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2021 NFL Draft: Introducing Harrison Moon, Chattanooga’s homegrown talent

Laura O’Dell – UTC Athletics

While the skill position players always take the headlines, everyone knows football games are won and lost in the trenches.

That’s why I’m introducing you to Chattanooga’s sixth-year senior offensive tackle Harrison Moon. Moon is a transfer from Mississippi State who was granted a sixth year of eligibility following a season-ending injury just four games into his senior season.

One of the more underrated offensive line prospects heading into the college football season, Moon recently spoke exclusively with MCM about how he’s working in his final year, why he made the move from Mississippi State to Chattanooga, and what it was like to practice against current Tennessee Titans Jeffrey Simmons and Isaiah Mack.

JM: This is obviously a big season for you. How have you been working to ensure that this is going to be your best season?

HM: I’ve taken this off-season more seriously than any other off-season. I’m trying to find different ways to get better. I took rehab very seriously. I’ve been getting healthy so that I could get back on the field as soon as possible. I’ve been finding different ways to be more productive with my movement. I’ve been watching a lot of NFL tape as I continue to become a bigger student of the game. I’ve paid close attention to the techniques they use on the field. I’ve been watching a lot of tape.

JM: That’s awesome. You were granted a sixth-year of eligibility. Why did you pursue this sixth season?

HM: I suffered a season-ending injury during the fourth game of the 2019 season. That was supposed to be my senior season. I have a lot of unfinished business. My senior season was unfortunately cut short. I petitioned for a sixth year. I couldn’t handle leaving here with all of that unfinished business. I wanted be on the field and help the team be successful. I wanna win a conference championship. For personal reasons, I felt like it set me up for the best shot at the next level. Opportunity wise, I felt like it was the best thing for both the team and myself.

JM: That makes sense. You attended Mississippi State before transferring to Chattanooga. What was the reasoning behind your transfer and how do you look back on that move today?

HM: To this very day, I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I don’t mean to slight Mississippi State at all. I loved my three years in Starkville. I learned so many lessons there. Coach [Dan] Mullen runs such a phenomenal program. He’s such a great football mind. I just felt that the best opportunity for me to develop as a player, to get on the field and really contribute to a team’s success was right here at home in Chattanooga. This is my hometown. It was a no brainer. We have a great coaching staff and Chattanooga is an awesome city. We have great academics. It just felt like the right fit at the right time.

JM: That’s great. What’s your favorite part about playing on the offensive line, the tackle position to be specific?

HM: I love how cerebral you have to be. That goes for the game of football, but it especially applies to the offensive line. That’s a big part of the game and the position that nobody really thinks about. Everyone knows that you have to be a brute, this big old guy but the game is so mental. You have to understand what the defense is doing. You need to not only know your assignment, but what the other four guys on the O-line are doing as well. It’s all about mastering your assignments. I love the mental aspect of the game. It’s also awesome to move a guy from Point A to Point B against his will (laughs). There’s no better feeling than that.

JM: I love that. Throughout your time playing college ball, whether at Mississippi State or Chattanooga, who are some of the best defensive linemen that you’ve gone up against?

HM: I’ve been very fortunate to play against some great talent. I was at Mississippi State with Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat. I had to practice against those guys every day. That was tough in itself. Coming to Chattanooga, we had a great defensive linemen in Isaiah Mack. He plays for the Titans now. He’s one of the strongest guys I’ve ever played against. Those were just my teammates. I’ve played against Javon Kinlaw and Darrell Taylor. Taylor was at The University of Tennessee this past season. Those are two studs right there. You really have to study their game and their tendencies before you go up against them. I really had to be in the right spot against those guys. That’s the only way to protect the quarterbacks and running backs against guys who are that talented.

JM: You’ve been teammates with quite a few Titans including Simmons and Mack. Both of those guys must have been pretty special to practice against.

HM: Simmons, I mean, wow. What can I say? You watched him during his rookie season. He’s one of the best football players I’ve ever seen. He works incredibly hard. I was at Mississippi State with him for two seasons. He works his tail off. He’s a great player and he has a great gift from God but he has such a good work ethic as well. It’s the same with Mack. He’s a great dude. He’s an absolute workhorse. He loves the game of football. He’s so incredibly strong. Height wise, he might be a little short but he knows how to use that to his advantage. He uses his athleticism and strength to run guys over.

JM: Both of those guys are special. I’ve really appreciated your time today, Harrison. In closing, what can Chattanooga fans expect from Harrison Moon this season?

HM: They can expect me to play hard. I’m gonna give it everything I have. I’ve been blessed to have this sixth year. I’m gonna make the most of it. I’m gonna help us reach the conference championship.