It’s that time of year. One of wonder and excitement…it’s when the All-America lists are announced. Truly, ’tis the season.
The Chattanooga Mocs boast three on the first major awards list. HERO Sports announced the teams on Tuesday with offensive lineman Cole Strange, defensive lineman Devonnsha Maxwell and running back Ailym Ford mention.
“They’re very deserving,” Coach Rusty Wright said. “I don’t think there’s better defensive lineman out there than Devonnsha Maxwell, but it’s an honor to be mentioned. There is a very fine line between first and second team.
“It shows the caliber of people we’re bringing here. It starts with talent, but their work ethic and attention to detail in how they practice and prepare for Saturdays is what makes them All-Americans. I’m proud for these three getting recognized for their efforts.”
Strange made the first team. He is coming off a fantastic season leading one of the nation’s best offensive line units. That unit was No. 4 in sacks allowed tying the school record with just nine over the 11 contests. It was 12th in tackles for loss allowed at just four per game. Both numbers led the Southern Conference. His room paved the way for 205.5 yards rushing per game which is the most since 2016 (206.6). He is headed to the Reese’s Senior Bowl in February.
Maxwell was just as dominant on the defensive line as Strange was on the offensive side in taking second team standing. The defensive tackle had 11.0 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss ranking among the national leaders in both categories. He was also a 2020-21 All-American per the AFCA (2nd) and Phil Steele (2nd). D-Max set the school record with 5.0 sacks against and ETSU offensive line that had given up just four through six games at the time.
Ford is on the Sophomore All-America list. He took full advantage of Strange and friends up front amassing 1,071 yards and 11 TDs while sharing carries with senior Tyrell Price (853 yds-9 TD). Ford produced the 14th 1,000-yard season in school history and joined Derrick Craine (2015, 2016), Jacob Huesman (2014, 2015) & Eldra Buckley (2005, 2006) as the only Mocs with more than one. He has 2,244 yards and 20 TDs in 23 career games.