"We're very pleased with this group," said UAB Head Coach Watson Brown Wednesday afternoon.
"I think our classes have improved every year. We really recruited `needs' this year -- we've done that the last two years. We were able to do even better this year than last, I think. This is a `future' class, with mostly freshmen. We've signed quite a few junior college guys in the last couple of years. There's only one junior college player in this class. It's loaded with Alabama players, and that was our goal from day one. We felt that if we could win our battles in the state of Alabama, we could put together a good football program, and we're going to wind up signing 24 or 25 Alabama kids again this year."
Among the signees were running back Kendal Gibson of Aliceville (Ala.) High School and defensive end Theodore Dukes of Birmingham's Huffman High School, both of whom were Birmingham News Super All-State team members in 2000. Gibson, who along with twin brother Randal is one of two pairs of brothers to sign with the Blazers this year (joining Eugene and Clarence Respress of Georgia's Lamar County High School) led Aliceville to the Alabama 3A state title last season, compiling a staggering 3,073 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns. Dukes was a standout performer on a Huffman team that went 12-1 and reached the state playoffs in 2000.
The lone junior college signee for the Blazers was tight end/defensive end Marvin Nickson of East Mississippi Community College. A native of Boligee, Ala., and a graduate of Greene County High School, Nickson is the tenth EMCC player to come to UAB in the past two years. Nickson joins former teammates such as linebackers John Humphries and Rod Taylor, and cornerback Patrick Burchfield on the 2001 Blazer roster.
UAB also ventured heavily into Georgia, signing Atlanta-area standouts such as Douglass High School quarterback Darrell Hackney, who at 6'2", 230 pounds, is an imposing figure. Hackney threw for over 4,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons, 15 of which were caught by fellow UAB signee Tavarus Thomas in 2000.
The Blazers stocked up on running backs, including a pair of Georgia standouts, Theron Dudley of Stone Mountain's Stephenson High School and Justin Colbert of Southwest DeKalb. Dudley rushed for 1,362 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior, and had 150+ yards on six occasions. Colbert rushed for 825 yards and five touchdowns as a senior.
UAB was also very successful in landing local recruits, signing five players from the metro Birmingham area, including Dukes, 1999 Alabama 6A championship game MVP Tavarous Doyle of Clay-Chalkville High School, lineman Matt Batusic of 2000 6A state champion Hoover High School, lineman Paul Linskey of Vestavia Hills High School, and defensive end Renuel Green of McAdory High School.
UAB signed recruits literally from one end of the state of Alabama to the other, including linebacker Patrick Billings and running back/linebacker Chris Goode of 2000 1A state champion Hazelwood High School, tight end Cedric Hampton and defensive back Reprobatus Bibb of Courtland High School, defensive back Carlos Hendricks of Montgomery's Sidney Lanier High School, linebacker Zach Woodfin of Prattville High School, tight end/defensive end Chico Cleveland and defensive tackle Kettrell Simmons of Selma High School, and defensive back/receiver Allen West of Citronelle High School.
"We've got some great players from Georgia and a couple of other states, but really the bulk are from Alabama," said Brown.
"We'll do it the same way again next year."
|Name||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Hometown (High School)|
|Matt Batusic||OL/DL||6-2||250||Hoover Ala. (Hoover HS)|
|Reprobatus Bibb||DB||5-11||170||Courtland Ala. (Courtland HS)|
|Patrick Billings||LB||6-3||235||Town Creek Ala. (Hazelwood HS)|
|Taylor Britt||DL/OL||6-4.||240||Cullman Ala. (Cullman HS)|
|Chico Cleveland||TE/DE||6-3||226||Selma Ala. (Selma HS)|
|Justin Colbert||RB||5-11||195||Lithonia Ga. (S.W. DeKalb HS)|
|Tavarous Doyle||RB||6-3.||205||Birmingham Ala. (Clay-Chalkville HS)|
|Sam Dudley||TE/DE||6-3.||255||Tuscaloosa Ala. (Central HS)|
|Theron Dudley||RB||6-0||215||Stone Mountain Ga.( Stephenson HS)|
|Theodore Dukes||DE||6-6||230||Birmingham Ala. (Huffman HS)|
|Kendal Gibson||RB||5-11||233||Aliceville Ala. (Aliceville HS)|
|Randal Gibson||DL||6-0||265||Aliceville Ala. (Aliceville HS)|
|Chris Goode||LB/RB||6-1||195||Town Creek Ala. (Hazelwood HS)|
|Renuel Green||DE||6-4||210||McCalla Ala. (McAdory HS)|
|Darrell Hackney||QB||6-2||230||Atlanta Ga. (Douglass HS)|
|Cedric Hampton||TE||6-2||247||Courtland Ala. (Courtland HS)|
|Carlos Hendricks||DB||5-10||175||Montgomery Ala. (Sidney Lanier HS)|
|Anthony Larry||OL/DL||6-3||290||New Orleans La. (Curtis Christian HS)|
|Paul Linskey||OL||6-4||285||Birmingham Ala. (Vestavia Hills HS)|
|Chris Mason||LB||6-3||210||Culman Ala. (Cullman HS)|
|Marvin Nickson||TE||6-5||265||Boligee Ala. (East Mississippi CC)|
|Frank Nunn||RB||5-10||180||Camden Ala. (Jemison HS)|
|Michael Pittman||TE||6-3||230||Dacula Ga. (Dacula HS)|
|Clarence Respress||DL||6-4||300||Barmesville Ga. (Lamar County HS)|
|Eugene Respress||DL||6-6||260||Barnesville Ga. (Lamar County HS)|
|Justin Scrimsher||DE||6-5||220||Athens Ala. (East Limestone HS)|
|Katrell Simmons||DL||6-4||285||Selma Ala. (Selma HS)|
|Tavarus Thomas||WR.||5-10||180||Atlanta Ga. (Douglass HS)|
|Ernest Vinson||WR/DB||5-8||170||Moulton Ala. (Lawrence County HS)|
|Julius Wainwright||DB||5-11||175||Tuscaloosa Ala. (Central HS)|
|Allen West||WR/DB/QB||6-0||190||Saraland Ala. (Citronelle HS)|
|Sam Williamson||DT||6-5||240||Greenville Ala. (Greenville HS)|
|Zach Woodfin||LB||6-2||220||Prattville Ala. (Prattville HS)|