Spring Preview: Linebackers
Updated: Mar 5
Day one from the Southside is in the books! The weather could not have been more perfect for the players to shake off some rust and start spring practice.
Our next group to preview: Linebackers
UAB has 14 Linebackers listed on the roster heading into spring training. Half of those players are Redshirt Freshmen while the other half are Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. Six have appeared in a Division One football game. Tallest Linebacker goes to Charlie Goode, Tyler Taylor, and Jackson Bratton as they all come in at 6'3". Farthest away from home is Reise Collier as he calls Oklahoma City, Oklahoma home. Closest to home goes to Deshaun Oliver Jr. from Birmingham, Alabama. Ramsey High School to be more specific. Ramsay sits a few blocks from campus. To be fair there are several of the linebackers from the Birmingham Metro Area. Lets take a quick look at some of the Linebackers expected to make an impact this year.
Deshaun Oliver Jr. #24 - 6'2" 215lbs - Redshirt Senior
Deshaun comes in as one of the older guys in this group. A Redshirt Senior who is looking to add to the legacy that he and past Blazers have already left. Deshaun has been with the green and gold since 2018. He has come on year after year showing improvements in every season while learning from what has been a solid linebacker core for the Blazers. In 2021 Oliver saw the field 9 times. Six of those nine he was a starter. Oliver recorded 35 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, and 3 pass breakups in 2021 with his best game coming at Tulane. (7 tackles, 2 TFLs) Look for Deshaun to be a day one starter or a solid player in the linebacker rotation. I expect big things from Deshaun this season.
Jackson Bratton #6 - 6'3" 230lbs - Redshirt Sophomore
Jackson comes in highly touted as he was one of the best linebackers in the state of Alabama coming out of high school. He was so good that he even got a personal visit from Nick Saban, which eventually led to his commitment to the University of Alabama. Fast-forward to 2021 when Jackson hits the transfer portal and UAB extends an offer. Looking for some playing time he signs on to play for the Blazers. If Jackson lives up to his high school numbers we could be in for a treat as fans. Bratton has a nose for the ball and will be an immediate impact for our linebacker core. To learn more about Jackson Bratton make sure you follow the link and check out our article on the Muscle Shoals native. https://www.southsidedragonrpt.com/post/know-your-blazer-jackson-bratton
Tyler Taylor #7 - 6'3" 250lbs - Redshirt Senior
A bit of a surprise on the roster is the return of Tyler Taylor. Taylor participated on Senior day at the end of last season and most thought he would be moving on to some form of pro ball. Not that we are mad to see the 250lbs linebacker back on the roster. He has personally been one of my favorite defensive players the last few years. Taylor has played in 18 games as a Blazer over the last two years making 6 starts all in the 2021 season. In two years he has recorded 61 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. If Taylor can stay away from the injury bug look for this to be his best season to date.
Reise Collier #27 - 6'2" 225lbs - Junior
One of the most notable takeaways when looking into Collier is how much weight he has gained since signing with the Blazers. Its no secret if you follow him on social media that Reise has been working ever since his commitment to the green and gold, to prepare himself to make an immediate impact. Collier reminds us a lot of former UAB linebacker Kristopher Moll. The question is will he perform like him? If he does, look for Reise to be a special player for the Blazers. In 2021 he averaged 11 tackles a game and was a defensive leader for Coffeyville CC. Want to learn more about Reise? Check out article on the Oklahoma native. https://www.southsidedragonrpt.com/post/know-your-blazer-reise-collier
Reynard Ellis #38 - 6'0" 240lbs - Redshirt Senior
Perhaps one of the most anticipated transfers coming to UAB, at least for this writer, is Reynard Ellis. I had the opportunity to check out Reynard when he was a senior in high school and only one word can describe what kind of player he was back then, "Baller". Reynard has made the long trip around the south to end up back home here in Birmingham having previous stops at Furman and Georgia Southern. His impact for those schools were tremendous as he was usually the leading linebacker for both schools. Very glad to see Reynard become a Blazer and am very excited to see him end his college career here in Birmingham. To learn more about Reynard check out our article on the Senior linebacker. https://www.southsidedragonrpt.com/post/know-your-blazer-reynard-ellis
Noah Wilder #50 - 6'0" 235lbs - Redshirt Senior
If you have followed UAB football for the last several years than you know who the long haired wild man who drives offenses crazy is. Noah will make his final curtain call for the Blazers this season as he looks to add to his amazing career on the Southside. Noah has played in 35 games starting in all but one. Wilder has recorded 228 tackles with multiple games of 10+ tackles. Mostly known as a run stopper Noah has worked hard on his pass defense and the fruits of his labor showed last season as he had several pass breakups and an interception. If you are trying to find the ball this year while the Blazers are on defense just find the long flowing hair coming out of a Blazer helmet. You can bet that Noah will be around the ball making a play.
Tamarious Brown #51 - 6'2" 220lbs - Redshirt Sophomore
Brown enrolled at UAB in 2020 and redshirted that year. In 2021 he played in 2 games for the green and gold but did not record any tackles. The Memphis, Tennessee native played for Kirby High School and was rated a 3 star coming out of high school. The words that come to mind when watching film on Tamarious is "all around football player." Brown lined up at linebacker, corner, wide receiver, and running back. And that is just the positions I saw on film. Very excited to see his development this season!
Kybo Jamerson #32 - 6'1" 205lbs - Redshirt Freshmen
Jamerson played in one game for the Blazers last season making one tackle. 2021 was his freshmen year with the Blazers. Kybo was a 3 star prospect out of Longview High School in Texas. He chose UAB over UTSA who was heavily recruiting him in high school. He was a Defensive MVP, a first team All-Sate player, and a 2018 State Champion. Kybo brings in more speed and athleticism to the linebacker group. Kybo was also a standout basketball player for his high school team. Really like what I have seen of Kybo. Expect a big step forward this year.
The rest of the group:
Charlie Goode #40 - 6'3" 215lbs - Redshirt Freshmen
Jason Riles Jr. #43 - 6'1" 190lbs - Redshirt Freshmen
Charles Daniels III #46 - 6'2" 220lbs - Redshirt Freshmen
Andre' Howard #53 - 5'11" 220lbs - Redshirt Freshmen
Will Sorrells #54 - 5'10" 205lbs - Redshirt Freshmen
CJ Odoms #57 - 6'1" 240lbs - Redshirt Freshmen
While the linebacker group this year looks to be one of the better groups on the team there is definitely a line between experienced players and those that don't have a lot of experience. Also, look for this very Senior heavy group to pass along some of that knowledge to the young group behind them. I am not even going to try to predict the starters. I believe you will see a group that will rotate throughout the game leaving a constant set of fresh players on the field. This group has some serious CUSA first team players on it and is one of the best linebacker core in CUSA. Mark it down now you will see many post season awards from this group. Does this sound like it is too high of expectations? Maybe, but this group should be expected to meet those expectations. I'm excited about them so I hope they are excited to get to work and prove me right. Who will be my dark horse looking to gain playing time this year? Give me Kybo Jamerson.