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UTC tight end Jacob Webster locks in on a pass during a practice drill Wednesday at Finley Stadium. He impressed the Mocs coaches in the spring practices.
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UTC tight end Jacob Webster makes a catch during a practice drill Wednesday at Finley Stadium. He impressed the Mocs coaches in the spring practice sessions.

Tom Arth couldn't stop talking about Jacob Webster after Monday's practice.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga tight end has given plenty for Arth and his coaching staff to be pleased about.

And he's not even the starter.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Webster has been one of the surprises of the spring sessions, which concluded Wednesday afternoon with a two-hour practice. He has been one of the leading pass-catchers in the group after spending last season on the scout team and on special teams.

Webster was one of the beneficiaries of an offseason injury to All-Southern Conference tight end Bailey Lenoir, who did not practice throughout the spring workouts. The Christ Presbyterian Academy graduate, whose father Ruston was the general manager for the Tennessee Titans from 2012 to 2015, made some key catches during Saturday's Spring Showcase.

"Jacob has really stood out in the program as much as anybody has," Arth said. "It just goes back to him knowing where he's supposed to be, when he's supposed to be there. He does his job every single day; his production is really impressive. When you look at the number of times he's targeted, how many he's completed and how many have been for first down, it's a really high number and he's had as good a spring as anybody.

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"We're really excited about what he's done and know that he's a guy that we can count on."

Webster's emergence has been furthered by not only Lenoir's injury but setbacks to other players at the position. Former Boyd-Buchanan standout Jack Keebler and former Baylor standout Gage Upshaw have been working their way back from injuries suffered last fall and haven't been at full strength yet, which has given Webster and Tennessee Tech transfer Jordan Giberti — who also had a good spring — even more opportunities, as well as redshirt freshman Juwan Tyus.

"These guys have been playing well," tight ends coach Chris Cook said. "When Bailey went down early, we knew we were going to have to have some guys step up. We have several guys in the room and we've been able to actually get some depth. It's given a chance to get guys who may not have seen as many reps a chance to move up that food chain."

Cook said he has realized the Mocs will be blessed with a lot of depth and options at the position going into the season — even more with the addition of incoming freshman Logan Pitts for preseason camp.

"Some of those reps may have gone away with Bailey being here, but what it did was give another guy the opportunity to show, 'Hey, I can also play,'" Cook said. "Jack and Gage are just now getting back, but it's given Webster a chance to show, 'I can play as well,' which has worked out for everybody. Now I've got another tight end I know I can put in the game and trust, which we already knew, but Jacob's got more reps and he got better and better and better, and now it helps everybody out depth wise."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.

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