Zach Rayl arrived at UTC after playing quarterback and linebacker at McMinn Central. Rayl didn't see himself as a college defensive end, but a psychic high school coach did. Said Rayl,"I had one coach that said before you leave college, your hand will be on the ground. So I actually owe him a steak dinner because I bet him that I wouldn't be." Said Mocs head coach Russ Huesman,"We knew he could be a big enough kid to do what we're doing as far as defensive end play."
Now Rayl tries to sack the quarterback. He has bulked up to about 240-pounds. This fall, he's expected to replace Josh Williams, UTC's all-time sacks leader. Said Rayl,"Replacing Josh Williams that's a hard thing to do. I'm looking forward to stepping up to that role myself." Added Huesman,"I think he has looked really good rushing the passer this spring so far. I have been pleased with his progress."
Last year, Rayl had two sacks and five tackles for a loss. The exact same numbers Williams produced. Said Huesman,"He had a very quiet, but good season last year. He got overshadowed by Josh Williams and Davis Tull. They're getting the numbers. But he had a really, really solid year for us."
And if the Mocs quarterbacks get hurt, don't look for Rayl to return under center. Chuckled Rayl,"There's zero chance of me playing quarterback here. I don't even know if I could throw a ball anymore. Those days are over." Said Huesman,"He didn't look like somebody that played quarterback when he played quarterback.(chuckles) If you saw him play. He's a football player, and you like those kind of players."