UT-Martin is coming off their 2nd OVC Championship after a 10-4 season, which saw the Skyhawks make a run to the 2nd round of the FCS Playoffs. The defensive line was one of the major strengths of the defense and is primed to be one of the top defensive lines in the OVC going into the 2022 season. The Skyhawks landed another major piece for their defensive line as former Pittsburgh DL JoJo Belgrave announced his transfer to UT-Martin on social media.
Next Chapter!!! ?? pic.twitter.com/i0x0wm9bji
— Jojo Belgrave? (@jomoney_9) June 6, 2022
Belgrave was a 3-star recruit out of Miami, FL in the class of 2020. Belgrave ranked as a Top-65 defensive end and a Top-170 overall player in the state of Florida. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound defensive lineman held offers from Pittsburgh, FIU, Indiana, Kent State, & Alabama A&M out of high school after missing most of his senior season due to injury. As a junior Belgrave totaled over 40 tackles and 8.5 sacks while leading Miami Southridge to a 9-3 record and a run to the Florida Class 8A Playoffs. He announced his commitment to Pittsburgh after an official visit in June of 2019.
Belgrave did not see much action at Pittsburgh over the 2020 and 2021 season due to the Panthers having one of the most crowded DL rooms in the country. The Panthers had three defensive lineman drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft, including Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones II in the 3rd and 4th rounds respectively. Belgrave entered the transfer portal on April 26th and received offers from multiple FCS programs including Northwestern State, UT-Martin, Bethune-Cookman, & Western Illinois.
The Skyhawks may return some top contributors on the defensive line, but lost multiple impact players including David DuBose and JaQuez Akins. The defensive line will be led by FCS All-American Eyabi Anoma and freshman standout Daylan Dotson along with Belgrave going into the 2022 season.
UT-Martin looks to win back-to-back OVC Championships and will open their 2022 season against Western Illinois before traveling to take on Missouri State in a potential Top-15 FCS out of conference matchup.