UAB had one of the best passing attacks in the nation last season, but the Blazers took a big hit in that department with the news that leading receiver Jackie Williams has been dismissed from the team.
No reason was given for the dismissal. Williams (5-foot-11, 190 pounds) was the fourth-leading receiver in school history after three seasons, and he had caught a pass in all 35 games in which he had played.
"Jackie is a good kid and a good player, but what's best for our football program is that we part ways," second-year coach Garrick McGee said in a statement released by the school.
Williams led the Blazers with 52 receptions for 799 yards but had only one TD catch last season. He was apparently surprised by his dismissal.
"I really don't know what caused Coach McGee to make his decision," Williams told al.com. "I thought things were moving in the right direction and we had the same common goals of winning a conference championship. Apparently, I wasn't a part of that so he told me it was best for me to part ways."
UAB averaged 308.8 passing yards per game last season, good for third in Conference USA and 19th nationally. The Blazers' leading returning receiver now is tailback Darrin Reaves, who had 41 receptions last season. The leading returning wide receiver is J.J. Nelson, a speedster who had 22 receptions and four TDs.
Junior TE Kennard Backman should become a more important weapon for quarterback Austin Brown. One wide receiver to watch is Arkansas transfer Maudrecus Humphrey (6-3, 190), who has good speed -- he had off-field issues with the Razorbacks, was suspended and eventually left the school. McGee was an assistant at Arkansas when Humphrey, a Birmingham native, played there.