published Monday, January 27th, 2014

UTC football lands two Memphis-area commitments

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 CB

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

Dejuan McQuarters (Mitchell) 5-10, 165, WR-Ath

Bingo Morton (Fairburn Langston Hughes) 6-2, 195 WR

Montrell Pardue (Clarksville Northeast) 6-0, 185 LB/S

Branden Parker (Miller Grove, Ga.) 6-3, 250 OL

Zach Rasmussen (St. Benedict) 6-3, 275 DL

Penny Smith (Fulton) 6-2, 180 QB

Cam Walker (McCallie) 6-4, 245 TE-OL

Dale Warren (Stephenson) 6-0, 205 LB

Tim Whatley (Columbus Carver) 6-0, 210 LB

Trevor Wright (Greeneville) 6-1, 175 WR-DB

Will Young (McGill-Toolen) 6-2, 196 WR

While Sunday was a day of rest for many, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football staff certainly wasn't taking time off. The recruiting momentum for the Mocs continued with a pair of Memphis-area players committing, giving the program 18 total with one week to go before national signing day.

The first commitment came Sunday morning when Mitchell's Dejuan McQuarters chose the Mocs over offers from Kentucky, Memphis, Northern Illinois, Middle Tennessee State University, Arkansas State and Alabama-Birmingham. He was also being recruited by Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, but instead became the Mocs' fourth receiver in this class.

Later in the afternoon, St. Benedict defensive lineman Zach Rasmussen, who had roomed with McQuarters on their official visit this weekend, committed before returning home.

"I just really liked how energetic and fired up the coaches are about where the program is headed," said Rasmussen, who also had offers from Murray State, Central Missouri, Tennessee-Martin, Southeastern Missouri and Southern Illinois. "I thought the distance from home would be a factor, but once I saw how beautiful Chattanooga was and connected with the coaches, I knew that's where I wanted to be."

Rasmussen's coach at St. Benedict, Mike David, said the 6-foot-3, 275-pounder, who projects as a defensive tackle, was dominant on both sides of the ball last season, adding, "I haven't seen a kid with his size move that well in a long, long time. They got an exceptional player."

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound McQuarters is rated the 39th best overall prospect in Tennessee by 247sports and has one of the most impressive list of offers of any current UTC commit.

"I already liked what I knew about the program but I really fell in love with everything on my visit," said McQuarters, whose father is a minister in Memphis. "It was the family feeling, the relationship with the coaches and other players and I really liked the atmosphere at the basketball game. They've got a great fanbase and I want to be a part of getting them excited about what we do in football."

McQuarters, who qualified for the state meet in both the 100 and 200 meters last spring, has been timed consistently at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has more than 2,500 all-purpose yards in his career. Last season he had 885 receiving yards, averaging 18.8 yards per catch, and 12 touchdowns. He also had 840 receiving yards as a junior.

"The offense should be a real good fit for me," said McQuarters, who projects as a slot receiver. "The coaches do a great job of recruiting and making sure you know everything about the school, the program and what my role will be.

"They just got a big-time player Saturday in Penny Smith, and I'm looking forward to playing with him."

The Mocs can sign as many as 20 players in this class and could win up with one more running back, and possibly another linebacker or defensive lineman in what was already ranked by 247sports as the nation's No. 2 FCS class going into the weekend.

"Anybody with the type speed and ability to catch the ball like Dejuan has is going to get on the field and help a team right away," Mitchell coach Nathan Cole said. "The biggest thing about Dejuan is he can play a lot of positions. He can be a kick or punt returner, a receiver or even play on the defensive side of the ball.

"Plus he's got a great attitude about everything and is a real good student, so they're not just getting a great player."

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293.

about Stephen Hargis...

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 ...

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