The 2021 season did not end the way the Chattanooga faithful were hoping the season would end. Many predictions had the Mocs winning the Southern Conference last season as the Mocs had a well rounded team on both sides of the ball. Head coach Rusty Wright and staff are doing their part to make sure the Mocs are taking steps forward. The staff have been heavy on the recruiting trail, as well as utilizing the transfer portal. Not only will UT-Chattanooga have some good transfers and freshman, but they will be returning some key pieces to help the Mocs make a push for the Southern Conference crown and to get back in the FCS playoffs once again.
Ford, a Junior in his fourth year, is arguably the biggest piece to the Mocs offense. He has filled up the stat sheet since the first game of his freshman year. As a freshman, Ford ran for a school record 1,081 yards and totaling nine touchdowns. He averaged 108 yards per game, which was second in the Southern Conference and tenth at the FCS level. He led all freshman at both the FCS level and the FBS level in the average yard per game category. Ford tallied six games with over 100 yards rushing. His big freshman season led to five awards that season, including SoCon Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-America by HeroSports.com. His sophomore season was cut short after playing in one game due to COVID. In the one game, Ford rushed for 92 yards against Western Kentucky.
Last season was back to normal as Ford rushed for 1,071 yards across 11 games. He averaged over 100 yards in five games last season, which including 128 yards at Kentucky. He is only the fourth player in school history to have multiple 1,000 rushing yards seasons. Chances are he would have had three consecutive years of 1,000 yards rushing if COVID did not interfere. Ford will be the top piece of the Mocs offense. Ford has a fullback build, but is fast. He is a downhill runner that builds up momentum. The coaching staff will need to game plan to get the ball in his hands.
Boeck is a fifth year senior for the Mocs. He is a staple for the Moc defense. Boeck is seen as the captain of the defense playing linebacker. He has played in 37 games over his four completed years as a Moc. He has started every game since he was a sophomore. Boeack finished his sophomore season with 101 tackles. He had five games with over 10 tackles in his sophomore year. In his junior year he made All SoCon First Team with 90 tackles on the season. Boeck is not some flashy player, but he has command of his defense. He plays with tremendous energy and flys around to the football. He is poised to have a breakout year as this will be his last year with the Mocs.
Maxwell is a sixth year super senior for the Mocs. After redshirting his freshman year, Maxwell has seen the field a lot. He has racked up numerous awards while being a Moc. As a second year freshman, Maxwell played in nine games and recorded 32 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He earned freshman All American awards from Phil Steele and the SoCon. In his sophomore season, he lead the SoCon with 7 sacks. He also earned sophomore All American honors from HeroSports.com that season. Maxwell, in his junior season, led the Mocs with 12 sacks. He generated 42 tackles that season.
He racked up numerous First and Second Team All American honors from multiple outlets including Phil Steele, AFCA, and AP among others. Maxwell has earned preseason All American honors for this upcoming season. The Mocs will be relying on Maxwell, as well as Boeck to be the leaders on defense. As a defensive lineman, Maxwell will be giving the opposing lines all sorts of problems this season. It is not a question of will Maxwell get an award, but instead it is how many will Maxwell earn this season.
Losing players such as Brandon Dowdell and Reginald Henderson can be hurtful for the Mocs, but retaining players like Maxwell, Boeck, and Ford can help relieve some pain that the Mocs felt with losing those key pieces from last season. I am not only ready to see what these players can do, but I am ready to see what other players for the Mocs has a breakout season. It should be a fun and exciting season this year as the Mocs kick off the 2022 season with Wofford on September 3rd at Finley Stadium In Chattanooga, TN. It is not often that the first game of the season is an important conference game, but the Mocs will have a crucial game in week one. Beating Wofford in week one will be huge for the Mocs in the SoCon standings race.