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Staff photo / UTC tight end Chris James scores during a home game against James Madison University on Sept. 21, 2019. HeroSports.com selected him as a preseason third-team All-American on Thursday.

Chris James appears to have found a nice landing spot at his new position on the football field.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga tight end, who moved there after playing quarterback in high school and in college, was named a preseason third-team All-American by HeroSports.com on Thursday.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder was an All-Southern Conference first team selection in 2019 after scoring seven touchdowns on 23 receptions in his first season at the position. He also threw a 28-yard touchdown pass in his only attempt of the year for the Mocs, who finished 6-6 overall and were a win away from earning a share of the Southern Conference championship.

"Chris worked very hard to adjust quickly to the tight end position and got better each week," Mocs coach Rusty Wright said in a UTC release. "He really came on strong at the end of the season and was a key weapon for us on offense.

"We are excited to see what he can do this season and are happy to see him get some recognition heading into the year."

James, who prepped at Georgia's Gilmer, started his college career in the Peach State as well at NCAA Division II program Valdosta State before moving to Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College. He was part of UTC's 2018 signing class, which was rated eighth in the country, but spent his first season behind Nick Tiano, who threw for 5,825 yards and 35 touchdowns in his UTC career and recently signed with the NFL's Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent.

James made the move to tight end during the 2019 preseason, and in his final five games last season he totaled 16 catches and five touchdowns. The NCAA has granted James, who dealt with injuries earlier in his collegiate career, a sixth year of eligibility for the 2020 season.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.

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