UTC football commitments
Kennington Cadwell (Columbia, Ga.) 6-6, 280 OL
Octavious Davis (Oxford, Ala.) 6-2, 190 S
C.J. Fritz (McCallie) 5-11, 170 DB
Melvin Hill (Washington County) 5-8, 175 RB
Tavon Lawson (Munford, Ala.) 6-1, 190, S
Bailey Lenoir (East Hamilton) 6-4, 245 TE
Isaiah Mack (Northwest Whitfield) 6-2, 260 DL
Bingo Morton (Fairburn, Ga., Langston Hughes) 6-2, 195 WR
Montrell Pardue (Clarksville Northeast) 6-0, 185 LB/S
Branden Parker (Miller Grove, Ga.) 6-3, 250 OL
Cam Walker (McCallie) 6-4, 245 TE-OL
Dale Warren (Stephenson, Ga.) 6-0, 205 LB
Tim Whatley (Columbus Carver) 6-0, 210 LB
Trevor Wright (Greeneville) 6-1, 175 WR-DB
One of the biggest needs for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football staff to fill in this recruiting class is linebacker. Having graduated two starters at that position, the Mocs can offer recruits early playing time, and Thursday evening one of the state of Georgia's top outside linebackers bypassed scholarship offers from several FBS programs to commit to the Mocs while making an on-campus visit.
Dale Warren of Stone Mountain's Stephenson High School chose the Mocs over offers from Indiana, Middle Tennessee State, Troy, Georgia State, South Alabama and Georgia Southern as well as Eastern Kentucky. Penn State also recruited him before new coach James Franklin told Stephenson coach Corey Johnson that the Nittany Lions were full on linebacker commitments.
"That's a heck of a steal for Chattanooga," Johnson said. "It's a great pickup for that program, because I believe Dale is a guy who will come in and challenge for playing time right away.
"He's a real leader and the second fastest player on our whole team. He made plays all over the field for us and is the main reason we had the top-rated defense in all of Class 5A."
The 6-foot, 205-pound Warren, who Johnson said has been timed consistently at 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has a 39-inch vertical jump, was his region's defensive player of the year with 126 total tackles, 15 for loss, three sacks and three forced fumbles.
He's the second linebacker in the UTC recruiting class, joining fellow Peach State all-state performer Tim Whatley of Columbus Carver. The Mocs also have four defensive backs with good size who could grow into linebacker, but Whatley and Warren definitely can fill those roles.
"There were several reasons I felt like this was the place for me," Warren said. "It's a great school that's just a couple of hours away, so my mom can come watch us pretty easy. The football program is definitely on the rise, and I want to be a part of that because I believe I can work my way onto the field early.
"They won the conference last year and have a lot of good players coming back, plus a real good class coming in, so I think it's only going to get better."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...