony Rush to graduation. Starts by game 2 if he is in shape.
2. Fish McWilliams, 6-0, 310, RFR (2018 2-star, 0.7691 rating): 2018: 3 tackles, RS. Showed very good DL skills and aggressiveness in the limited snaps he played in his 18 RS year. Quick. Could have played full time as a FR. More than capable of handling the role, but height is less than ideal. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, FAU, Liberty, Louisiana and Appalachian State.
3. Kevin Penn, 6-3, 300, FR (2019, 3-star, 0.8053 rating). Will probably need a year to develop but has the coveted big body and good feet for a HS lineman. Also offered by Ole Miss. Could grow into a nose tackle or move over to the O-line. Not on roster yet but anticipated to join team for fall practice.
Graduated: Anthony Rush. 2ndTeam All CUSA.

JACK LINEBACKER
1. Jordan Smith, 6-7, 250, JR (2019 JUCO, 3-star, 0.85 rating). Another huge signee at the team’s position of greatest need. Former 4-star HS player who spent a year at Florida before transferring to JUCO. Smith needs a team like UAB, and UAB needs him. Fantastic size. Has the talent level to become as good as anyone UAB has had at that position, but the team will need him to grow into the role very quickly.
2. Michael Wright, 6-4, 250, RSR (2016 JUCO 2-star, 0.7805). 2018: 1 tackle. No game impact to date but was a first team starter for the spring game. Dropped a substantial amount of weight (previously at 290) to play DE/Jack LB this year. Has been with the team since 2016 so should be prepared to contribute.
3. Thomas Johnston, 6-2, 240, JR (2017, 3star+, 0.8838). 2018: 17 tackles (6 in bowl game). UAB’s highest rated HS signee ever but had only 11 tackles in the ‘18 regular season. His best game and most playing time was the bowl game, so it makes one wonder if he was battling injury. Will be a tremendous weapon if he finally blossoms into a player who matches his recruiting projections. Played LB previous 2 years, but struggled with angles, and is slotted move to Jack in 19. Added 10 lbs in off-season. Could rise in the rotation if it all comes together for him. Chose UAB over offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, Iowa, Arkansas, Arizona State, California, Ga Tech, UNC, Oregon, Michigan State, Louisville and LSU.
3. Alex Wright, 6-4, 235, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8204). Another fantastic 2018 HS signee. Had offers from several ACC schools. Will be a foundational, 4-year player. May RS as a freshman. Interested to see how fast he is, since he was also recruited as a receiver by some schools. Chose UAB over offers from Duke, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Wake Forrest and Virginia. Future All Conference Player.
4. Kelle Sanders, 6-6, 230, JR (2019 JUCO late signee, 3-star, 0.8451 rating). Signed but not on roster yet. Expected to join for fall practice. Outstanding size and frame. Raw talent. Very compelling back story of how he came back to football but will probably take a year to develop.
5. Shaakir Smith, 6-4, 230, JR (2019 JUCO late signee, 3-star, 0.80 rating). Signed but not on roster yet. May join for fall practice.
Graduated: Jamell Garcia-Williams (2ndteam All CUSA), Stacy Keely, Kylen Binn.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
1. Adrienne Talan, 6-0, 215, R-SR (2016 Nebraska transfer, 3-star, 0.8415 rating): 2018: 9 tackles, 1 sack. Nebraska transfer with modest game impact to date in 2 years of playing time. Spring game starter but might have a tough time holding that role with Rayam behind him.
2. Jalan Rayam, 6-0, 220, RFR (2018 3-star, 0.8416): 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QBH. Huge local 18 recruit for UAB. Flashed his talent and quickness in limited 18 playing time. Could move into a starter’s role by mid-season. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Connecticut, MTSU, FAU and UCF. Future All-Conference LB.
3. Terrell McDonald, 6-2, 230, FR (2019 2-star, 0.7963 rating): Suspect he will prove to be under-rated. Was a HS QB. Great size and very good feet. Will be a solid LB after a year to develop an understanding of the position. Had a solid spring game as an early arrival. Chose UAB over Army and others.
4. Kyle Harrell, 6-1, 205, R-SO (walk on), solid practice squad player
5. Nikia Eason JR, 6-4, 200, R-FR (walk on), Former basketball player. Has a good spring game and shows potential to play OLB or Jack if he can bulk up.
Graduated: Tre Crawford, Craig Kanyangarara

LINEBACKER
1. Kristopher Moll, 6-1, 215, JR (2017 2-star, 0.7580 rating): 2018: 54 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF. Along with Spencer Brown, was one of UAB’s lowest rated HS signees in ‘17. UAB got the last laugh, again! Fast. Very quick. Very aggressive. Playmaker with great instincts. Love his play. Played the Star position in 18 but will move to LB in 19. Added 15 pounds in off season but still needs to add a few more. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (3rd team, LB).
2. Deshaun Oliver, 6-2, 205, R-FR (2018 2-star, 0.7798): Former safety. Good speed and size. Needs to add weight. Had an outstanding spring game for UAB (8 tackles, 1 FF).
3. Kobe Griffin, 6-0, 205, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7631 rating), Moved over to LB from safety. Will provide depth. Needs to add size.
4. Larry Smith, 5-9, 225, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8142 rating). Bowling ball of a player. Could prove to be the surprise of the ‘18 signing class. Chose UAB over offers from Syracuse, Arkansas State and USF.
5. Parker Dennis, 6-0, 200, R-FR (transfer from Austin Peay), practice squats
6. De’Angelo Jones, 5-10, 205, FR (walkon) practice squad
Graduated: Chris Woolbright.

WILL LINEBACKER
1. Fitzgerald Mofor, 6-0, 230, RSR (2016 transfer, Not rated, originally a transfer walk-on) 2018: 75 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks. Stud. Leading returning tackler. Missed the least tackles of any player in C-USA last year. Great story coming to UAB as a walk-on and enduing some difficult challenges. Mofor & Marino will be keys to early season defensive success as they will be surrounded by inexperienced starters up front. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (3rd team, LB).
2. Will Connor, 6-2, 220, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8402 rating). Huge local signee (out of Thompson HS, same as Rayam and Simmons) for UAB. Class bell cow because he committed early and was local and vocal. Expect him to be ready to play in ‘19. Should see the rotation by mid-season. Chose UAB over offers from Ga Tech, UNC, Iowa, Ole Miss, Maryland, and Virginia, among many others. Future All Conference Player.
3. Luke Brasher, 6-0, 225, R-JR (no rating, PWO) 2018: 6 tackles. Struggled with speed and angles. Had a tough game against Coastal Carolina and played less after that - but ended the year with an impressive bowl game against NIU. Will likely make the regular rotation in 19 unless some of the freshman signees surge ahead.
4. Rubin Stinson III, 6-1, 215, RJR (walk-on)
5. Noah Wilder, 6-0, 225, R-SO (walkon) practice squad. Had an interception in the spring game.
Graduated: No one.

CORNERBACK
1. Brontae Harris, 5-10, 190, R-JR (2016 transfer walk-on, upgraded to scholarship in ‘17) 2018: 34 tackles, 2 INT, 11 PBU. Stud cover corner. Another great UAB story who started as a walk-on. You have to love this guy. C-USA’s highest rated 2018 corner according to Pro Football Focus. Few teams threw his way. Added 10 lbs in off-season. NFL teams are taking notice. 2019 Athlon Preseason All Conference selection (First Team, CB).
2. C.D. Daniels, 6-2, 180, SO (2018 3-star, 0.8606 rating):2018: 2 tackles. Highest rated 18 recruit. Played in 9 games as a true FR. Should blossom this year. Great height for a corner. Chose UAB over offers from Mississippi State, Troy, Tulane, FAU, Colorado State, Memphis, UCF and others.
3. Damien Miller, 6-0, 195, FR (2018 3 star, 0.8399 rating) Another local signing coup for the Blazers. Very likely another under-rated recruit. Miller ran back 13 punts and kickoffs for TDs in high school. Stood out in a Birmingham camp sponsored by Cam Newton, and was called out by Newton for his performance and skills. Has good size, outstanding athletic talent, and will be hard to keep off the field as a freshman, probably as both a kick returner and defender. Early arrival allowed him to participate in spring practice where he had an outstanding kick return in the spring game. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Troy and Arkansas State. His twin brother, Damon, will play safety at UAB.
4. Alondras Strong, 5-11, 180, R-FR (2018 3-star, 0.8222). 2018 late signee. Talented IMG guy originally from Hazel Green, AL. Corner/safety or could be a good fit at Star once he gains a bit more size. Chose UAB over offers from Memphis, Duke, FIU, and Troy.
5. Chase Biles, 5-10, 185, R-JR (walk on): Special teams. Blocked a punt in 2018.
6. Amahni Spinks, 6-0, 180 FR (walk on), practice squad
Graduated: No one.

CORNERBACK
1. Starling Thomas V, 5-11, 185, SO (2018 3-star, 0.8305): 2018: 10 tackles, 3 PBU. Huge 18 recruit for UAB. Looked very impressive as the only true freshman in the regular rotation this year. Looks like he could be a star, and that’s not a pun. Started several games and had very outings against North Texas and Texas A&M. Chose UAB over offers from Purdue, Memphis, Tulane, Troy and FAU, among others. Early season will be a learning curve as a starter. Future All Conference player.
2. Xavier Lanier, 6-2, 190, R-FR (2017, 0.7903 rating). Very likely the fastest player on a fast team. Very good size. Will develop into a solid corner or safety. May need another year to develop before owning a position.
3. Devodric Bynum, 5-11 190, R-SO (2019 late signee, JUCO, 0.8247) former Houston commit as a WR. Not many offers out of JUCO, but looks to be a solid late addition. Could push for regular playing time by mid-season.
4. Keondre Swoopes, 5-10, 170, FR (2019 3-star, 0.7993). Fast. Under-rated. Very good athlete. Could also play WR if necessary. Needs to gain some weight. Likely a RS this year due to a very talented CB corps. Chose UAB over offers from Tulane, Appalachian State, South Alabama, Coastal Carolina, MTSU and Liberty among others.
5. AJ Brooks, 6-0, 190, R-SR (2016 2-star, 0.7800): special teams player
6. Orlando Swan, 5-10, 180, RSR (2018 transfer from Auburn, walk on)
Graduated: D.A. Willams, Duke Culver

FREE SAFETY
1. Will Boler, 6-0, 210, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7580) 2018: 5 tackles, 1 PBU. Played sparingly behind talented senor safeties in ‘18. Hard hitter. Earned starting safety role for the spring game.
2. Jaylen Key, 6-2, 205, RFR (2018 3-star, 0.8093). Tall. Fast. Talented. Added 10 lbs in the off-season. Has the ideal frame for a deep cover safety. Chose UAB over offers from UCF and Southern Miss.
3. Rashard Revels, 5-10, 175, FR (2019 3-star, 0.8315). Another major recruit (but much smaller than his 24/7 Sports recruiting listing of 6-0, 200 lbs) who committed early. Leading HS tackler in state of GA last year (213 tackles in 2018, 201 tackles in 2017) and second in all time tackles. A tackling beast, particular for his size. Chose UAB over offers from Colorado, Maryland, Misssouri, Oregon State, Purdue, Vanderbilt, West VA and many others. It will be difficult to keep him off the field. Could have a future at STAR if he adds some size. Future All Conference Player.
4. Kobe Griffin, 6-0, 200, RSO (2017 2-star, 0.7631): Little playing time thus far.
Graduated: Broderick Thomas.

STRONG SAFETY
1. Will Dawkins, 5-10, 205, R-SR (2015 3-star transfer, 0.8625) 2018: 14 tackles. Talented Indiana transfer who was in the rotation the last 2 years. Solid and experienced, but not spectacular, yet. UAB needs him to be spectacular, particularly in early 19, or he will not hold this position.
2. Grayson Cash, 6-0, 195, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7682) 2018: 4 tackles, 1 INT. Flashed some skills in limited playing time in 19. Nice interception against UTSA in ’18. Another interception in spring game. Added 10 pounds in the off-season. Need him to grow into this role very quickly.
3. Monterrius Turner, 6-1, 210, JR (2019 JUCO) preferred walk on from New Mexico Military.
4. Damon Miller, 6-0, 180, FR (2019 2-star, 0.7892). Hard hitter. Recovering from surgery but should be ready for fall camp. His twin brother Damien will play CB at UAB.
Graduated: Marsean Diggs

STAR
1. Jarrion Street, 6-1, 210, SR (3-star, 0.860 rating). Played RB for UAB in 2018, after transferring from Ole Miss where he played LB. Moved to Star in the spring and appears to have taken ownership of the position.
2. Dy’Jonn Turner, 5-11, 200, JR (2017 2-star, 0.7681) 2018: 16 tackles, 1 INT as starter at Star but shared the position with Kris Moll. Not quite the playmaker that Moll was last year. The staff obviously likes him, although he had a relatively quiet year as a starter. Could also move over and start at one of the CB positions.
3. David Acfalle, 6-0, 185, R-SO (2017 2-star, 0.7681): Stood out in ‘18 camp but was injured in preseason and never played. Fast. Aggressive hitter. If he comes back healthy will be in the rotation.
Graduated: No one.


MOST ACCOMPLISHED RETURNEES: Fitz Mofor (WLB), Brontae Harris (CB), Kristopher Moll (LB), Garrett Marino (DT), Dy’Jon Turner (Star), Will Dawkins (safety), Starling Thomas (CB)

PLAYERS EXPECTED TO STEP UP AND MAKE AN IMPACT: Jauntavius Johnson (DT), Jordan Smith (Jack), Jarrion Street (Star), Fish McWilliams (Nose), Tony Fair (DT), Jalen Rayam (LB), Thomas Johnston (Jack/LB), Grayson Cash (CB), CD Daniels (CB)

NEW FACES WHO MIGHT SUPRRISE: Damien Miller (FR, CB, kick returner), Rashard Revels (safety, special teams), Jaylen Key (safety), Devodric Bynum (CB), Will Conner (LB), Alex Wright (Jack), Antonio Moultrie (DT), Larry Smith (LB)

STRONGEST POSITION: Cornerback (talent, depth, Harris)

POSITION OF MOST CONCERN: Safety (many new faces)

POSITION IN NEED OF MORE DEPTH: Defensive tackle/nose (perpetual)

MOST INTRIGUING AND DIFFICULT TO EVALUTAE ROSTER POSITION: Jack LB (no returning players)

TOP NEW PLAYER: Jauntavius Johnson, DT (Auburn transfer)

FRESHMAN SIGNEES MOST LIKELY TO IMPACT: Will Conner (LB) or Damien Miller (CB, returner), Rashaun Revels (safety, special teams)

MOST LIKELY PLAYERS TO DRAW NATIONAL ATTENTION IF IMPROVEMENT CONTINUES: Kristopher Moll, Brontae Harris

FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR 2020: There are only 4 – 6 seniors (Fitzgerald, Marino, Johnson, Street, maybe Talan and Dawkins) expected to play leading defensive roles across the 2019 UAB depth chart. 2020 will possibly be the best defense in UAB history, barring injuries and attrition, and assuming recruiting remains strong and adds a few more JUCO Dlinemen and maybe a tall top quality JUCO safety.

Thank you. We needed this to get us through July.

I can't wait to kick it off.
07-09-2019 02:52 PM
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Ranger1386c Offline
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Post: #16
RE: Rangers Roster Report: Defense, Summer 2019
(07-09-2019 01:00 PM)Big Dee Wrote:  Think acfalle and the rest of the freshmen at safety is a good depth. Could see Acfalle,Key, and Revels being a very good group of safeties by their senior year.

I agree. I hope we get to see Acfalle play some this year.
07-09-2019 04:37 PM
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