As one University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offensive lineman's career is ending, two others are just getting started.
The Mocs welcomed a pair of January enrollees to the squad last week in Ider (Ala.) High School's Hunter Townson and Marshall transfer Channing Smith. Townson was UTC's first commitment for next season's freshman class and the third early enrollee in as many years.
For former Boyd-Buchanan all-state lineman Devin Caldwell, a Mocs career that never really got going is over. Coach Russ Huesman said the oft-injured redshirt sophomore has quit football to focus on school. Caldwell is an art major and the classes he needed this semester conflicted with football practice, forcing him to choose between the two, Huesman said.
"This was his decision," Huesman said.
At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, Caldwell very much looked the part of a productive lineman. However, injuries limited him to two career games for the Mocs, both coming in 2011. He missed all of 2012 following knee surgery.
The 6-4, 276-pound Townson said he's adapted well to college life after graduating from Ider early. He's living with fellow UTC linemen Kevin Revis and Patrick Sutton, as well as wideout Bryant Belew, which has helped make things easier, he said.
"Workouts are a little harder than I expected, but everything else has been great," he said.
Now that Townson and Smith are in school, Huesman is able to talk about them. Townson, he said, played all over the field for Ider. He was an all-state defensive end in 2011.
"He's athletic, he's a big-body guy -- and when I saw him once, he never left the field," Huesman said. "He played defense, offense and special teams. He's got a football mentality about him, and he's a tremendous addition for us."
When describing the 6-4, 280-pound Smith, who walked on at Marshall in 2011 and did not play last season, Huesman used the word "tough" again and again.
"He's a little bigger than I thought he was and he can play tackle, he can play guard and he can play center," Huesman said. "I like that versatility and he's a tough, tough kid. We had some opportunities with some other [transfer] linemen that we didn't take. We took Channing because of his toughness."
The Mocs return four starters from last season and get back left tackle Brandon Morgan from a shoulder injury. UTC also redshirted Robert Hill and Corey Levin last season.
Huesman said he interviewed a fifth candidate for the Mocs' offensive coordinator position Thursday. He said the interviews are done and he hoped to have a decision made by Monday. ... Official recruiting visits resumed this weekend and the Mocs brought in 11 prospects, including South Pittsburg running back Demetric Johnson.