MOCS' WRESTLING SIGNEES
Wgt — Name — Hometown
125 — Zach Brisdon — Sandown, N.H.
285 — Caleb Denny — Cincinnati, Ohio
184 — Clay Dent — Piedmont, Ala.
197 — Jared Johnson — Jefferson City, Mo.
133 — Campbell Lewis — Soddy-Daisy
165 — Sean Mappes — Greenwood, Ind.
141 — Landon Reed — Ringgold (Heritage)
184 — John Shrader — Franklin, Tenn.
149 — Parker Smith — Franklin, Tenn. (Centennial)
133 — Alex Ward — McCallie
141 — Austin Woods — Franklin, Tenn.
Campbell Lewis, a four-time state champion from Soddy-Daisy, is among wrestlers who have signed national letters of intent with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
"I'm stoked about going. Everybody in this class is a really hard worker, which will be good for me, and they're great kids," he said. "Everybody has the same intent, a NCAA title, and they're willing to working for it. These are the type guys that are willing to put in the extra time. They're workhorses."
Lewis is one of three Chattanooga area wrestlers joining McCallie's Alex Ward and Heritage's Landon Reed. Tennessee wrestlers joining the Mocs along with Lewis and Ward are Franklin's John Shrader and Austin Woods and Centennial's Parker Smith.
"We kept some of the best talent in the state here, which is what we need to do each and every year," Mocs coach Heath Eslinger said.
He added that each will have a legitimate shot at making an immediate impact.
"We'll wrestle all of the guys right out of the chute. We have to have guys coming in here that are hungry to compete when they take that first step into the wrestling room."
The top name nationally might well be Jared Johnson from Jefferson City, Mo., who considered offers from Oklahoma, Missouri and Purdue before signing with the Mocs, but Eslinger and his staff continued with the premise of bringing in total package prospects.
"This class is strong because we are bringing in kids who fit who we are -- kids who fit the total student-athlete image athletically, academically and socially," he said.
The group, which had a combined record of 367-10 last season and boasts 14 state championships, has seven with academic honors and three with National Honor Society memberships.
This past season Lewis became one of just nine four-time Tennessee state champions and the first for Soddy-Daisy.
"Obviously he's in an elite group when it comes to Tennessee wrestlers," Eslinger said. "He has shown he can win on a big stage, but he has to be ready to take that to the next stage."
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...