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  • Brad Cummings

Spring Preview: Running Backs

Updated: Mar 5, 2022

Big thank you Blazer Nation for the interest you have shown these preview articles. We have received good feed back and a lot of views. Means more than you know.

Our next group to preview: Running Backs

UAB has 6 Running Backs listed on the roster at this moment during spring training. One Senior, three Juniors, and two Sophomores. Five have appeared in a Division One football game while Perryman was the leading rusher at East Mississippi CC last season. Tallest Running Back goes to McBride, Witherspoon, and Perryman. They all come in at 5'11". Farthest away from home is Dewayne McBride as he hails from Starke, Florida. Closest to home goes to Lee Witherspoon and A.J. Gates. Both are from Birmingham, Alabama. Lets take a quick look at all of the Running Backs.

Jermaine Brown Jr. #1 - 5'8" 185lbs - Senior

The only Senior on the roster at running back, Jermaine Brown Jr. has been a staple in the UAB offense since he arrived on campus back in 2019. Brown has played in 32 games as a Blazer recording 1,358 rushing yards for his career and 6 touchdowns. Last year we saw some of what Jermaine can do catching the ball as he tallied 200 yards receiving on 23 catches. This season will be interesting to see if Jermaine continues to be one of the backs in the Blazer 1-2 combo or could we see him move out to the slot where he started out as a Blazer? The running back room is deep. I expect to see Jermaine continue to be that lightning back for UAB but would not be surprised if someone else takes some of those touches.

DeWayne McBride #22 - 5'11" 215lbs - Junior

Arguably the best running back in the conference this year, if not one of the best running backs in the country. (Biased? Maybe, but Debo is so good) DeWayne McBride has 1,810 rushing yards on 251 carries in his first two season for the green and gold. 1,371 of those rushing yards came last season as he rushed for 100+ yards 5 times in 2021. He has 17 rushing touchdowns for his career. McBride currently sits 7th in the record books at UAB for most rushing yards. It is no secret that DeWayne McBride will be the day one starter for the Blazers. He has more than earned that right until someone steps up and takes that from him.

Lee Witherspoon #5 - 5'11" 205lbs - Redshirt Sophomore

Lee Witherspoon comes to the Southside from Mississippi State by way of Birmingham, Alabama. Lee was once a Parker High School standout before spending his last season in high school at North Jackson. His Senior year at North Jackson saw him rush for an astounding 2,846 yards, averaging 19.2 yards a carry, and a state record 53 rushing touchdowns! This was enough to help him land a spot with the Bulldogs at Mississippi State. While at MSU, Lee played in 22 games rushing for 136 yards on 28 carries. Witherspoon joined the Blazers in 2021 but did not see any action due to a pre-season injury that left him out for the year. If Witherspoon is healthy expect him to get some first team carries this season. His ability to make a play could find him on the field sooner than later.

A.J. Gates #23 - 5'7" 195 - Redshirt Junior

Gates is a local kid from Birmingham and played high school ball at Mountain Brook. A.J. had several offers out of high school and decided to try his luck as a preferred walk on at the University of Alabama in 2019. After two years spent in Tuscaloosa Gates came to UAB in 2021. He played in 3 games rushing for 24 yards on seven carries. Gates is a quick, shifty back that when in open space can make a defender miss or just straight up run away from them. Pick your poison. Can Gates get any carries in what is already a loaded back field?

Tyetus Smith-Lindsey #37 - 5'7" 180lbs - Redshirt Sophomore

If you were able to make it to the last few Spring Games then you probably remember Tyetus Smith-Lindsey at running back. Or maybe you remember him making a few plays and thinking, "Who is that running the ball?" Tyetus has had some great spring practices and games but that has yet to get him a lot of playing time. Tyetus is an Oxford High School (AL) standout that walked on at UAB in 2019. He has played in 3 games and has 32 yards rushing for his career. Tyetus is a favorite of the Southside Blazer Report so I hope to see him get some more carries this year.

Zeus Perryman #25 - 5'11" 225lbs - Redshirt Junior

Zeus! How cool is that name? It also matches him very well as Zeus is a big, chiseled, bruising running back. Zeus is a power style back that can run between the tackles for large chunks of yards. The Laurel, Mississippi running back comes to the Blazers after spending the last few season with East Mississippi CC. In 2021 Zeus was the feature back at EMCC carrying the ball for 597 yards in 6 games. Zeus fits the mold for what is expected of a UAB running back. Will be interesting to see if he can find his spot in the rotation this year.

Taven Curry # N/A - 6'0" 205lbs - Freshmen

Not listed on the roster this spring is Taven Curry. Curry hails from Robertsdale, Alabama and like so many of the running backs that comes to UAB, he is a big bruiser. While not currently showing on the roster he could be added in the summer.

I feel like I keep saying this but this position group is, like so many others, stacked! Not quiet sure how the coaches are going to handle the playing time with so many capable backs. Much like the quarterback position the battle to be the backup will be a fierce one to watch this spring heading into fall. DeWayne McBride will be your starter this season as he will look to add to his already impressive career on the Southside. But as we all know Coach Vincent likes to have that second back to rotate with McBride. Can Jermaine Brown Jr. hold on to his lightning role on this offense or will he find himself in a battle for that spot with one of the talented running backs waiting in the shadows? Stay tuned Blazer fans...this looks to be an exciting competition.


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