With the Chattanooga defense returning eight starters from last year’s nationally ranked unit, adding Derrick Lott and Chris Mayes to its defensive front would be like winning the Powerball one day, then discovering oil in your back yard the next.
You might not really need that black gold, but you’ll certainly take it.
“I’ve seen their talent,” Chattanooga defensive line coach Marcus West said. “They’re big, strong, powerful players, and they look like what a defensive tackle is supposed to look like.
Mayes, a 6 4, 304 pound transfer from the University of Georgia, looks like he could challenge Lookout Mountain to a fist fight and come out on top. Mayes, 6 3, 295 pounds, isn’t far behind.
“With us two in the middle, that’s 600 pounds,” Lott said. “That’s a big advantage in this conference.”
“Both of them have a lot of ability,” head coach Russ Huesman said. “You bring the size with it, that’s something that’s pretty special.”
But while both Lott and Mayes will both be suiting up for Chattanooga for the first time this season, the two aren’t exactly in the same situation.
Mayes, who was forced to redshirt last season after transferring from Navy, is eager to play while Lott, who is immediately eligible after playing for the Bulldogs in 2011, could use all the preparation time he can get.
While difficult at first, Mayes spent last year settling in on campus and learning the Mocs’ system, an experience that made him hungrier
“I felt like a caged animal having to look at a piece of steak that’s right out of my reach,” he said. “I’m very excited for this season. We want to see some different colored jerseys.”
Lott, on the other hand, has had to learn things on the go.
“The transition has been a little difficult, transferring from a big school down,” Lott said. “There’s a lot of things I have to work on like moving from a 3 4 to a 4 3, but overall I think it’s been coming along good.”
“He’s been here for all of maybe three or four weeks,” said West, in his third season with the Mocs. “I ask him to do so much, and it’s hard on him. Cheap Jerseys from china I don’t tell him enough how much I understand. But the reality of the situation right now, who cares? I guarantee you (UTC’s first two opponents) South Florida doesn’t care and Jacksonville State doesn’t care.”
Lott and Mayes will almost certainly bolster an already strong defensive front for UTC, featuring defensive ends Josh Williams, the Mocs’ all time sack leader (21.5), and sophomore Davis Tull, who ranked second on the team in sacks last season (five) and was chosen to the Southern Conference All Freshman Team.
A number of players looks to see the field at the tackle position, including redshirt freshmen Toyvian Brand, Devin Scates, Keionta Davis and sophomore Josh Freeman, ensuring the pair of imposing tackles are definitely seeing competition.
“It starts here with (Lott and Mayes), but I’ve got a two or three more that are just as talented,” West said. “We’re moving in the right direction up front all the way around.”