Mocs Coach Rusty Wright Signs 15 in His First Recruiting Class


( UTC head football coach Rusty Wright welcomed his first recruiting class to the Scenic City today. The Mocs signed 15 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent.  Add in two signees from the December period and a mid-year transfer and the class totals 18 future Mocs.  

“We’re really pleased with how it ended up,” stated Wright. “I think our staff did a great job in basically 15 days.  We had to get guys on campus and start building relationships quickly and we were able to do that.  

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“We started out with a bunch of names and a bunch of guys. After about a week and a half, we really focused in on a select few. We got those guys on campus and had an opportunity to be around them and develop some better relationships. Thankfully, we had some relationships with guys already that we were able to get here on campus.” 

This class features five individuals with at least a two-star rating, led by three-star quarterback prospects Drayton Arnold (5-11, 205) and Gio Richardson (6-1, 200).  Arnold is a graduate transfer from Old Dominion who has two years of eligibility remaining.  Richardson was a standout signal caller at Dwyer High School in Wellington, Fla. 

The two-star signees include running back Ailym Ford (5-9, 205), receiver Avery Williams (6-1, 175) and offensive lineman Brock Bethea (6-5, 300).  Ford was an all-state honoree from Florence, S.C., while Williams earned the same honors at Brentwood High School in Brentwood, Tenn.  Bethea was an all-area selection at Clay-Chalkville High School in Pinson, Ala.  

These are five of the 10 offensive signees for the Mocs.  UTC also welcomes running backs Brandon Gregory (6-1, 195) from Venice, Fla., and Lance Jackson (5-10, 185) from Norcross, Ga.; offensive linemen Sam Hall (6-6, 255) from Logan, Ohio, and Cameron Perry (6-5, 250) from Byron, Ga.; and receiver Kanore McKinnon (6-3, 200) from Dillon, S.C.  McKinnon has spent the last two seasons at Georgia Military College and is the lone junior college transfer in the group.  

“I think we addressed some needs offensively as far as depth at running back and a little bit at wide receiver and offensive line,” added Wright.  

There are seven slated to compete for a spot on defense, including all-state defensive lineman Evan Brown (6-4, 230) from Trenton, Ohio, and all-state defensive back Jelen Lee (6-0, 175) from Florence, Ala. 

Other newcomers on defense include defensive lineman Marlon Taylor (6-3, 275) from Brunswick, Ga.; linebackers Daniel Brent (6-1, 190) from Madison, Ala., Justin Sanders (6-0, 205) from Atlanta, Ga. and Tre’Von Stanford (6-3, 205) from Manchester, Ga.; and defensive back Kameron Brown (5-11, 185) from Mobile, Ala. 

“Defensively, we had some issues on the second level at linebacker and in the secondary at some spots,” continued Wright. “We addressed those to a certain degree.” 

This class also continues its tradition of attracting outstanding students by tying a school-record with 10 signees who carry academic accolades on their resumes.  

“Our staff did a great job of getting guys in here that we needed and identified good players,” said Wright. “It’s also a really good class of students once that GPA is totaled up.”

February Signees

Brock Bethea                            OL              6-5              300             Fr.-HS                 Pinson, Ala. (Clay-Chalkville HS)

Daniel Brent                              LB              6-1              190             Fr.-HS               Madison, Ala. (Madison Academy)

Evan Brown                              DL              6-4              230             Fr.-HS                     Trenton, Ohio (Edgewood HS)

Kameron Brown                        DB             5-11            185             Fr.-HS                         Mobile, Ala. (Theodore HS)

Brandon Gregory                       RB              6-1              195             Fr.-HS                             Venice, Fla. (Venice HS)

Sam Hall                                   OL              6-6              255             Fr.-HS                             Logan, Ohio (Logan HS)

Lance Jackson                          RB              5-10            185             Fr.-HS                       Norcross, Ga. (Norcross HS)

Jelen Lee                                  DB             6-0              175             Fr.-HS                       Florence, Ala. (Florence HS)

Kanore McKinnon                      WR             6-3              200             Jr.-TR           Dillon, S.C. (Georgia Military College)

Cody Olszewski                         LS              5-11            225             Fr.-HS                              Marietta, Ga. (Pope HS)

Cameron Perry                          OL              6-5              250             Fr.-HS                    Byron, Ga. (Peach County HS)

Gio Richardson                         QB             6-1              200             Fr.-HS                         Wellington, Fla. (Dwyer HS)

Justin Sanders                          LB              6-0              205             Fr.-HS                    Atlanta, Ga. (North Atlanta HS)

Tre’Von Stanford                       LB              6-3              205             Fr.-HS                      Manchester, Ga. (Manchester HS)                                          

Marlon Taylor                            DL              6-3              275             Fr.-HS                Brunswick, Ga. (Glynn Academy)


December Signees

Ailym Ford                                RB              5-9              205             Fr.-HS              Florence, S.C. (West Florence HS)

Avery Williams                          WR             6-1              175             Fr.-HS               Brentwood, Tenn. (Brentwood HS)


January Enrollees

Drayton Arnold                          QB             5-11            205             Jr.-TR               Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Old Dominion)

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at