published Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Chris Mayes transfers from Navy to play football for UTC

The 6-3, 290-pound defensive tackle wanted to get back closer to his Murfreesboro home.

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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football program has added a transfer at a critical position, defensive tackle.

After a year at the Naval Academy, Chris Mayes decided that being a Midshipman wasn’t for him. The Murfreesboro native visited UTC and committed in June, but he didn’t sign any paperwork until last week.

“UTC just felt like the right fit for me,” Mayes said after he committed. “[Navy] just wasn’t right for me, and I really wanted to get closer to home.”

The 6-foot-3, 290-pound Mayes had limited action for the Midshipmen last season as a true freshman and will have three years of eligibility remaining. When he will suit up for the Mocs remains a question, however — one that the NCAA will decide.

Mayes’ mother, Gilda, has been seriously ill for a long time, which is part of the reason he decided to transfer closer to home. His mom’s situation has at times affected his classroom performance, and he might not be eligible to play right away.

Mayes, who is taking online classes this summer, said UTC has appealed to the NCAA regarding his status for the 2011 season.

“We’re still waiting on some NCAA stuff,” he said.

The Mocs need his big body in the trenches because they are thinner at defensive tackle than any other position. Mayes’ arrival could certainly make up for the loss of senior Nick Craig, who isn’t expected to play his final season because of a degenerative knee condition.

As a senior at Riverdale High School, Mayes earned all-state honors and was a runner-up for the Class 6A Lineman of the Year award. After the season he played in an all-star game with Mocs linebacker Keith Mayes (no relation) and suspended running back Keon Williams.

“Keith and I looked into it, but we figured out we weren’t related,” Mayes said.

Mayes said he expected to arrive in Chattanooga a few days before the Mocs report for preseason practice on Aug. 3.

Coleman rated No. 7

UTC’s B.J. Coleman is rated the No. 7 senior quarterback in the country by NFLDraftScout.com, whose rankings are listed on CBSSports.com. Coleman, who threw for 2,996 yards and 26 touchdowns last season, is rated one spot ahead of Boise State’s Kellen Moore.

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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