Dec. 12, 2000
BIRMINGHAM - UAB Head Coach Watson Brown and three Blazer players, seniors Otis Leverette, Undrae Crosby and Carl Fair, will participate in the 63rd Annual Kelly Tires Blue-Gray All-Star Football Classic Christmas day in Montgomery, Ala., Blue-Gray Executive Director Charles "Fats" Jones announced Tuesday.
Brown, who led UAB to a 7-4 season in 2000, will be the offensive head coach of the South team. Rice's Ken Hatfield will be the South's defensive head coach.
The North team will be coached by Ron Turner of Illinois (offense) and Paul Pasqualoni of Syracuse (defense).
The 2000 Blue-Gray Classic is the fourth in which UAB players have participated. Defensive lineman Josh Evans was the first Blazer to appear in the game (1994). Defensive back Dainon Sidney (1997), defensive back Kris Neal (1999) and placekicker Jake Arians (1999) also participated.
Leverette, a defensive end from Americus, Ga., Crosby, a tight end from Millbrook, Ala., and Fair, a running back from Starkville, Miss., were all major contributors to the Blazers' success in 2000.
The only senior starter on a UAB defensive unit that finished the 2000 season ranked 11th on total defense, Leverette had three and one half sacks in 2000, and 56 total tackles (24 solo). At 6'7" and 275 pounds with excellent speed and quickness, he definitely has the potential to move on to the next level.
Crosby had the best year of his college career in 2000 with 17 receptions for 176 yards. That set a new UAB single-season mark for catches by a tight end (eclipsing the previous record of16 held by Lamar Lee, 1995). With 24 career catches, he is second on the UAB all-time list for receptions by a tight end (Lee is the leader with 25, 1995-96). Crosby is considered to be one of the best blocking tight ends in Conference USA.
Fair's collegiate career has been seriously affected by injuries (he's missed parts of the last three years with various ailments), at UAB he missed the last six games of the 1999 season with a broken leg (he had 405 yards on 75 carries with three touchdowns in five games), and he was slowed for the entire 2000 season with an ankle injury suffered in the first series of the season-opener. Nevertheless, he has the size, strength and surprising speed to make him a valid professional prospect.
The players will report for practice on Tuesday, Dec. 19, and media day will be Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 1:00 pm at the Montgomery Civic Center. All practices will be held at the Maxwell Air Force Base practice complex.
The Blue-Gray Classic will be played Monday, Dec. 25 at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Kickoff is set for 11:00 am CST. The game will be televised nationally by ABC.