Chattanooga’s Muhasibi Wakeel wasn’t officially credited with the start on Saturday, despite playing nearly the entire game at Sam linebacker. He did, however, notch his first ever Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Week award, though.
Wakeel, a redshirt junior, racked up a career-high 17 tackles in the Mocs’ 28-24 win over The Citadel on Saturday, and the 5-foot-11, 220-pounder also recovered a fumble in the hard-fought, come-from-behind victory for UTC.
“I was just trying to give it all for the team to be honest with you,” Wakeel said. “We’ve been through so much as a unit, so many guys going down, and we just came together at the right moment and got the W.”
Wakeel’s 17-tackle performance was the most by a Moc since Ryan Consligio recorded 19 against Wofford in 2011.
This marks the first SoCon weekly award of Wakeel’s three-year career, but it’s the third week in a row a Moc has earned the league’s defensive honor. Junior defensive end Davis Tull garnered recognition for his 3.5-sack performance three weeks ago against Furman, and senior linebacker Wes Dothard received the honor the following week at Elon after recording a season-high 13 tackles.
Chattanooga’s defense currently leads the SoCon in four defensive categories — total defense (313.2 ypg), scoring defense (17.6 ppg), pass defense (135.0 ypg) and pass defense efficiency (111.6) — while ranking second in the league in interceptions (7) and sacks (13).
Wakeel is fifth on the team with 40 tackles on the year.
The Mocs (6-2, 4-1 SoCon) return to action Saturday afternoon in Boone, N.C., when they take on the Appalachian State Moutnaineers (2-3, 2-6). Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.
Sign up for our email list to get your morning news delivered directly to your inbox. All we need is your email address.