To listen to an interview with Ken Sparks, click here
JEFFERSON CITY, TENN. – Carson-Newman football has the second highest number of first and second team preseason All-SAC selections, the league office announced Tuesday.
The Eagles landed three first-team performers on offense while placing two on the second team offense and three on the second team defense. Only Tusculum had more players on the preseason all-conference squads with nine (three first teamers, six second teamers). Mars Hill also put eight players on the preseason all-conference teams with five on the first team and three on the second.
"It does mean that they've done something in the past that's gotten someone's attention," Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks said. "The secret is how much you want to grow and develop yourself. That's what I hope they're working on."
For a rushing attack that has ranked in the top five nationally the last two seasons, it is no surprise the first team selections relate to the ground game. Junior tailback Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.) will look to build on a 12-touchdown season from 2011. The 5-10, 200-pound wrecking ball averaged 6.6 yards each time he touched the football.
"Tyron's a tough kid," Sparks said. "He's got to continue to develop himself, as he knows. We've got to get him tougher and faster, but he sure is a tough little rascal and we're certainly glad we've got him on our roster."
Clearing the way for Douglas and the rest of the C-N backs are two first teamers on the interior line. Senior center Kevin Day (Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.) and junior guard Alex Taylor (Bristol, Tenn.). Day and Taylor have both started since their freshman seasons at Mossy Creek. Last year, they helped clear the way for Nate Inman to jaunt his way to a 3,000-yard career in an Eagle uniform.
"It all starts up front," Sparks said. "Especially with our offense, we'll be a direct reflection of our offensive line and how unified they are as a group. We're very fortunate that we've got three guys who have started a whole lot of ball games."
Making an appearance on the Preseason All-SAC Second Team and joining Day and Taylor on the line is junior guard Lucas Mathis (Greenwood, S.C.). The 6-3, 296-pound earthmover makes his second appearance on a preseason all-conference team.
Senior wideout Jason Brown (Plant City, Fla.) joins Mathis on the second team offense. Brown went down with an injury three games into the season last year. However, prior to getting hurt, Brown was averaging nearly 40 yard a catch.
Two members of the secondary and a defensive tackle make up the Eagles represented on the second team defense. Oliver Davis (Acworth, Ga.) and Tarvin Jones (St. Petersburg, Fla.) both make repeat appearances as preseason selections. Davis, a 5-9, 175-pound senior, led the team in interceptions in 2010 before Jones, a 6-0, 187-pound junior, came back with a three-interception performance in 2011 to lead the team last year.
Deshon Collins also makes the second team after a 28 tackle, 7.5 tackle-for-loss performance at defensive tackle in 2011.
"Hopefully we've bought in with the fact that football comes and goes," Sparks said. "We need to use it as a laboratory of learning to win life. The good thing about these players is that they have some want to as far as winning life is concerned."
Carson-Newman opens up the 2012 season versus Glenville State at home at 7 p.m. August 30.
For a complete listing of the Preseason All-SAC selections, click here