CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- C.J. Fritz celebrated his college decision with a post on his Twitter page Sunday afternoon.
From that point on, it was only a matter of time until teammate Cam Walker made his pick public.
"We've been best friends since the eighth grade and like family," Walker said. "Once we each got our first offer together from UAB, we decided that wherever we're going to go, we're going to go together."
Turns out the McCallie package deal won't be going very far next year.
The local duo verbally committed to Chattanooga after making officials visits over the weekend. Both passed up Football Bowl Subdivision offers after being sold by the Mocs' recent surge.
"Looking at their history, they have gotten so much better in the last few years," said Fritz, a defensive back/wide receiver who chose the Mocs over offers from UAB, Kennesaw State and several other FCS schools. "Coach (Russ) Huesman is doing a great job over there, and it just felt like a great fit for me."
Walker, who played on both lines for McCallie, had offers from UAB, MTSU, Furman and Western Carolina, among others. However, few teams showed him as much interest as the Mocs.
"Every time I was with the team and with the coaches it just felt like family," he said. "It helps that I also have plenty of family here in town and my older brother works there. But the were also Southern Conference co-champs and I felt like C.J. and I could bring something special to help them compete for a national championship."
The most important attribute both Fritz and Walker bring UTC is versatility.
At 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, Walker could line up at defensive end or add weight to become an offensive tackle. Coaches have also discussed the possibility of making him a tight end because of his overall athleticism.
Fritz, meanwhile, is just starting to tap his football potential. The reigning Division II-AA 100-meter state champ can absolutely fly, and was recently clocked at 4.36 in the 40-yard dash.
"I liked the opportunity to come in and play right away, whether it's playing defense or offense or kick return and punt return," he said. "I'm pretty versatile and they told me I could play any position I want to play."
Staying close to home was a factor in the decision for both players, but it wasn't the only one. While they may not be going a long way, they see their choice as a huge step forward. They also see it as a chance to help the Mocs take the next step, as well.
"It felt like I was not in Chattanooga and not on top of my family, but at the same time, I was at home as well," Walker said. "But C.J. and I talked a lot and we know what we want from college and want we want for our futures. This was just the best fit."
Added Fritz: "This is a dream come true. I've always worked hard and tried to do the best I could. Now to get this opportunity, it's a blessing."
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