The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team has added another transfer to its defense. Former Northwest Whitfield High School all-state player Dean Haynes left North Carolina State and signed with the Mocs on Friday.
"I was looking to transfer somewhere closer to home," the Tunnell Hill, Ga., resident said, "and I wanted the chance to play. UTC was a great fit. I kind of had my mind set on UTC the whole time."
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Haynes will play safety at UTC after moving positions several times during his two seasons with the Wolfpack. After redshirting in 2009 -- he often served as the scout team quarterback that season -- Haynes was set to play in the secondary in 2010. Instead, he wound up starting eight games at running back.
In 2011, the former Times Free Press Dynamite Dozen selection, returned to safety and played in nine games, finishing with 10 tackles.
"I thought about transferring at the end of this past season, and after spring practice I decided that it would be best if I went ahead and transferred," he said.
The Mocs needed to add depth at safety after the graduation of veterans Jordan Tippit and Chris Lewis-Harris. UTC does return D.J. Key, who was second-team All-Southern Conference in 2011.
"We think he can play. He's a good kid, a good student and it all starts there," UTC coach Russ Huesman said of Haynes. "He'll compete, compete for playing time and that's what he expects, to get a chance to compete and play."
Haynes will be reunited with former Northwest teammates Adam Miller and Dustin Tate, linemen who blocked for him when he played quarterback and running back for the Bruins.
"I talked to Adam a little bit just to see what the area was like and what the coaches were like," Haynes said. "He was real helpful in my decision."
Haynes is the second transfer from a Bowl Championship Series program the Mocs have landed this month. They also signed former Georgia defensive tackle Derrick Lott. Both players have two years of eligibility remaining.