Spring Preview: Safeties
This next group has 227 games played between them. This group is quiet possibly the deepest and most experienced on the team.
Next we will preview: Safeties
There are 10 safeties on the team for UAB. Six seniors, one junior, and three freshmen. Seven have seen the field for the Blazers. The tallest of the group goes to Xavier Lanier and Jaylen Key who both stand 6'2". The farthest from home is Jaylen Key from Tallahassee, Florida. The closest to home is Damien and Damon Miller from Fairfield, Alabama. This group is talented and experienced. Lets take a look at what they bring to the table.
#0 Keondre Swoopes - 6'0" 190lbs - Senior
Keondre has played in 36 games making 13 starts. Last season he was a Conference USA Honorable Mention. He has 70 tackles, 11 pass break-ups, and 3 interceptions for his career. Keondre's best game was against UTSA when he made six tackles. The most memorable moment for Keondre was probably the interception returned 61 yards for a touchdown against the #2 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. We're going to need more of that this season.
#8 Xavier Lanier - 6'2" 200lbs - Redshirt Senior
Xavier has played in 17 games as a Blazer recording 5 tackles. There is no doubt that Xavier probably does not see more field time due to the amount of experience ahead of him on the depth chart. So being able to get in to 17 games is pretty impressive considerring who is in this position group. It is worth a note I believe academically he is a Redshirt Junior but UAB has him listed as a senior. Could be wrong though. Would be big to hold on to him for another year.
#11 Damien Miller - 6'0" 215lbs - Redshirt Junior
Damien has played in 21 games as a Blazer recording 16 tackles and a forced fumble. He is one half of the Miller brothers from Fairfield, Alabama. His games played and tackle count is not as high as many of the others but a lot of that is due to spending all of 2020 injured. Last season saw Damien ease back in to playing, so look for him to get more on field action in 2022.
#12 Grayson Cash - 6'0" 200lbs - Redshirt Senior
Cash was a bit of a surprise to see on the spring roster after he took part in Senior Day in 2021. But, he has decided to use his extra year and returned to the Southside for 2022. Grayson Cash has played in 45 games as a Blazer making 7 starts. He has 84 tackles and 6 interceptions for his career. Last season Cash had 2 blocked punts, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Grayson also owns the UAB record for an interception returned for a touchdown set at 100 yards against Florida Atlantic. Last season he was named to Second Team All-Conference USA. Grayson has been consistent every year as a Blazer and we expect more of the same in 2022.
#21 Will Boler - 6'0" 215lbs - Redshirt Senior
Probably the most experienced player we have in the secondary is Will Boler. Will has played in 49 games starting 33 of them. Boler has recorded 161 tackles, 10 pass break-ups, and 2 interceptions for his career. He has been All-CUSA Honorable Mention for the last 3 seasons. If there is a quarterback in this secondary it is most likely Will Boler. I will predict this now, Will Boler will break his honorable mention streak and receive First Team honors in 2022. Mark it down now.
#26 Damon Miller - 6'0" 200lbs - Senior
The other half of the Miller brothers is none other than Damon Miller. Damon has played in 27 games starting in 12. Damon has 45 tackles, 8 pass break-ups, and 1 interception for his career. Damon has played every year since he joined the Blazers out of Fairfield High School. This season looks to be the year for the Miller brothers.
#28 Jaylen Key - 6'2" 210lbs - Redshirt Senior
Jaylen Key has played in 31 games making 1 start as a Blazer. He has 18 tackles on his career. Jaylen is another solid player that will get plenty of time this season in the secondary. He does not have a lot of the flashy plays or honors as some of the others in this group, but is a dependable player who will get the job done when called upon.
#34 Matthew Palmer - 6'0" 180lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Matthew comes to UAB from Hoover High School (AL). He did not appear in a game last season.
#35 Skyler Trawick - 5'11" 170lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Skyler comes to UAB from Corner High School (AL). He did not appear in a game last season. Skyler has a brother, Tyler Trawick, who is a wide receiver for UAB. Safe to say UAB likes the brother combos.
#41 Caden Watts - 6'2" 215lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Caden comes to UAB from Russellville High School (AL). He did not appear in a game last season.
There are two spots on average for safeties in the David Reeves defense. Sometimes three when he uses the "Star" position, which is a hybrid safety/linebacker. With that said...at most there are 3 spots for what looks to be 7 players with game experience. Look for this group to provide a solid competition for the starting roles this spring. Although, Reeves has proven that he will rotate every player in to a game at some point with this group. The amount of experience in this secondary is pretty crazy when you look at the numbers that they have produced. There should not be an offense that these players have not seen or a deep ball that they can not defend. If an offense wants to take advantage of our defense this season they will not do it through our safeties.