Elon wideout Aaron Mellette will wrap up one of the best careers in SoCon history Saturday against UTC:
Rec. // Yds. // TDs
2009 // 8 // 117 // 2
2010 // 86 // 1,100 // 12
2011 // 113 // 1,639 // 12
2012 // 881,210 // 17
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defense had to contend with one of the greatest ball-carriers in Southern Conference history last week in Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein. This week the challenge is one of the two or three best receivers ever to play in the SoCon.
Elon senior Aaron Mellette has been putting up off-the-charts numbers for the past three seasons. He enters Saturday's season finale for the Mocs (5-5, 4-3 SoCon) and Phoenix (3-7, 1-6) with 295 career receptions, 43 touchdowns and 4,066 receiving yards.
"Even if you've got the route defended perfectly, it ain't over," UTC defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said of covering Mellette. "He's taking balls away from people, he's going up and over, he's going through, he's made great catches -- you've got to hold your breath."
It has been a tough season for Elon, which has lost six of its last seven games. For Mellette, though, his numbers couldn't be much better. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder is third in the FCS with 88 receptions, second with 1,210 receiving yards and his 17 touchdowns leads the nation.
Mellette is second all-time in the SoCon -- trailing only former Elon teammate Terrell Hudgins -- in yards, catches and touchdowns. And his career numbers include just eight catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman.
"When you think about what I've been able to do these last three years, it's been pretty amazing," the Sanford, N.C., native said. "Coming in I had high goals set, and I can pretty much say that I achieved them."
Mellette didn't catch a pass against UTC in 2009, but he's been a real headache the past two games. He caught eight passes for 107 yards in 2010 and nine for 98 and a touchdown last season.
Mocs coach Russ Huesman said UTC will probably need to commit more than one defensive back to containing Mellette -- but he's used to that.
"I'm more prepared for it this year, and I know it's coming," Mellette said. "It forces me to be patient and wait for my opportunities."
After Saturday, Mellette will turn his attention to his NFL opportunity. He's been invited to numerous January senior all-star games and will almost certainly be involved to the NFL Combine in February.
"I've tried to hold off thinking about it as much as possible," he said, "but after the game Saturday that's what's going to be on my mind."
ESPN.com ranks Mellette as the No. 15 wideout in the draft.
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 ...