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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd/ UTC's Nick Tiano (7) celebrates in the final second of UTC's 34-33 win over the Citadel. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs hosted The Citadel Bulldogs in Southern Conference football at Finley Stadium on November 16, 2019.

This story was updated Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, at 8:22 p.m. with more information.

Nick Tiano is not about to rest on his laurels.

One day after the former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Baylor School quarterback earned MVP honors at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Pasadena, California, he was back to work preparing for the next stage in what is an extended postgraduate job interview.

Tiano's work Saturday — 6-of-8 passing for 135 yards and a touchdown — brought national attention his way. It didn't hurt his chances of hearing his name during April's NFL draft, either.

"It definitely helped," Tiano said. "I talked to well over 20 (NFL teams) throughout the week. It was a great experience and a great opportunity. A few of them talked to me after the game as well.

"The whole week was an incredible experience. To play in the Rose Bowl, which is one of the coolest places to play football, was like a dream come true. It was a group of extremely talented players. We're all kind of in the same boat, trying to show what we can do to play at the next level. For a guy coming from a small school, it was a huge opportunity to get to show what I could do."

Tiano threw for more than 5,000 yards and rushed for more than 1,000 for UTC after transferring from Mississippi State and played some of his best football over the final month of this past season. He then began training for the most critical offseason of his career, spending a week and a half at the Landow Performance Group in Denver working with quarterback coach Steve Fairchild.

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National Team quarterback Nick Tiano, of UT-Chattanooga, passes during the first half of the Collegiate Bowl college football game against the American Team Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

He was back in Denver on Sunday to prepare for the next step, his pro day at UTC in March.

"The training has been great," Tiano said. "Steve Fairchild has trained a lot of guys, and I know it's helped me. I'll get ready to come home for our pro day and hopefully go from there."

 

Spearman picks UTC

Coach Rusty Wright and his staff added an athletic linebacker to the 2020 recruiting class this week with the commitment of Shades Valley (Birmingham) High School's Bo Spearman.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Spearman was injured midway through his senior season after totaling 100 tackles as a junior. He played on the line at Shades Valley but will put his athletic ability to good use as an outside linebacker with the Mocs.

"I'm a fast player, physical and smart, and I'm a team player," said Spearman, who has recovered from his injury and is playing basketball. "They were telling me I could play pretty fast, definitely by my sophomore year, but I might get in there this year."

The Mocs have been recruiting Spearman since last summer, when he attended UTC's junior camp. He was impressed the staff didn't back off when he was injured.

"It felt like home and they showed me a lot of love throughout the season," said Spearman, who also had offers from Florida Atlantic, Navy, Austin Peay and Samford. among others. "I really like the coaches and the fact they have a growing program with a lot of good young players coming up."

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6296; follow on Twitter @youngsports22.

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