A nose for competition – County products battle for nose tackle spot

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 10, 2004

There were times last season when Jason Hamlin might have wondered why he gave up a baseball scholarship at a community college to join the football team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a walk on.

If those doubts weren’t dashed last season when injuries thrust him into action on the defensive line, they were certainly put to rest last week.

Last Thursday the former Thompson Warrior was called into the office of Blazers head coach Watson Brown.

Hamlin, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound nose tackle who was just hoping to make the team a year ago, was reassured when Brown told him he had earned a football scholarship for the 2004 season.

&uot;It felt great,&uot; Hamlin said. &uot;I was ecstatic.

&uot;I’m happy with the decision I made.&uot;

After graduating from Thompson High School in 2002, Hamlin attended Bevill Sate Community College on a baseball and academic scholarship.

After enrolling at UAB, Hamlin saw his first action in Division I football midway through the 2003 season when injuries plagued the Blazers’ defensive front.

He finished the season with 15 tackles (12 solo) with one sack and one tackle for loss.

Now Hamlin, a redshirt sophomore, finds himself fighting for a spot atop the depth chart on the defensive line.

Three players – Hamlin, former Vincent Yellow Jacket Shamar Abrams and Clarence Respress – will battle for the starting nose tackle position with the Blazers’ first practice in pads coming later this week.

&uot;One of my role models on the team is probably Shamar,&uot; Hamlin said. &uot;He comes to play every day. He knows his stuff.&uot;

Abrams, a 6-1, 320-pound senior, is the only returning UAB player to have started in all 12 games last season. His 84 tackles (46 solo) were third on the team.

Abrams led UAB in tackles for loss with 10.5 and recorded two sacks and one forced fumble.

Hamlin said the fierce competition at nose tackle has been good for each individual player and has also helped the team.

&uot;Since we started competing against each other we’ve all been pushing each other to make each other better,&uot; Hamlin said.

&uot;It’s war on the practice field, but off the field we’re buddies.&uot;

Jason Hamlin is the son of Jim and Sue Hamlin of Alabaster. His younger brother, Daniel, is a senior quarterback/defensive back at Thompson High School.

Shamar Abrams, from Harpersville, is the son of Melanie and David Abrams.

Hamlin and Abrams are not the only players from Shelby County listed on the UAB 2004 roster.

Senior running back Adrian Brown, 5-11, 185, played football at Montevallo High School.

UAB will open the season at home against Baylor Sept. 4.

Editor’s note: Hamlin and Abrams photos by Steve Wood, courtesy of UAB Athletic Media Relations