One of the more unique recruiting efforts in college football history came when UAB Head Coach Bill Clark and his staff were given the chance to put a program back together.
A textbook on how to piece a program back together wasn’t included in the effort. So with no road map to follow, Clark and the staff relied on one skill they all knew best: countless hours of old-fashioned hard work.
Nowhere was that hard work more evident than in keeping and recruiting players.
“It goes without saying that recruiting is the life blood of any college football program,” said Clark, who defines recruiting as one of the six pillars of his program, joining academics, character education, coaching, sports medicine and training.
The staff pumped blood into the program with a mixture of in-state youngsters and junior college and four-year college transfers from throughout the country. A fall season filled with endless evaluations, phone calls and recruiting trips turned into impressive signing classes in December and February.
It was an exciting time.
“We came into work and talked about questions and scenarios and problems that never in the history of college football had ever been talked about,” said UAB Defensive Coordinator David Reeves. “That was pretty neat. That was pretty exciting and rejuvenating and it kind of kept your mind off the monumental task in front of us. Going into that first season, it will still be a huge task but the making history part and the way the city of Birmingham rallied around the situation, just being a part of that kind of outweighed all the work we had to do.”
The product of the hard work was a snapshot of what to expect as Clark and his program moved forward. There were significant local signees and big-time in-state signees, such as Spanish Fort quarterback Thomas Johnston, who was 35-0 as a starter in his high school career and selected as 2015 Mr. Football in the state of Alabama. There were also signees from coast to coast.
Every year will be just a bit different but the blueprint is set.
Recruiting certainly received an incredible, and much-needed boost, with the June announcement and August groundbreaking for the UAB Football Operations Center and Legacy Pavilion. Bringing recruits onto what is already a thriving and beautiful campus to see the athletic facility progress is a huge boon to the recruiting effort.
The national attention, which leads to national recruiting, is more evident than ever before with the UAB football program. Check the current UAB football roster and you see 16 states represented. Some didn’t know anything about the UAB football program until Clark took the program nationally. His goal is to maintain that recruiting focus and he has the staff to help pull it off.
“You have to have the means to do that,” Clark said. “We want to focus in locally and be good there but also want to become a national recruiting team. I think with our education opportunities and our facilities now, we can do that. You’ve got to have the means to get out and also have the need to get out and have enough film and people studying to find these guys.”
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