The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team will have two new offensive linemen when spring semester begins in January.
UTC already had a commitment from Ider (Ala.) High School senior Hunter Townson, who is graduating early, and on Sunday the Mocs received a commitment from former Marshall University center Channing Smith.
Listed at 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, Smith walked on at Marshall in 2011 after graduating from Pike County Central (Ky.) High School. Due to injuries on the line, Smith spent most of spring practice working as the first-team center. However, wanting a chance to play and be on scholarship, he left the team in August with the intention of transferring elsewhere.
"I just wanted to go somewhere where I had a chance to win some games, get a good education and I'll be on scholarship," said Smith, who visited Chattanooga last Thursday.
Smith was coached last spring at Marshall by former UTC offensive line coach Geep Wade, who now works with the Herd's centers and guards. Smith said he heard a lot of good things about the Mocs from Wade.
"Coach Wade and I had a pretty good relationship, and he helped me out -- a big thanks to him for that," said Smith, who also looked at transferring to UT-Martin and Eastern Kentucky.
The Mocs' incoming class is shaping up to be heavy on offensive linemen. UTC has four linemen out among its eight commitments, but the Mocs also have some holes to fill. UTC loses four-year starter Adam Miller and backups Dustin Tate, Irvin Hernandez, Steve Nease and Michael Slowey.
UTC might also lose Taylor Dodds, who has undergone multiple knee surgeries the past two years and, coach Russ Huesman said recently, will not be cleared to play for the 2013 season.
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 ...