Alabama-Birmingham coach Neil Callaway may have opted for a quick fix by signing 12 junior-college transfers, the most among the 120 FBS programs according to Scout.com.
"We got a good mixture of people at every position," he told the Birmingham News. "I really think we helped ourselves at every spot and with the number of JC guys that we've signed, I think we got some immediate help."
The Blazers' recruiting class includes eight Rivals three-star prospects and was ranked 10th in Conference USA by Rivals and 12th by Scout.com (111th nationally).
Callaway's program has been headed in the right direction, improving from 2-10 in his first season in 2007 to 4-8 in 2008 and 5-7 (4-4 C-USA) last season, but he is under pressure to win. The Blazers have not had a winning season or been to a bowl game since 2004.
On signing day, Callaway said they still had some holes in the roster, especially at tight end, and could add as many as five more players.
"We didn't get everybody we wanted, but overall I think we helped ourselves," he said. "I could live with what we got at everywhere except tight end. We got to find a tight end somewhere that we feel can play."NOTES, QUOTES
--Of the 12 junior-college players in the 2010 signing class, five are already enrolled and can participate in spring practice: LB D.A. Autry (Jones County JC), DB T.J. Ballou (East Mississippi CC), DB Jamie Bender (Jones County JC), RB Pat Shed (East Mississippi CC) and OL Darion Smith (Copiah-Lincoln JC).
--According to a recent report in the Birmingham News, UAB spent an average of $4,913 on recruiting expenses per football signee last year, compared to $22,505 at Auburn and $27,779 at Alabama.
--LB D.A. Autry, Mize, Miss. -- The early enrollee led Jones County (Miss.) Junior College and ranked 21st nationally with 93 tackles and earned honorable mention All-American recognition in 2009. He also contributed four tackles for loss, one sack and three forced fumbles.
--ATH Desmond Warren, Columbia, Ala. -- He led Alabama Class 2A in passing (2,316 yards) and total offense (2,908) and accounted for 32 touchdowns at Houston County High, earning state Player of the Year honors. He completed 164-of-281 passes, or 58.4 percent.
--RB Greg Franklin, Marietta, Ga. -- He rushed for more than 1,500 yards and scored 18 touchdowns as a Class 5A honorable mention all-state selection at Marietta High last season. He racked up a career-high 269 yards and three TDs in an overtime victory against Harrison High.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I do think everybody realizes the improvement we made, not only on the field but off the field. We still have some issues with facilities that we still have to fight to overcome. Overall, I think we are being better received in-state." -- UAB head coach Neil Callaway to the Birmingham News.STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
2010 LOOK AHEAD: The nonconference schedule includes home games against Florida Atlantic and Troy and tough road games against SEC opponents Tennessee and Mississippi State. The Blazers have eight starters returning on offense and nine on defense, and the roster of scholarship players should be close to the 85-man limit for the first time in Neil Callaway's tenure.
SPRING SNAPSHOT: Spring practice begins on March 24 and wraps up with the April 17 spring game. Challenges abound. The Blazers' top returning passer threw for 39 yards and their top returning rusher ran for 288 yards in 2009. The defense ranked 120th against the pass and 114th in total defense.
--QB Joe Webb -- The 6-4, 220-pound dual-threat passer finished his career with 5,771 passing yards and 2,774 rushing yards (1,427 in 2009). He holds several school records, including career rushing yards, single-season rushing yards, single-season rushing TDs and career completion percentage. He capped his career with 459 yards of offense and four scores against UCF.
--C Jake Seitz -- He set a school record with 48 consecutive starts and helped pave the way for an offense that averaged 526 yards over the last four games in 2009. He was a preseason All-C-USA selection and was named to the Rimington Trophy and Lombardi Award watch lists.
--RB Rashaud Slaughter -- He rushed for more than 1,100 yards, caught 81 passes and scored eight TDs in four seasons with his hometown Blazers. He made the C-USA All-Freshman Team in 2006 and rushed for a career-high 104 yards on just four carries against Florida Atlantic in 2009.
--Former Blazers quarterback Joe Webb participated in the Senior Bowl as a wide receiver and caught three passes for 18 yards for the South team, which lost 31-13 on Jan. 30. He was the sixth player in UAB history selected to appear in the showcase.
--UAB alumnus Roddy White went to his second straight Pro Bowl this season after leading the Atlanta Falcons with 85 catches for 1,153 yards and a career-high 11 touchdowns. He finished his Blazers career in 2004 as an All-American with 71 catches for 1,452 yards and a school-record 14 TDs.
Previous Report: 12/21/2009