published Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Mocs in depth

UTC quarterback B. J. Coleman is photographed at Finley Stadium just prior to the first full-contact practice.
UTC quarterback B. J. Coleman is photographed at Finley Stadium just prior to the first full-contact practice.
Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

OFFENSIVE TWO-DEEP

* returning starter (player started more than half the games of 2010)

Quarterback

B.J. Coleman *Sr., 6-5, 220

Graham Nichols So., 6-3, 195

or Terrell Robinson Fr., 6-3, 195

Running back

J.J. Jackson Jr., 5-9, 195

Chris Awuah Jr., 5-9, 200

Fullback

Thomas Green Sr., 6-0, 220

Taharin Tyson Fr., 5-11, 225

Wide receiver

Joel Bradford *Sr., 6-0, 162

Jeff Veres Jr., 5-11, 195

Wide receiver

Marlon Anthony So., 6-5, 205

Sloan Allison Sr., 6-3, 215

Tight end

Faysal Shafaat Fr., 6-5, 230

Sean Stackhouse Jr., 6-4, 245

Tackle

Taylor Dodds Fr., 6-6, 265

Brandon Morgan Fr., 6-2, 280

Guard

Austin Wilson *Jr., 6-3, 265

Will Hewitt Jr., 6-4, 280

Center

Patrick Sutton Fr., 6-1, 255

Shaun Hill Fr., 6-2, 255

Guard

Kevin Revis So., 6-2, 275

Omre Harris Sr., 6-2, 290

Tackle

Adam Miller *Jr., 6-4, 275

Hunter Dockery So., 6-4, 290

Kicker

Nick Pollard Fr., 6-0, 180

Mike Hammons Sr., 5-10, 180

Punter

Mike Hammons *Sr., 5-10, 180

Jake Huitt Fr., 6-0, 165

QUARTERBACK

B.J. Coleman changed the direction of the Mocs’ program when he transferred from the University of Tennessee in the spring of 2009. Now he enters his senior season full of confidence and determined to be better than he was last season, when he threw for 2,996 yards with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. After two seasons at UTC he’s already just the sixth Mocs quarterback with more than 5,000 career passing yards.

Behind Coleman, sophomore Graham Nichols and redshirt freshman Terrell Robinson are the backups. Nichols got some cleanup action in three games last season.

Robinson will be a double threat for UTC. Not only could he line up at quarterback in some spread offense situations, but he also will be used as a wide receiver, where his big frame and athleticism could make him a valuable weapon.

RUNNING BACKS

The back and forth between J.J. Jackson and Chris Awuah enters its third season. Now, as UTC’s only experienced rushers, the Mocs need big seasons from both. Jackson is the more consistent back, but Awuah is the bigger big-play threat. Between the two of them, UTC needs a solid running game that can provide some balance with what should be a prolific passing attack.

UTC could also get contributions from sophomore Desmond Walker, a walk-on, and true freshman Marquis Green.

While Thomas Green may be a more traditional blocking fullback, Taharin Tyson could bring some flash to the position. Tyson could run the ball several times a game and may even play tailback in third-and-short situations.

RECEIVERS

Joel Bradford is the center of attention for the wideouts after his record-setting season in 2010. After not catching a pass as a freshman and being moved to safety as a sophomore, Bradford stunned just about everyone with 81 catches for a school-record 1,284 yards last season.

Bradford had a good wingman in Brian Sutherland last season (50 catches for 729 yards), but now a new one will have to emerge. The most likely target is the biggest one, the 6-foot-5 Marlon Anthony, who caught 14 passes for 195 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2010.

UTC also could get some help from its two freshman wideouts, Tommy Hudson and Ron Moore. Lean and quick receivers like Bradford, both could see their roles increase as the season progresses. Sloan Allison, meanwhile, caught only three balls last season, but all were for touchdowns.

The Mocs have to replace an all-conference tight end in Garrett Hughes, and Faylal Shafaat had a good preseason. The 6-5 Shafaat has great hands and good speed and has dramatically improved his blocking.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Austin Wilson and Adam Miller are the Mocs’ returning starters on the offensive line. Next to them are Kevin Revis, a Tennessee transfer who has played in one game, and a pair of freshmen.

Wilson started last season as the backup center before taking over the starting left guard spot for the final eight games. He was back at center entering the preseason but quickly was moved back to guard.

Patrick Sutton and Shaun Hill could be in a season-long battle, which could last for the next four seasons, for the starting center job. Sutton, a walk-on, is a redshirt freshman and Hill is a true freshman who enrolled in January, a rarity at the FCS level.

Taylor Dodds has some big shoes to fill at left tackle, where he is taking over for three-year starter Chris Harr. Dodds is a little behind on his strength after shoulder surgery last fall, but offensive line coach Geep Wade has said he makes up for it with his quickness. DEFENSIVE LINE

UTC defensive end Nick Davison is photographed at Finley Stadium just prior to the first full-contact practice.
UTC defensive end Nick Davison is photographed at Finley Stadium just prior to the first full-contact practice.
Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

DEFENSIVE TWO-DEEP

* returning starter (player started more than half the games of 2010)

Defensive end

Davis Tull Fr., 6-3, 225

Zach Rayl Fr., 6-3, 220

Defensive tackle

Keyon Reed Fr., 6-2, 245

Devin Scates Fr., 6-2, 250

Defensive tackle

Nick Davison *Sr., 6-0, 285

Josh Freeman Fr., 6-0, 270

Defensive end

Josh Williams *Jr., 6-2, 235

De’Markus Lee Sr., 6-4, 240

Strongside linebacker

Ryan Consiglio *Sr., 6-2, 220

Muhasibi Wakeel Fr., 5-11, 220

Middle linebacker

Shane Heatherly *Jr., 6-4, 220

Wes Dothard So., 6-1, 235

Weakside linebacker

Gunner Miller So., 6-1, 225

Keith Mayes Fr., 5-10, 202

Cornerback

Chaz Moore So., 5-10, 165

Don Cope So., 5-11, 185

Free safety

Chris Lewis-Harris *Sr., 5-11, 175

D.J. Key So., 6-0, 195

Strong safety

Jordan Tippit *Sr., 6-0, 205

D.J. Key So., 6-0, 195

Cornerback

Kadeem Wise *Fr., 5-10, 170

Robert Harrison Jr., 5-10, 170

Kick returner

Chaz Moore So., 5-10, 165

Chris Awuah Jr., 5-9, 200

Punt returner

Joel Bradford *Sr., 6-0, 162

Tommy Hudson Fr., 5-10, 160

DEFENSIVE LINE

The Mocs’ front four is a study in contrasts. There are end Josh Williams and tackle Nick Davison, veterans who have a combined 29 career starts. And then there’s Davis Tull and Keyon Reed, a pair of talented redshirt freshmen who have their whole careers ahead of them.

After beginning his career with a bang in 2009 with seven sacks, Williams was limited throughout his sophomore season because of a shoulder injury. He still finished with five sacks and needs just three more for the school record, but he wasn’t satisfied with his performance. Williams said he’s planning on a big 2011 season, which would help open things up for Tull on the other side. Tull was having a very good spring before a broken hand cut it short, and he suffered the same injury in the preseason.

Davison was the Mocs’ rock on the line last season. He had 45 tackles and two sacks and logged major minutes at a position where UTC had virtually no depth.

LINEBACKERS

The only defensive group that returns intact from last season, the linebackers could be the strength of the defense. Along with starters Ryan Consiglio, Shane Heatherly and Gunner Miller, UTC has Wes Dothard who could move into a first-team spot before the season’s done.

Consiglio led UTC with 110 tackles last season and was a second-team all-conference pick. There’s nothing flashy about his game, but he makes players over and over again.

Miller is healthy after a pinched nerve forced him to miss not only the final three games of the 2010 season but spring practice as well. With only eight career games under his belt, Miller isn’t yet close to reaching his potential.

Look for former Red Bank High School standout Keith Mayes, a redshirt freshman, to get some action this season, as well.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Three of the Mocs’ starting four defensive backs have earned All- SoCon honors at some point. Kadeem Wise was last season’s SoCon freshman of the year, and he is a preseason second-team All-SoCon pick along with safety Chris Lewis-Harris. Jordan Tippit, meanwhile, was first-team All-SoCon as a sophomore.

Tippit is as driven as any UTC player to have a big 2011 after an ankle injury in the second game of 2010 bothered him for much of what he considers a subpar season.

D.J. Key might not start many games, if any, but he’s as valuable to the secondary as any of the starters. A hard-hitting safety whom Huesman has described as one of the best players on the team, Key was second on the team in tackles last season and always seems to be around the ball.

Chaz Moore takes over Buster Skrine’s spot at cornerback and should be a solid contributor after playing in every game, and starting two, as a true freshman last season.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Mocs are counting on Nick Pollard to be the consistent kicker they didn’t have last season after Pollard had to miss the entire season with a leg injury. Despite his slight frame he has a powerful leg and should be a difference-maker for UTC in tight games.

UTC’s return game took a hit when Brian Sutherland left the program. He was one of the fastest players in the SoCon and showed off his speed with a 98-yard kickoff return for a score against Auburn.

Chaz Moore and Chris Awuah likely will handle most of the kickoff returns this season, and both have the speed and agility to be effective. Joel Bradford again will be the punt return man. He’s preseason second-team All-SoCon and is a solid, dependable returner who is capable of breaking free for a big one.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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