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UAB linebacker Fitzgerald Mofor (52) chases down Middle Tennessee quarterback Brent Stockstill in the 2018 Conference USA championship game.

FRISCO, Texas - A big part of UAB's football rebuild was getting players to take a leap of faith on the Blazers' ability to come back from the program's termination in 2014.

For middle linebacker Fitzgerald Mofor, the chance to play top-level football was too good to pass up.

Mofor, a senior for the defending Conference USA champion Blazers, actually began his collegiate career in West Virginia.

In 2015, Mofor was a star at Glenville State. He piled up 63 tackles for the Pioneers - including six for a loss - and 2 1/2 sacks on his way to being named the Mountain East Conference Freshman of the Year.

"Glenville was a great experience for me," Mofor said. "I felt like a really found myself and matured a lot. I met some lifelong friends, even (former Glenville State) Coach (David) Hutchinson - I'm still friends with him and we still communicate. We talk every now and then on Twitter."

The Maryland native could have stayed in Gilmer County and enjoyed what was shaping up to be a standout career in the Division II MEC, but an opportunity to get to the next level was one he said he couldn't pass up.

"After my freshman year at Glenville State, I initially didn't have plans of leaving," Mofor said. "Once I heard that a football team (at UAB) was coming back after getting cut, I was told you'll have a year to prepare and practice and earn your scholarship, I thought, 'I can't let that go.' I had the feeling an opportunity was there for me and it was something I couldn't let go."

So it was off from Glenville to Birmingham, Alabama, for Mofor.

He was part of the group of UAB players who did not play any games in 2016 prior to the Blazers' return to competition in 2017.

"We just practiced every day and scrimmaged every Saturday," Mofor said. "We had a vision in our minds that when we do get a chance to compete, we wanted to be the best. We never lost sight of that vision."

Mofor's choice worked out pretty well for him, UAB coach Bill Clark and the Blazers.

As a sophomore in 2017, Mofor started all 13 games at linebacker for UAB and finished third on the team with 71 total tackles to go along with one sack and one interception. Then last season in 2018, Mofor totaled 75 tackles, including 10 (7 1/2 solo) in the C-USA championship game against Middle Tennessee.

"That's one of those stories that make college football great," Clark said. "[Mofor] is a guy who came in and wanted to prove himself, did, and also really has turned himself into a player through hard work. He was a solid player when we got him. Foot speed and agility - some of those things - he has just worked and worked and worked. His passion and his leadership is terrific and he loves the game. It's fun to see a guy pay his own way to pay his own way then work himself to not only being a scholarship player, but a star and a guy we bring here to Media Days."

Clark said there really was not much recruiting to be done with Mofor. He was a player who sought out UAB, not the other way around.

"He really found us," Clark said. "It's one of those crazy stories from starting a program over. The neat thing about that is guys like him that said, "OK I've maybe got a chance to actually go make this roster.' They really didn't know until they got there, and it's turned into a really good story. I'm glad we got him."

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