CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach Russ Huesman announced the signing of 17 players in the Mocs' 2013 signing class Wednesday afternoon, including two players who previously enrolled at the start of the spring semester.
Ider lineman Hunter Townson and Marshall offensive lineman transfer Channing Smith were joined by 15 signees on National Signing Day, including three from the Chattanooga area.
Like all coaches across the country, Huesman is happy with his haul, but he was most excited about how UTC held its own in several big-time recruiting battles and avoided any signing day surprises.
"You have to build relationships, and as it got to be a week before signing day, we could tell the relationships we'd built with some of these guys helped them to hang with us."
Rhea County lineman Jacob Revis, Gordon Central defensive end D.J. Prather and Cleveland linebacker David Morgan were the three locals who chose to sign with the hometown Mocs.
Morgan wavered back and forth between a partial scholarship with UTC and a full ride to Tusculum.
Prather was one of the guys that could have been a late flip in the recruiting process after increased interest from FBS schools Middle Tennessee State and Georgia State the past month. However, the two-star standout stayed firm on his decision to play for the Mocs.
"We're pretty excited about him," Huesman said. "We've done a good job here identifying big, physical players, and he's one of them. We offered him immediately after seeing him at a camp here.
"I didn't even watch any senior year film on him, but I went and watched him play a basketball game a couple weeks ago, and he's just an amazing athlete."
Revis, whose older brother Kevin will be a UTC senior next year, is a long-time UTC commitment who never wavered despite interest from Jacksonville State and Navy. His family connection to the Blue and Gold definitely played a factor, but so did a little early recruiting from Huesman a few years ago.
"Back at the time we were recruiting Kevin, another team had offered Jacob during his sophomore year," Huesman recalled. "(Ex-offensive coordinator Marcus) Satterfield and (ex-offensive line coach Geep Wade) came running in and told me to watch his film and offer him, but I refused to offer a sophomore.
"But I sat down and watched his film... then I offered him. That was a first."
Huesman said Chattanooga addressed several areas of need on offense by signing eleven players on that side of the ball. Two quarterbacks and three receivers highlight that group, including all-time high school career receptions leader Davis Howell from Christian Academy of Knoxville.
"You're getting a guy in Davis Howell that's caught so many balls, he's going to catch a lot of balls here unless his hands fall off," Huesman joked, noting Howell broke the national record as a senior while playing the last five games with a cast on his broken hand. "He sat in my office during his official visit and we talked about him having a chip on his shoulder because he didn't get heavily recruited.
"So he's going to come here with a chip on his shoulder, and he's a good, tough wideout."
Chattanooga's 2013 Signing Class
Alejandro Bennifield QB 6-2 215 Fr.-HS Lovejoy, Ga. (Lovejoy HS)
Xavier Borishade WR 5-10 170 Fr.-HS Kennesaw, Ga. (North Cobb HS)
Malcolm Colvin TE 6-2 215 Fr.-HS Fort Valley, Ga. (Peach County HS)
Derrick Craine RB 5-10 205 Fr.-HS McDonough, Ga. (Union Grove HS)
Davis Howell WR 6-2 190 Fr.-HS Knoxville, Tenn. (Christian Academy)
T.J. Jenkins LB 6-2 210 Fr.-HS Tampa, Fla. (Plant HS)
David Morgan LB 6-2 210 Fr.-HS Cleveland, Tenn. (Cleveland HS)
D.J. Prather DE 6-4 235 Fr.-HS Calhoun, Ga. (Gordon Central HS)
Jacob Revis OL 6-2 295 Fr.-HS Dayton, Tenn. (Rhea County HS)
Taylor Reynolds DT 6-3 270 Fr.-HS McCalla, Ala. (McAdory HS)
Tyler Roberson QB 6-4 210 Fr.-HS Martinez, Ga. (Augusta Christian)
Jerkerious Scott DB 6-0 195 Fr.-HS Dawson, Ga. (Terrell County HS)
Channing Smith* OL 6-4 280 So.-TR Kermit, W.Va. (Marshall)
Alphonso Stewart WR 6-3 190 Fr.-HS Robertsdale, Ala. (Robertsdale HS)
Logan Teichmann OL 6-4 270 Fr.-HS Brentwood, Tenn. (Brentwood HS)
Hunter Townson* OL 6-4 280 Fr.-HS Ider, Ala. (Ider HS)
Lucas Webb DB 6-1 190 Fr.-HS Northport, Ala. (Tuscaloosa County HS)