BIRMINGHAM — A.D. Diamond had football programs from throughout the country reaching out to him while in the transfer portal following the decision to leave Auburn University. No matter how hectic it got, it wasn't nearly as crazy as how Diamond, who chose UAB during his second recruitment, ended up at Auburn after high school.

Diamond was a playmaking three-star cornerback/receiver who started his high school career at McGill-Toolen and finished at Blount High. His offers stretched into double digits, with one of them coming from UAB. None of the offers, however, came from a Power 5 school. He committed to Louisiana Tech but decided that he wouldn't sign in the early signing period.

However, his recruitment took a strange twist on the first day of the December signing period. Auburn coaches called his high school coaches and said they wanted to offer Diamond. But they wanted him to sign right away. Waiting until February was not an option.

It was Diamond's first Power 5 offer, and it came from a program that wasn't recruiting him through the entire process.

"I hadn't talked to Auburn, didn't even know they offered me or nothing," Diamond said. "They called me and was like, 'We just offered you. We want you to sign today.' I rushed to the school and signed that day. I hadn't took a visit, hadn't talked to any of the coaches."

Diamond's time in Auburn lasted for two football seasons. He did not see game action in two seasons with Auburn. But, he remains happy about his decision to go there out of high school.

"I feel like Auburn did everything for me that I could have asked for," Diamond said. "I grew a tremendous amount as a person, a man and on the field. Auburn did everything. I couldn't be more thankful for Auburn."

UAB didn't get in the mix quickly once Diamond decided to enter the portal. When they did, though, the recruitment went swiftly.  

"UAB just felt right," Diamond said. "When I got here, it really did just feel like home. My old coach from my high school, my freshman year (at McGill-Toolen), Coach (Earnest) Hill, was here. He was the one who kind of reached out and guided me here. My position coach (Kenneth Gilstrap), he also recruited me in high school. I had a relationship with a couple of the coaches already. When I first hit the portal, because there was so much going on and so much on my mind, I just felt like God was going to make the decision clear for me. All the stuff, even stuff that happened at home leading up to my visit here, I just felt like it was a clear sign from God that this was the place for me."

The 6-foot, 170-pound Diamond fits well into a position searching for quality depth. Redshirt junior Mac McWilliams returns at one corner spot and will be one of the cornerbacks in the American Athletic Conference. Redshirt junior Colby Dempsey played a lot last season when healthy and is possibly slotted at the other starting corner.

Senior Xavier Lanier is the only other returnee with notable game experience at UAB. Diamond and BJ Mayes from Incarnate Word were transfer portal additions, but Mayes has been sidelined in spring practice. True freshman Ricky Lee III and redshirt freshman Trey Miles are talented youngsters.

Diamond said he patiently worked his way into the rotation, heading into Thursday's UAB Spring Game, which will begin at 6 p.m. at Protective Stadium.

"So far, I really have just been making sure I learn the scheme and get the concept down," Diamond said. "My fellow DBs have welcomed me with open arms. I've really just been trying to show what I can do without trying too hard or trying to do too much. Really, I'm trying to show my capability and my potential. I'm just taking my time, putting my head down and working."

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