published Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Isaiah Mack chooses Chattanooga Mocs: Northwest Whitfield lineman a big recruit for UTC

Ridgeland's Darrell Bridges (10) is dragged down by Northwest Whitfield's Isaiah Mack (90).
Ridgeland's Darrell Bridges (10) is dragged down by Northwest Whitfield's Isaiah Mack (90).
Photo by Robin Rudd.

UTC football commitments

C.J. Fritz (McCallie) DB

Bailey Lenoir (East Hamilton) TE

Isaiah Mack (Northwest Whitfield) DL

Montrell Pardue (Northeast) LB/S

Cam Walker (McCallie) OL

Tim Whatley (Columbus Carver) LB

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football program has added another big component to its recruiting class. And the latest addition is literally a big one as Northwest Whitfield defensive tackle Isaiah Mack verbally committed to Mocs coaches early Wednesday afternoon.

The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Mack became the second Peach State commitment in as many days for the Mocs, following Columbus Carver linebacker Tim Whatley's pledge on Tuesday.

"I just felt like it was time to go ahead and commit because I knew that's where I wanted to be," Mack said. "The more I got to know the coaches and about the program it felt more and more like a home away from home for me. I feel like I can really respond to the coaches.

"It's a huge relief, and I'm glad I went ahead and got it out there. Now I can just concentrate on getting ready for the next step."

Mack was among the most productive tacklers in the tri-state area the last two seasons with more than 250 combined stops. Last season he was in on 121 tackles, 21 for loss and also had 29 quarterback pressures and four forced fumbles.

As a junior he made an impressive 137 tackles as an interior lineman, including 30 for loss and eight sacks. In one game against Gilmer County, Mack made an incredible 30 tackles, with nine of those coming behind the line of scrimmage.

"He was so important to what we wanted to do as a team, in any game we got a big lead in, he was the first guy we pulled out to save him from injury," Northwest Whitfield coach Josh Robinson said. "He wound up playing 14 fewer quarters than he could have just from us taking him out early so much.

"He's a very talented kid with a big future ahead."

Mack is the Mocs' sixth overall commitment and the fourth to be projected as a defensive player. He chose the Mocs over offers from Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Eastern Kentucky, Georgia State, Coastal Carolina and Kennesaw State and was also being recruited by the University of Indiana, Ball State, Middle Tennessee State University, Western Kentucky and Tennessee Tech.

"He's 100 percent committed to them," Robinson said. "He built a good relationship with Coach [Will] Healy, and we feel good about Coach Huesman and the direction the program is headed.

"He knows they have a lot of good defensive linemen that he can learn from and be ready when his time comes. The best thing for him might be to get a redshirt year, add some weight and then I'd expect him to be in the rotation by his redshirt freshman year."

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293.

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...

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