A pair of solid recruits have committed to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling program and are expected to sign their national letters of intent today.
Clay Dent, who canceled plans for an Ohio State visit, and Sean Mappes, who chose the Mocs over Purdue and Indiana, have given verbal commitments and their coaches said they would sign the letters as soon as they arrived.
"He is going to sign at 2 p.m. Friday but the one paper the university needs, he'll sign and get it back as soon as he gets it," said Harley Lamey, Dent's coach.
Center Grove (Ind.) coach Cale Hoover was aware of Mappes' intentions before the season started although Mappes had visited Purdue and had a scheduled visit to Indiana.
"I knew when he came back from his visit in November that Chattanooga was where he was going to go," the coach said. "There was something special there that caught his eye."
Mappes is projected as a 165- or 174-pounder and Dent as a 184-pounder. Mappes, who comes from a wrestling family, finished the 2011-2012 season with a 46-0 record that included a school record 29 pins. Mappes had a career record of 143-22 with a school record 84 pins.
"He'll fit in there. He's a very hard-working student and outside of family and faith, wrestling is what he cares about," Hoover said. "His dad was a state champ and wrestled at Ball State and his brother finished third in the state. He has a great natural feel for the sport and great hits and he is a coach's dream -- a gutsy kid that's as self-motivated as you'll meet."
Dent, who also had been contacted by Old Dominion and Arizona State, will enter UTC after having won three Alabama state championships. He finished with a 77-0 record this season at Piedmont High and his career record was 207-13 with 10 of those losses coming in his freshman year.
"He's a once in a lifetime kid," Lamey said. "I love my son very much, and I want him to grow up to be like Clay," Lamey said. "I'd put Clay up against any kid as far as character, class and being good in the classroom and competing with class and dignity. He has a 3.9 gpa and ranks No. 9 in his class so obviously academics are something he does well."
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...