Saturday, August 2, 2014
- by B.B. Branton
UTC defensive lineman Daniel Ring has a Southern Conference
championship ring, but wants to believe a national championship ring will fit
that much better.
It has a certain ring to it doesn’t it?
The redshirt junior started 10 games a year ago with 42
tackles, two quarterback sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
“We have a veteran defensive line and if we can stay healthy
we should be really good,” said Ring after Friday's practice at Scrappy Moore
Really good as in one of the best in the nation.
Head coach Russ Huesman and defensive line coach Marcus West
have the veteran line they need to be a playoff contender.
The Mocs front shows fifth year seniors in Zach Rayl and
All-American Davis Tull, fourth year juniors in Josh Freeman and Ring and sixth
year senior Derek Lott.
But wait, there’s more with redshirt sophomores Vantrell
McMillan and Keionta Davis (Red Bank HS) who started four games last season and
redshirt freshman D.J. Prather.
Huesman plans to redshirt senior Toyvian Brand
“Danny is a guy who does everything you ask and does it as
hard as he can,” said coach West with a smile.
“He is always where he is supposed to be and doing what he
is supposed to do.”
“Doing what he is supposed to do” translates to causing
havoc with the opposing team’s offense.
A disciplined lineman, Ring has been that way since high
school with a 4.0 grade point average in the Honors Program at Cardinal Gibbons
High School in Florida where he was all-county before spending two years at
the Naval Academy.
“I had a great opportunity to attend the Naval Academy and
play football (started three games in 2012), but I found out that attending an
academy for four years just wasn’t for me,” Ring stated.
Navy defensive coordinator and former Mocs head coach Buddy
Green gave Ring a “ringing endorsement” to coach Huesman - “Buddy said he hated
to lose Danny” – and much the same came from Ring’s high school coach which
made the transfer process an easy one.
But the two years at the academy were far from a wash as he
started and helped lead the Midshipmen to a victory against West Point and
served one summer in the Bahamas.
“Starting as a freshman in an Army-Navy game was the
ultimate for a football player at either academy and a wonderful experience
with the big crowd and a national television audience,” Ring stated.
Playing Battleship on a Large Scale: One summer he was
stationed on a carrier in the Bahamas and the simulated strategy was to seek
and destroy enemy submarines and at the same time not be sunk by enemy fire
from other midshipmen in staged maneuvers.
“It wasn’t too bad a summer being in the Bahamas on the ship
for four days and then I could get home (Lighthouse Point, Fla.) during my days
off,” Ring said with a smile.
While in the Navy he learned the correct way to work as a team
in seeking out and destroying the enemy with fire power, so it is here at UTC
with a veteran and talented front line to destroy the opposing offense with
fumble recoveries, sacks, tackles for a loss and interceptions.
Ring and Company know how to help tally up the turnovers (+6
in 2013) and plenty of key stops and a disruption of the various opposing offenses
in 2014 will hopefully translate into another ring for the Blue and Gold – one that reads NCAA
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org