Orr leaving Arizona State to play for Mocs
Kareem Orr made a decision Tuesday that he felt was best for him and his family — both present and future.
It benefits the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football program as well.
The former Notre Dame High School standout, who played the past two seasons at Arizona State, announced Tuesday his intention to transfer to his hometown university. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound defensive back will be eligible for the Mocs immediately and will have two seasons remaining.
“GOD is truly good and I thank him for everything he has done for me and this opportunity,” Orr posted. “Thank you once again ASU for everything it has truly been a blessing as well!!”
Orr told the Times Free Press on Tuesday that he and his girlfriend are expecting a daughter soon.
“She’s due in August, so it was important for me to be back home for her,” Orr said. “I like the environment they’ve got going at UTC, and I’m really excited about the opportunity to get to be a part of that. I’m looking forward to helping get the city turned up again, and I think we’ll do big things.”
His high school coach, Charles Fant, said Orr had thought about moving closer to home after last season but “decided to give it another year.” The fatherhood aspect made it a no-brainer for the talented defensive back.
“He doesn’t think he made a mistake by going out there, but at the same time he felt like he needed to come back home, where he has that constant support group close by,” Fant said. “He can just go visit family when he needs them, and I think he just wanted to be closer to home because being that far away has weighed on him.”
Orr, a three-star prospect coming out of high school according to 247Sports, initially chose the Sun Devils over finalists Louisville and Oklahoma. He was a Freshman All-American at the Football Bowl Subdivision level in 2015, when he had 65 tackles and six interceptions, including one against rival Arizona that he returned for a touchdown.
He had 26 tackles and an interception in 2016.
He becomes the fifth player to announce his transfer to the UTC program, joining running back Darrell Bridges (Presbyterian), fullback Chris Jones (Arkansas), defensive back Cameron Turner (Nevada) and athlete Gage Upshaw (Air Force), who played both tight end and linebacker in high school at Baylor.
Orr’s addition will only help to strengthen the competition for the starting cornerback slots. Senior Trevor Wright and junior C.J. Fritz return as the starters but almost assuredly will be pushed by Orr and Turner.
UTC added five defensive backs in the 2017 signing class.
Cook officially added to staff
UTC head coach Tom Arth announced Tuesday that Chris Cook has accepted a position coaching tight ends and tackles on the Mocs’ staff.
Cook played at UTC and was an All-America center in 2002. He returns to his alma mater after two seasons as the offensive quality control coordinator at East Carolina.
“We are thrilled to welcome Chris back to UTC and to welcome his wife Mandisa and their two children, Mayor and Paige, to our family in Chattanooga,” Arth said in a release. “Chris has shared with our staff the ways in which UTC has shaped his life, and we know how special this opportunity is for him to return to his alma mater.
“From the moment we met Chris we knew there was something really special about him. He is a very passionate and intelligent football coach with a contagious personality, and as a former student-athlete and All-American player at UTC Chris will be able to impact our program and our players in so many meaningful ways.”
Cook graduated from UTC in 2009 with a degree in communications. Before completing his degree, he pursued a professional football career with workouts with the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts.
Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress. com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.
After spending two seasons with Arizona State, former Notre Dame High School standout Kareem Orr announced his intention to transfer to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.