The Chattanooga Mocs are expected to have one of the top defenses in the nation going into the 2013 college football season. UTC returns 10 starters to a side that ranked No. 10 in the country, allowing just 307.9 yards per game in 2012.
UTC’s defense got even more preseason recognition today when two members were named to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List. Senior linebacker Wes Dothard (Carrollton, Ga.) and junior defensive end Davis Tull (Knoxville, Tenn.) are among the 20 student-athletes across the nation tabbed as candidates for the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Defensive Player of the Year Award.
This is the second straight year Dothard has been on the Buchanan Watch List and the first time two Mocs have been candidates in the same season. Dothard and Tull were both named preseason All-Americans last week by The Sports Network, the same group that administers the FCS national awards.
Dothard is a two-time All-American linebacker and finished 19th in the voting for last year’s Buchanan Award. He led the Mocs with 94 tackles in 2012, repeating as a first team All-Southern Conference selection. He was also a Buchanan Award finalist as a sophomore in 2011, finishing 25th in the national voting.
Tull was the SoCon Defensive Players of the Year in 2012, leading the league with a school-record 12.5 sacks. He also led the SoCon and was No. 5 in the nation with a UTC-record 19.0 tackles-for-loss.
“This is a well-deserved honor for both Wes and Davis,” stated UTC head coach Russ Huesman. “They are the leaders of our defense and we are expecting big things from them this year.”
The Buchanan Award Watch List can undergo revision during the 2013 season. Ballots will be sent to a panel of about 175 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season. The winner will be invited to The Sports Network FCS Awards Presentation on Dec. 16.
The Mocs open the 2013 campaign on Thursday, Aug. 29, against UT-Martin. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) at Finley Stadium.