Derrick Lott might not have played his final snap for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The redshirt senior defensive tackle suffered a season-ending elbow injury against Georgia Southern on Sept. 28, and had surgery soon after. UTC has petitioned the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility and Mocs coach Russ Huesman is confident that one will be granted.
"We had to wait until the season was over to file the waiver, but of our understanding of it, it's 100 percent certain, based on the information we have, that it will happen," Huesman said.
Lott began his collegiate career at Georgia, where he sat out as a true freshman with a medical redshirt due to ankle surgery. After seeing little playing time with the Bulldogs, the 6-foot-4, 303-pound Lott transferred to UTC in May 2012.
In his first season with the Mocs, and his first season seeing regular playing time, Lott started every game in 2012. He finished with 57 tackles and four tackles for loss. His season was highlighted by a 15-tackle performance against Georgia Southern.
Lott played well enough to earn second-team All-Southern Conference honors and to be ranked the No. 6 defensive tackle in the Football Championship Subdivision heading into the 2013 season. He was also preseason first-team All-SoCon.
Returning for a sixth season, which Lott may be able to do because his previous redshirt season was for medical reasons, will likely help his NFL prospects. He'll gain more experience and he'll have a larger body of work for teams to evaluate.
Lott's return would also be a boon for an already-stacked UTC defensive line. UTC doesn't lose any key players from the line that finished the season, including two-time SoCon defensive player of the year Davis Tull and second-team All-SoCon pick Josh Freeman.
No surgery for Jacob
Mocs quarterback Jacob Huesman, voted the SoCon offensive player of the year by the league's coaches, will not need surgery to repair the damaged posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his left knee, he said.
Jacob suffered the injury late in the Mocs' win over Wofford on Nov. 9, played with it in the 17-14 overtime loss to Samford and sat out the finale at Alabama.
"I don't think the PCL completely torn, so I think I can just keep rehabbing it and give it a little bit of time," he said.
Jacob led UTC with 894 rushing yards and was 164-for-240 passing for 1,637 yards, with 16 touchdowns throws and five interceptions. He said a big goal for him this offseason is to get more accurate with his deep throws.
"You probably noticed this year I missed on a bunch of long balls, which was mostly my fault," he said. "I'm going to work on that, putting some touch on the ball and improving my accuracy. I want to get better in the pass game so that we can become a more balanced offense next year."
Mayes moving to OL
Because of UTC's depth at defensive tackle, Chris Mayes hasn't seen the field as much as he'd like. In two seasons at UTC, after transferring from Navy and redshirting in 2011, Mayes has a total of 20 tackles, including two for loss.
The Mocs need depth on the offensive line and Mayes wants a shot at playing more, so he will move across the line to guard for his senior season.
"We're going to give him a shot there, he wants to do that, and we'll see how that looks," Huesman said.
Reward for scouts
Being on the scout team is seldom anyone's idea of a great time, but it's something many college football players have to experience before they get to see the field. At UTC, some members of the scout team are walk-ons that may never play.
As a reward for their work this season, Huesman brought every scout team player that wasn't redshirting and dressed them out for the season finale at Alabama.
"It was guys that hadn't been on trips and guys that are just down there fighting every day, trying to do their best to help us win games," Huesman said. "I just said, let's take these guys and reward them for all the hard work they've put in for us."
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.