published Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Injury could end Nick Craig’s UTC career

  • photo
    In this file photo, UTC defensive lineman Nick Craig calls on the fans' support late in the first half against Georgia Southern. Craig could miss his senior season with a knee injury.
    Photo by Robin Rudd /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The bad news continues for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team.

Coach Russ Huesman said Wednesday that backup offensive lineman Dustin Tate is ineligible for the 2011 season and defensive tackle Nick Craig, a two-year starter, could miss his senior season with a knee injury.

Craig, a 6-foot-2, 295-pound force in the middle of the defensive line, has started 20 of 29 games in his career. He had 38 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, last season.

Knee surgery in February kept Craig out of spring practice and Huesman said it doesn’t look like Craig will be able to play this fall.

“That’s probably something we’ll know in the next few weeks,” Huesman said, “but right now we’re not sure. ... It’s touch and go whether his knee is going to allow him to play or not.”

Tate, a former Northwest Whitfield High School standout, has played in 10 games each of the past two seasons, starting two as a redshirt freshman in 2009. He’s listed as the third-string right tackle on the Mocs’ summer depth chart.

Huesman said Tate may be able to rejoin the team after the fall semester.

On Monday, Huesman announced that two players, wideout Brian Sutherland and defensive end Chris Donald, had left team, and running back Keon Williams was suspended for the 2011 season.

South Florida in 2012?

The Mocs could be headed south for their 2012 season opener. The St. Petersburg Times reported Wednesday that University of South Florida had sent a contract to UTC, but it hadn’t been signed.

Athletic director Rick Hart wrote in a text message that UTC was “close to finalizing our next three FBS opponents, but nothing [is] official yet.”

Four members of the Mocs’ incoming freshman class are from Florida, and UTC signed two from the recruit-rich state in 2010.

UTC has had for many months at least a verbal agreement with the University of Tennessee to play in 2014. The Mocs open the upcoming season at Nebraska, which is paying UTC $475,000 for the game.

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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