Departing Blazer football players had an opportunity to show off for NFL scouts at UAB’s Pro Day on April 8 at the UAB Football Operations Center.
The six Blazer players taking part were running back Spencer Brown, long snapper Jacob Fuqua, defensive end Jordan Smith, defensive back Brontae Harris and wide receivers Austin Watkins and Myron Mitchell.
This year’s Pro Day was of extra importance. The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic allowing NFL prospects fewer opportunities to catch teams’ eyes.
The three players that stood above the rest on the day were Brown, Smith and Watkins.
UAB’s career rushing leader Spencer Brown impressed with a vertical jump of 36.5 the highest of any Blazer on the day. Additional strong showings on the bench, broad jump and 40-yard-dash prove him as a talent of speed and power.
Brown is the UAB career rushing leader with 42 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards in his four years as a Blazer. He was a second-team all-conference selection for the 2020 season.
Defensive end Jordan Smith was another standout on the day. He has been notably bulking up, and with a height of 6-foot-5-inches and weighing 264 pounds, he came in as the biggest of the any of the Blazer on the day.
The redshirt senior displayed an extraordinary athleticism with strong power and speed through both drills and events.
Smith has been notable member of the UAB football team during this pre-draft period. At the Senior Bowl earlier this month, he recorded three tackles for the American team.
Smith was a first-team all-conference selection with 43 total tackles, 4.5 sacks and one interception in the 2020 football season.
Receiver Austin Watkins said that the Pro Day provided him the opportunity to prove himself to NFL scouts.
“[I’m wanting to] prove that I’m an all-around receiver, prove that I can be in the weight room, prove that I can run fast, prove that I can anything,” Watkins said.
Watkins ran the fastest 40-yard-dash of any Blazer and made a variety spectacular catches in his drills including a long down-fielder of nearly 60 yards to top off the day.
Watkins was a first-team All-Conference-USA selection for the 2020 football season bringing in 34 receptions for 468 yards and three touchdowns.
Mitchell had a strong start to his Pro Day, but pulled a muscle running the 40-yard dash and could not participate in the rest of the day’s events. A representative for the football team told Kaleidoscope that it is an issue with his left hip flexor. He did attempt to return for the position drills portion of the day but quickly came off the field.
As dozens of NFL scouts filled into the state-of-the-art practice facility into the heart of Birmingham’s Southside to check out some of Conference USA’s top talent, it is clear that this program is a far cry from what Bill Clark inherited.
“UAB is on the rise,” Watkins said.” We ain’t no fluke.”
The NFL Draft will take place in Cleveland, Ohio from April 29 to May 1.
The UAB Blazers football team will play Saturday, April 10 in their spring football game.