Tinch committed to UAB Thursday night, following an official visit to the school with assistant Newton Rams coach Josh Skelton accompanying him, he was choosing the upstart Blazers — a program that hasn’t played football in three years — over offers from established programs such as Ball State, Central Michigan and Troy, as well as some interest from 2016 college football runner up Alabama.
Tinch said it was the Blazers’ consistency and tenacity recruiting him, even despite injury, spoke volumes to him about how much the program valued him.
“UAB was the first school to offer me back in the summer, and regardless of my injury, they always supported me, no matter what, and let me know they had my back,” Nuru said. “Just knowing that really got my confidence up to work harder and get better.”
The 5-foot-11, 202 pound tailback missed much of the 2016 season due to a high ankle sprain, but still managed 214 rushing yards and two scores in six games played, with a per-carry average of 5.4 yards.
He, along with junior back Adarius Thomas — whom Skelton said could possibly receive a UAB offer of his own in September — were kind of thrust into a running back by committee situation, along with graduated senior Kentavis Terrell, when now-Michigan freshman Kurt Taylor transferred to Grayson.
But as the 2017 season is less than three weeks away from kickoff, Tinch is healthy, and it appears the offensive backfield — and the success of Newton’s rushing attack — is largely in his (and Thomas’) hands.
“Nuru battled injury last year, and he’s responded very well,” Skelton said. “Starting in January, he really rededicated himself and put in countless hours in the weight room and the field. His summer has been great for us also.”
Just as important, both Skelton and Tinch acknowledge the major gains Tinch has made in the cerebral and intangible aspects of the game as well. Case in point, now that Tinch has settled on his college choice, he has no desire to linger in the hubris that comes with being recruited.
He’s more interested in boosting the profile of the name that’ll be written across his chest each Friday night.
“My number one thing is always my team and doing my part to win,” he said. “Recruiting is over now, so it’s just about us winning every Friday. We’ve got a lot to prove this year. Coach Skelton has been pushing us all offseason. Coach (Terrance) Banks and coach Grant both feel like this year is going to be special, so I don’t want to let them or my team down.”
Skelton corroborates Tinch’s sentiments.
“He’s focused on doing his part to help his team win,” Skelton said. “Overall, his maturity has helped him get to this point, and we expect him to have an outstanding year.”
A breakout senior season for Tinch will likely only confirm what UAB coaches believe about their newest recruiting coup.
“Coach (Jeremy) Hawkins and coach (Hindley) Brigham really kept in touch with me a lot,” Tinch said. “They just told me that I had a chance to play early. They were letting me know that my injury was just a minor setback.”
Tinch’s pledge makes him the 12th UAB commitment for the 2018 recruiting class. The Blazers will resume its football program this season after shutting it down and back in December 2014. And after the three year football layoff, Tinch says he sees loads of potential in the program.
“I feel like UAB is creating something special that I want to be a part of,” he said. “The visit (Thursday) was really about me committing to (head) coach (Bill) Clark and making everything official.”