August 24, 2014

Chattanooga brings strong defensive line into Kelly/Shorts Stadium

Much has been said about Central Michigan's experience coming into 2014, especially on the offensive line.

But the offensive line will be tested in week one when No. 16 University of Tennessee-Chattanooga brings a decorated defensive line into Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

The Mocs star-studded line is led by 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior defensive end Davis Tull. Tull won the Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year the last two seasons as he lead the conference in sacks (nine in 2013).

Coming into 2014, Tull was named a FCS Preseason All-American by Sporting News, SoCon Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and he was named to the First-Team All-SoCon Preseason team.

UTC returns five starters to the defense and alongside Tull on the line will be SoCon Preseason Second-Team honorees, senior Derrick Lott and junior Josh Freeman.

Lott appeared in four games and started three last season where he made 17 tackles and 2 1/2 for loss before an injury sidelined the 6-4, 303-pounder. In 2012 he made 57 tackles with four for a loss including two sacks.

Before playing for the Mocs, Lott was at Georgia where he made five appearances and made a career-high four tackles against Vanderbilt in 2010.

Freeman started all 12 games last season for UTC and he recorded 41 tackles with 7 1/2 of them coming behind the line scrimmage including four sacks.

Before the 6-0 285-pound lineman sat out in 2012, he played in 11 games and started 10 as a true freshman. He record 23 tackles and one for a loss as he was named to the SoCon All-Freshmen team.

Not only do the Mocs have the two-time defending SoCon Defensive Player of the Year in Tull, their junior quarterback Jacob Huesman is the defending SoCon Offensive Player of the Year.

Huesman, like Tull, is picked to repeat as Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and he is also on the SoCon Preseason First-Team.

In two seasons as the starting quarterback, Huesman, who is head coach Russ Huesman's son, has thrown for 3,349 yards and 29 touchdowns while throwing 10 interceptions. He has also ran for 1,798 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Huesman will be turning to senior running back Keon Williams who led the SoCon in rushing yards until his season was shortened with an injury.

The 6-1 225-pound back has rushed for 1,342 yards in three seasons with 15 touchdowns. Before his injury last year he rushed for 687 yards and nine touchdowns (85.88 yards per game).

Blocking for Huesman and Williams will be SoCon Preseason First-Team selections, junior lineman Synjen Herren and senior tight end Faysal Shafaat. Sophomore lineman Corey Levin was named to the Second-Team.

Shafaat caught 35 passes last season for 322 yards and six touchdowns, all of which led the team.

When the Mocs don't score they look to senior punter Nick Pollard to pin the opponents deep in their own territory.

The SoCon Preseason Second-Team honoree averaged 40.7 yards per punt including a season-high 78 yard punt in 2013.

UTC won a share of its first SoCon championship since 1984 last season and both the coaches and the media have selected the Mocs to repeat as champions.

Sporting News also picked UTC to win the SoCon title and ranked the program No. 14 in the FCS, while the coaches ranked the Mocs No. 16 to start the season.

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