BIRMINGHAM, AL (WMC) - The Memphis Tigers are focused on winning the Birmingham Bowl, practicing hard to face Wake Forest on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the Tigers got a special gift during the college football early national signing period.
Day 1 of on-site workouts for Saturday's Bowl Game against Wake Forest was fast-paced and energetic.
Of course, that's how all practices are supposed to be for Head Coach Mike Norvell.
Sophomore starting cornerback T.J. Carter is still bruised up from the American Athletic Conference. Championship Game.
His place in Wednesday’s practice was taken by Jacobi Francis, who's started several games this season.
The big news of the day wasn’t so much what happened in Birmingham, but back in Memphis instead for National Signing Day.
Norvell says seeds planted by five straight bowl appearances are reaping a strong recruiting harvest.
"A guy like Jalil Clemons who was a big-time target for us at the very beginning of recruiting,” Norvell said. “Just a phenomenal young man out of Starkville and a great pass rusher. We got some good news on it last night and it's good to see it come in this morning. So, we got pretty much everybody we were hopeful to get. There's a couple left out there not signed this afternoon, but all signs are pointing to the positive. Coaches have done a great job, and this is going to be a remarkable class."
Additionally, a former top Memphis recruit will get his time to shine in the upcoming Birmingham Bowl.
The workouts from Day 1 include a ramped-up learning curve for number 21 Timothy Taylor.
The redshirt freshman from East High School thrust into the third running back spot with U of M Consensus All American Darrell Henderson declaring for the NFL Draft.
The 5-foot-9-inches tall, 213-pound Taylor said Memphis will still be potent with Patrick Taylor Jr., a thousand-yard rusher in his own right, and Tony Pollard running the ball.
"He has a lot of speed,” said running backs coach Anthony Jones. “He was a track guy in high school and he's trying to drop a little weight. And he's also a power guy so he runs with good pad leverage. So, he's done a great job for us so far during the Bowl Prep."
“He’s done a good job all year waiting for his opportunity,” Norvell said. “You never know what’s going to happen so guys have to get prepared. They have to be ready.”
Everything is just about set for the Birmingham Bowl.
The Tigers have one more tough day of practice on Thursday, then it’s time for all the festivities to kick in.