2013 College Blitz - UTC between the lines - Defense

2013 College Blitz - UTC between the lines - Defense

August 25th, 2013 by John Frierson in Sports - College

Mocs safety D.J. Key has three more weeks with the broken ankle.

Mocs safety D.J. Key has three more weeks...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.


*Signifies a returning starter


Starter: *DAVIS TULL, R-Jr., 6-3, 240

Backup: KEIONTA DAVIS, R-Fr., 6-4, 240


Starter: JOSH FREEMAN, R-So., 6-0, 285

Backup: CHRIS MAYES, R-Jr., 6-3, 295


Starter: *DERRICK LOTT, R-Sr., 6-4, 303

Backup: DANIEL RING, R-So., 6-2, 275


Starter: *TOYVIAN BRAND, Jr., 6-2, 260

Backup: DEVIN SCATES, R-Jr., 6-2, 260


Starter: *GUNNER MILLER, R-Sr., 6-1, 230

Backup: A.J. HAMPTON, R-So., 6-1, 240


Starter: *WES DOTHARD, R-Sr., 6-1, 235

Backup: MUHASIBI WAKEEL, R-Jr., 5-11, 220


Starter: NAKEVION LESLIE, R-Fr., 5-11, 21

Backup: T.J. JENKINS, Fr., 6-2, 210


Starter: *NICK POLLARD, R-Jr., 6-0, 180

Backup: HENRIQUE RIBEIRO, So., 6-0, 220


Starter: *NICK POLLARD, R-Jr., 6-0, 180

Backup: HENRIQUE RIBEIRO, So., 6-0, 220


Starter: *CHAZ MOORE, Sr., 5-10, 175

Backup: MARQUIS GREEN, Jr., 5-7, 175


Starter: *TOMMY HUDSON, Jr., 5-11, 175

Backup: KADEEM WISE, R-Sr., 5-10, 180


The Mocs' starting line may be the best in the FCS. The second unit could probably start at numerous SoCon schools. All-America end Davis Tull and tackle Derrick Lott, who may be an All-American by the end of the season, are the foundation. Josh Freeman is back after starting 10 games as a true freshman in 2011 and redshirting last season. At the other, Zach Rayl had moved to the first team before inuring himself in preseason practice. Also in the end mix is Toyvian Brand, a starter at defensive tackle the past two seasons. The second unit features Brand, redshirt freshman end Keionta Davis and a pair of former Midshipmen at tackle in Chris Mayes and Danny Ring, who started three games for Navy last season.


The linebackers are led by a pair of accomplished seniors. Wes Dothard is trying to become a three-time All-American, and Gunner Miller, a four-year starter, is trying to finish strong. The Mocs have played more and more nickel and dime defense the past few seasons, so they don't always have three linebackers on the field. UTC has one experienced backup in Muhasibi Wakeel.


Redshirt junior Nick Pollard likely again will handle the double duties of being the Mocs' punter and kicker, though sophomore Henrique Ribeiro will likely do some kicking as well. They both had their ups and downs on field-goal tries during the preseason. In his first season as a punter in 2012, using the rugby style favored by Mocs coach Russ Huesman, Pollard was among the best in the SoCon. In 55 attempts, he averaged 41.5 yards a punt and had 23 downed inside the 20-yard line.


*KADEEM WISE, R-Sr., 5-10, 180

WILL JOHNSON, R-Fr., 5-11, 185


*D.J. KEY, R-Sr., 6-0, 200

C.J. MURRELL, R-Sr., 6-0, 210


*ZACH MCCARTER, R-Jr., 6-3, 205

DEAN HAYNES, R-Sr., 5-11, 200


*CHAZ MOORE, Sr., 5-10, 175

*SEMA'JE KENDALL, R-So., 6-0, 175

If healthy, the secondary should be among the best in the SoCon. Redshirt senior safety D.J. Key and cornerback Kadeem Wise have been All-SoCon regulars for a reason - they're consistently effective. However, a foot injury kept Key out of most of preseason practice, and his status for the season opener is questionable. Senior Chaz Moore is typically solid at cornerback, and redshirt freshman Will Johnson has shown signs of a very bright career. Redshirt junior Zach McCarter started six games at free safety last season and has been the first-team guy throughout camp, when he hasn't been sidelined by a knee issue. Backup free safety Dean Haynes suffered an ankle injury on the first day of practice and could miss the first two weeks of the season.

UTC's defensive averages in 2012: 20.4 points per game - 308.4 yards per game