2022 UAB quarterbacks
Fall camp is roughly three weeks away for the UAB football team and it’s certainly going to be strange without Bill Clark roaming the field and barking orders.
The Blazers remain intact despite Clark’s sudden departure, returning 16 starters — seven on offense and nine on defense — for a team expected to once more compete for the Conference USA title in their final season in the league. Additionally, the coaching staff was retained with offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent elevated to interim head coach.
Dylan Hopkins is the incumbent after leading UAB to a 9-4 overall record, 7-3 as starting quarterback, and an impressive 31-28 victory over No. 13 BYU in the Independence Bowl to cap the 2021 season. Baylor transfer Jacob Zeno and East Mississippi Community College transfer Damon Stewart were impressive in the spring and Bryson Lucero rounds out a quality group of signal-callers with college experience.
Departed: Tyler Johnston III (Towson)
Returning starter(s): Dylan Hopkins, Jr*
Other returning players: Bryson Lucero, Jr* — Dylan Mehrotra, Fr*
Spring/Summer arrivals: Jacob Zeno, Jr* (Baylor) — Damon Stewart, So* — Eli Musso, Fr
2021 position preview: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL| OLB | LB | CB | S | ST
Outlook: With offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent calling the shots this season, UAB’s offense has the potential to be aggressive while maintaining its powerful and time-consuming rushing attack. Regardless of who takes the snaps, they should flourish with an experienced offensive line, a productive running back duo and one of the nation’s best deep threats on the outside.
Dylan Hopkins missed the entire 2020 season but returned with a vengeance last year, usurping Tyler Johnston III, following a minor injury to the latter, and leading the Blazers to within inches of another C-USA west division title. The redshirt junior threw at a 66 percent clip, amassing 2,274 yards, 18 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also scored five times on the ground and threw a 14-yard game-winning touchdown to Trea Shropshire to upend BYU in the Independence Bowl.
The most notable offseason addition was Baylor transfer Jacob Zeno, a former 4-star recruit who spent two full seasons with the Bears before entering the transfer portal last year after only two games. He appeared in five games for Baylor, throwing for 282 yards with a passing and rushing score, and has a chance to unseat Hopkins in fall camp.
Bryson Lucero started five games in the COVID-shortened 2020 season but appeared in only one game last season. Along with East Mississippi Community College transfer Damon Stewart and redshirt freshman Dylan Mehrotra, Lucero completes what is arguably the deepest quarterback room since the return of the program.
Former Haleyville (Ala.) quarterback Eli Musso signed as a walk-on and was added to the roster this summer.
Battle to Watch: Hopkins is the expected starter going into the 2022 season but an offseason surgery on his non-throwing shoulder allowed Zeno to take a majority of first-team reps during the spring. The latter was impressive during spring drills and the annual spring game and has the talent to compete for the starting position in fall camp.
Keep an Eye on: Stewart. Transferring in from the Mississippi JUCO ranks, the Hattiesburg native had a solid spring and made a lot of good decisions on the field during the spring game. Although Stewart may not compete for the starting job this season, his presence increases the talent pool and gives UAB another athletic option at quarterback.
Projected depth chart:
Dylan Hopkins, Jr*
Jacob Zeno, Jr*
Bryson Lucero, Jr* OR Damon Stewart, So*
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2022 UAB quarterbacks