Spring Preview: Wide Receivers
Well after a long weekend of weather and basketball we are back to the football teams Spring preview.
The next group to preview: Wide Receivers.
There are 17 wide receivers on the spring roster. Three seniors, four juniors, one sophomore, and nine freshmen. Six have seen the field for the green and gold. The tallest of the wide receivers goes to Trea Shropshire, Jordan Palmer, and Dexter Boykin who all stand at 6'3". The farthest from home is Tejhaun Palmer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The closest to home is Dexter Boykin who hails from Fairfield, Alabama. This group looks to provide some hefty competition this spring.
(Not in any order of how I believe they will start)
#11 Trea Shropshire - 6'3" 195lbs - Senior
Well, it was in and out of the transfer portal a few times for Trea but ultimately UAB's leading receiver has returned for his senior season and will look to add to the big time numbers he put up last year. Trea has played in 22 games and made 16 starts for the Blazers. Last season he led the country in yards per catch at 26. Some might call him "Big Play Trea" because in his career at UAB he only has 40 receptions but has amassed 1,013 yards in 9 touchdowns. Which means when the ball goes to him it is usually a big play. Trea is the deep threat on this team as many corners have found it hard to keep up with or out jump the big wide receiver. Expect more of the same this year but I would definitely like to see more of his catch and run abilities.
#6 Ryan Davis - 5'11" 185lbs - Redshirt Junior
My belief this season is we may not lean so heavily on our tight ends in the pass game. Therefore, Ryan Davis production should increase. The speedy, sure handed Davis will take his spot at the slot. Expect his impact to be far greater this season baring any further injury. Part of the problem for Davis has been injury through his Blazer career. He has played in 14 games and made 1 start for the green and gold. In part, again because of injury, Davis has only made 16 receptions for 206 yards with no touchdowns. When the Blazers get into a tough spot this season and need a first down Davis will be the go to receiver.
#3 T.J. Jones - 6'1" 200lbs - Redshirt Junior
T.J. Jones should absolutely be a bigger factor in the offense this season. The question is, will he? The Penn State transfer was a 3 to 4 star recruit out of high school in Florida which landed him offers from 38 different schools, most of which were power five programs. He transferred to UAB ahead of last season and played in just 8 games. Jones had 50 receiving yards on eight catches and 13 rushing yards on three attempts last season. Again I will ask, will he become a bigger factor this season? Only time will tell but the skill is there.
#19 Tejhaun Palmer - 6'2" 200lbs - Redshirt Senior
Palmer might have made a good case last season in the bowl game against BYU to become the number two wide receiver for the Blazers. In that one game he had 48 yards receiving and was sure handed in the rain when we needed it. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native was an extremely successful JUCO receiver and played in 12 games last season for UAB. Tejhaun fits the mold that UAB has had since the Return for a wide receiver. He is big, fast, and can out jump most corners he will face. Will be interesting to see how he is utilized this season.
#7 Samario Rudolph - 5'9" 180lbs - Redshirt Junior
Samario is the walk-on that has earned his spot on the roster. The quick and shifty wide receiver from south Alabama will look for playing time this season most likely at the slot. Rudolph has appeared in 19 games making 5 starts. He has 9 receptions for 100 yards on his career. Samario will have to put forward a big effort this year to find the field.
#13 Fred Farrier II - 6'1" 180lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Fred held offers from several colleges and universities out of high school but ultimately chose the Blazers. Fred is a young receiver with a lot of potential. His senior year in high school he went for 1,010 yards on 58 receptions for 12 touchdowns. He also played defensive back and posted 39 tackles, with 2.5 tackles for loss, and two interceptions. An interesting fact about Fred Farrier II is that his father, Fred Farrier I, is the Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator at Alabama A&M. He did not appear in a game last season for the Blazers.
#14 Dexter Boykin - 6'3" 215lbs - Redshirt Senior
Dexter Boykin did not come to UAB in his final year of college ball to watch from the sideline. The former North Alabama Lion by way of Fairfield High School (AL) is an experienced wide receiver with a big body and high football IQ. In his 4 seasons with the Lions he had 136 receptions for 2,068 yards and 16 touchdowns. Expect him to make the wide receiver competition a hot one this spring. I am really expecting big things from him. Let's see if his game play can translate to much more difficult opponents and defenses.
#81 A.J. Davis IV - 5'11" 180lbs - Junior
A.J. Davis IV, high school teammate to starting quarterback Dylan Hopkins, has appeared in 18 games as a Blazer. Davis has 10 receptions for 95 yards on his career. Davis is a speedy receiver but has shown that he can drop a pass or two. He did a lot of different things for the Blazers last year so maybe utility wide receiver is what we should call him. Him and Dylan have many years together wnd it would be nice to see that connection pay off this season.
#83 Jordan Palmer - 6'3" 195lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Jordan is the prototypical wide receiver that UAB looks for except this time the Blazers were able to get this one out of high school instead of JUCO like in the past. He did not appear in a game last season. His senior year at Chattahoochee High School in Georgia saw him go over 1,000 yards receiving while earning First Team All-State honors.
#30 Dee Ware - 5'10" 185lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Dee is a walk-on freshman from Sylacauga High School in Alabama.
#36 Luke Percer - 5'11" 200lbs - Redshirt Sophomore
Luke has played in 16 games as a Blazer, mostly on special teams. He has one tackle and a fumble recovery. Luke played at Oak Mountain High School in Alabama.
#87 Connor Harby - 6'2" 180lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Connor comes to UAB from Hoover High School by way of Victor, New York. He did not play in a game last season for the Blazers.
#31 Ike Rowell - 6'0" 190lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Ike comes to UAB from Fyffe High School in Alabama. He was once a teammate of current UAB tight end Brody Dalton. Ike was voted First Team All-State, 3A Back of the Year, and 3A MVP in the State Championship game for Fyffe. He did not appear in a game last season for the Blazers.
#82 Josh Malone - 6'1" 190lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Josh comes to UAB from Madison Academy in Alabama. He did not appear in a game last season for the Blazers.
#32 Tyler Trawick - 5'11" 165lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Tyler comes to UAB from Corner High School and has a brother Skyler who is also on the team. He did not appear in a game last season for the Blazers.
#86 Teddy Davenport - 5'10" 170lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Teddy comes to UAB from Denmark High School in Georgia where he excelled as a two sport athlete. He did not appear in a game last season for the Blazers.
#35 Savion Hadley - 5'11" 150lbs - Redshirt Freshman
Savion comes to UAB from McAdory High School in Alabama. He did not appear in a game last season for the Blazers.
This group seems to be one of the harder groups to predict the starters. While Trea Shropshire looks to be a shoe-in for one of the starting roles the question going in to the spring is who will fill the other spots. Expect Dexter Boykin to be an immediate contributor while Tejhaun Palmer will also see a lot of playing time. I think the slot will come down to match ups. Ryan Davis will get much of the starts but look for A.J. Davis and maybe Samario Rudolph to also find time in that role. T.J. Jones will be the wild card this year. If he shows out, he could be dynamite for the Blazers. Among the younger wide receivers I believe you could see Fred Farrier II and Jordan Palmer get in to some games and make an impact.
In conclusion the wide receiver group looks to be deep and talented this year. All of the players just mentioned will play but in what capacity? This is yet to be determined.