It's another spring and another time to rehab for UAB defensive end Diaheem Watkins.


This spring, Watkins is out after right shoulder surgery in December. He tore his labrum against Middle Tennessee in early November, but returned to finish out the season.

He had the same surgery after last season, and was also recovering from a midseason injury that ended his season when he broke ribs and had a collapsed lung.

"Just got to come back at it again," Watkins said. "I'm used to it. I'm tired of it, doing the same thing, but at least I know I can play football again, so it's not a big thing."

When healthy, the 6-foot-4, 257-pound Watkins has been a starter for nearly his entire career. He started all 11 games he played in last year and finished fifth on UAB in tackles with 37 (30 solo). Watkins led UAB with 5.5 sacks and was second with 7.5 tackles for loss - just 0.5 behind linebacker Jake Ganus.

"I'm not worried about it," Watkins said. "It's just a shoulder injury. I played through it. I still ended the season. I've just got to get it back right, rehab it and get it back on the field."

Head coach Bill Clark doesn't expect to have Watkins back before the end of spring practice.

"He's doing everything he can do," Clark said. "We want him to be totally well, but I think (Watkins and the other injured players are) going to be in great shape when they come back."