Football

Hartsell Signs With Tennessee Titans

By Mike London ... mlondon@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — From his room in Nashville, Julian Hartsell can see the lights of 68,798-seat LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans.  “It’s a clear view, and it’s beautiful,” said Hartsell, a free-agent roster addition who toiled for the Catawba Indians at 4,500-seat Shuford Stadium last fall. “You almost don’t want to go to sleep because you’re afraid maybe it’s just a dream and you’ll wake up.”

The mature defensive lineman may be living a dream, but Catawba coach Chip Hester has been saying for six months that Hartsell, who is officially 6-foot-2, 295 pounds, had the best pro chances of last season’s seniors.  “When Julian wants to be a force, he’s a force,” Hester said. “He’s big and he can run. This is a 295-pound guy who doesn’t have a gut.”

Hartsell was born at Fort Bragg and played prep football at Ridgeview High in Columbia, S.C.  He was a four-year standout for the Indians, starting games as early as his redshirt freshman season in 2007. His junior year he returned a pick 25 yards for a touchdown against Fayetteville State. His big senior year included All-SAC honors and a three-sack day against Shaw.

At his Pro Day workout for NFL scouts in March at N.C. State, Hartsell bench-pressed 225 pounds 25 times, produced a 29-inch vertical jump, broad-jumped 9 feet, 3 inches and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.95 seconds.  The draft analysis service “NFL Draft Scout” ranked Hartsell 96th among the 150 defensive tackles it listed for the seven-round draft that was conducted in April.

“My Pro Day was OK, but I was honestly disappointed,” Hartsell said. “I know I can jump 30s. And I’ve run faster.”
The Titans were one of the teams that scouted Hartsell’s Pro Day. He maintained hope he’d be drafted right down to the last pick. After that, he stayed optimistic he’d get a chance to get into a camp as a free-agent if the dragged-out NFL lockout ever ended.

“It was a tough time because I just wasn’t 100-percent sure which way things would go,” he said. “I tried to keep my mind off the negotiations. I stayed with my workouts in Salisbury, sometimes with Catawba coaches, but some days doing my own thing. I also took care of a Spanish class in summer school.”

When the labor strife was settled, phones started ringing. Hartsell was one of 14 free-agent pickups announced by the Titans this week.  Very early Wednesday morning, Hartsell was driving west, and he arrived in Nashville at 10:30 a.m.
It’s going to be non-stop meetings and workouts for a while, as he tries to impress a new Titans coaching staff during a whirlwind courtship.

Ordinarily, there’s a careful indoctrination process, especially for rookies, but, obviously the luxury of mini-camps isn’t available this time.  Teams are hurriedly trying to put in plays and schemes as they prepare to play games, and the Titans got down to serious business on Friday.

“Definitely, this is tough for the players, especially rookies,” Hartsell said. “But it’s also tough on coaches. The advice everyone gave me at Catawba is just to listen and observe everything I can — and don’t say much.”
Mike Munchak is the new head coach of the Titans, Jeff Grey is the new defensive coordinator, while Tracy Rocker is the new defensive line coach. It’s a whole new ballgame for the Titans — including new quarterback Matt Hasselbeck — but they are expected to stay with the 4-3 defense they’ve employed.

Hartsell isn’t sure if he’ll be looked at primarily as a defensive end or tackle. He may get a chance to back up both positions. He may have enough size to play inside and enough explosiveness to play end.
Grey has stated the Titans have to get bigger upfront after a season in which they ranked 26th in the NFL in total yards allowed and 29th in pass defense.

The Titans selected three defensive linemen from big schools in the draft — USC’s Jurrell Casey (third round), Iowa’s Karl (fifth round) and Auburn’s Zach Clayton (seventh round), but Hartsell is confident he’ll get a legitimate look.
“I’ll be walking into a locker room with NFL players, guys I’ve looked up to all my life,” he said. “But I can’t be in awe of that. I just have to maintain focus and show that I can be one of those guys.”

Today's Events

Golf (M) @ Donald Ross Intercollegiate - Day 1 (Mimosa Hills CC),
Golf (W) @ Lee Ann Noble Memorial - Day 1 (Achasta GC),

Calendar

«September 2017»
1
September 1

Volleyball vs. MONTEVALLO 3-2

2
September 2

Cross Country in CHICK-FIL-A INVITE W-2nd; M-3rd

Tennis (M) @ Belmont Abbey Individual Tourn. 

Volleyball vs. BELMONT ABBEY 1-3

Volleyball vs. CHOWAN 3-0

Soccer (M) vs. ERSKINE 1-2

3
September 3

Soccer (W) @ Barton 2-0

456
September 6

Soccer (M) vs. MOUNT OLIVE 1-3

Soccer (W) vs. LIMESTONE 1-3

78
September 8

Cross Country @ Lenoir-Rhyne Invite W-3rd,M-3rd

Volleyball @ Winston-Salem St. 0-3

9
September 9

Tennis (W) @ Wingate Individual Tourn. (Day 1) 

Tennis (M) @ Wingate Individual Tourn. (Day 1) 

Football @ VMI 27-20

Soccer (M) @ Belmont Abbey 0-4

10
September 10

Tennis (W) @ Wingate Individual Tourn. (Day 2) 

Tennis (M) @ Wingate Individual Tourn. (Day 2) 

Soccer (W) vs. FLAGLER 0-4

1112131415
September 15

Volleyball @ Mars Hill 3-1

16
September 16

Volleyball vs. TUSCULUM 2-3

Soccer (M) vs. MARS HILL 0-1

Football @ UNC Pembroke 41-9

Soccer (W) vs. MARS HILL 4-0

1718
September 18

Golf (M) @ Queens Inv. - Day 1 (Club at Irish Creek)

19
September 19

Golf (M) @ Queens Inv. - Day 2 (Club at Irish Creek) 11th of 16

Volleyball @ Lenoir-Rhyne 0-3

20
September 20

Soccer (W) @ Newberry 2-1

Soccer (M) @ Newberry 2-4

2122
September 22

Volleyball @ Lincoln Memorial 1-3

23
September 23

Golf (W) @ Battle at Old South - Day 1 (Old South GC)

Cross Country @ Bulldog Stampede W-5th;M-9th

Soccer (W) @ Coker 3-0

Volleyball @ Carson-Newman 0-3

Football vs. MARS HILL 37-13

Soccer (M) @ Coker 2-1

24
September 24

Golf (W) @ Battle at Old South - Day 2 (Old South GC) 15th of 18

25
September 25

Golf (M) @ King Inv - Day 1 (CC of Bristol)

26
September 26

Golf (M) @ King Inv - Day 2 (CC of Bristol) 8th of 10

Tennis (W) @ Pfeiffer 9-0

Volleyball vs. ANDERSON 0-3

27
September 27

Tennis (M) @ Pfeiffer 7-2

Soccer (W) vs. USC AIKEN 5-0

2829
September 29

Cross Country @ Royals Challenge W-13th;M-14th

Tennis (M) @ SE ITA Championships (Day 1)

Tennis (W) @ SE ITA Championships (Day 1)

Volleyball vs. QUEENS 0-3

30
September 30

Tennis (W) @ SE ITA Championships (Day 2) 

Tennis (M) @ SE ITA Championships (Day 2) 

Football @ Carson-Newman 18-31

Volleyball vs. WINGATE 0-3

Soccer (W) vs. GEORGIA COLLEGE 1-3

Soccer (M) vs. LANDER 3-6

Mouse over the red calendar dates to display events on those days. Click to open the full-size calendar.


TEAM PHOTO

Soccer (M) Team Photo

SPONSORS