We're starting to see the roster develop under Bill Clark's leadership after a historic recruiting class in 2016, and on Tuesday, the first position battle winner was announced via Twitter.
AJ Erdely, a junior college transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast CC in Perkinston, MS, has been named the starting quarterback. Bill Clark was effusive in his praise of Erdely, saying in the press release "he's got that ability. I think he had a good spring and learned the offense. Hopefully, he'll get in there this summer, when they're doing stuff on their own, and lead the team along with those other quarterbacks."
Erdely might be a name familiar to a few CUSA fans; Erdely was a former Wildcat quarterback for Middle Tennessee State and took approximately 15 snaps at that position in 2014. In this, his third stop as a college quarterback, Erdely understands and embraces the situation at UAB, saying in the release: "You've still got to carry that chip on your shoulder because, in Division I ball, anyone can lose their job at any time. You could have one bad week and you're not the starter any more. Coach Clark's naming me the starter really doesn't matter to me right now, to be honest."
Overall, Erdely doesn't have a lot of experience at the helm as a starer, but in his limited time, Erdely has shown a decent amount of success. In Erdely's JUCO year last season, he led the Bulldogs to the Mississippi state championship with a stat line of 1,881 yards, 14 touchdowns, and two interceptions. In his high school career, Erdely started for one season, throwing for 2,373 yards, 18 touchdowns, and three interceptions, and running for 888 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.
Erdely shows the tendency to be a scrambler, using his legs to get more time before choosing his target in the passing game, certainly a skill he honed while a redshirted QB at MTSU. After his unique situation as a Blue Raider, the JUCO year at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC forced Erdely to get back into the routine of throwing the football (which he had not done in two years in a game situation) and showed a surprising touch on the ball, as evidenced in the stat line above. Standing at 6'3", 220 lbs., Erdely has the potential to grow into a prototypical QB in time for the 2017 season.
You can see highlights from his JUCO season below: