Chattanooga’s defensive line was dealt several serious blows throughout the course of 2013.
Redshirt freshman defensive end Vantrell McMillan suffered a serious knee injury on the final practice of the spring, forcing him to miss the entire season. A few months later, junior Zack Rayl endured the same fate in the Mocs’ second scrimmage of fall camp.
Perhaps the most critical—definitely the largest—loss came during Chattanooga’s Week 5 trip to Georgia Southern. That’s when massive defensive tackle Derrick Lott suffered what turned out to be a season-ending elbow injury, and it appeared the first-team All-Southern Conference selection’s UTC career was over.
This week, the Mocs learned that wasn’t the case. Lott, who recorded 17 tackles, 2 ½ TFLs in four games, has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, providing a huge boost for an already loaded UTC defensive front.
The Mocs’ D-line, stocked with plenty of talent and experience, will be leaned on heavily in 2014, as UTC will be dealing with the departures of several defensive mainstays in its linebacking corps and the secondary, such as Wes Dothard, Gunner Miller, D.J. Key, Kadeem Wise and Chaz Moore.
Lott, a 6-foot-4, 303-pound transfer from Georgia, will be joined up front by two-time SoCon Defensive Player of the Year Davis Tull, All-SoCon performer Josh Freeman and SoCon All-Freshman selection Keionta Davis, along with Toyvian Brand and Navy transfer Daniel Ring, both of whom were key contributors a season ago.
As a team, despite numerous injuries to not only the D-line but the entire unit, Chattanooga led the SoCon in scoring defense (20.4 ppg), total defense (328.9 ypg), and sacks (12.0) during the 2013 regular season.
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