JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - Carson-Newman running back Damian Baker (Columbus, Miss.) and center Derek Evans (Alcoa, Tenn.) have garnered All-America honors from Don Hansen's Football Gazette.
Baker made the honorable mention team as a running back while Evans earned third team honors at center.
This is the fifth All-America team that Baker has appeared on and the second for Evans.
Bake becomes Carson-Newman's ninth consensus All-American, joining Andy Hibbett ('14), Kevin Day ('12), Steve Mellon ('95), current C-N associate head coach Mike Clowney ('96), former Washington Redskin and Houston Texan Cedric Killings ('99), Clay Clevenger ('00), Michael Rigdon ('01) and Reggie Perkins ('03) as the Eagles landing on five All-America teams.
Damian Baker, became the fourth Carson-Newman player to make it the Harlon Hill final round, and the second in as many years. Baker previously earned first team All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association and AP Little All-America, as well as second team honors from the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association and D2Football.com
Baker became the first Eagle to earn an All-America honor from the AFCA since center Kevin Day was on his way to a Rimmington Trophy and consensus All-America honors following the Eagles' trip to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2012. Damian Baker finished the regular season ranked in the top 25 in the nation in five rushing categories and as the SAC Offensive Player of the Year and a first team all-SAC selection.
He closed out the regular season slate with 1,403 rushing yards to rank No. 11 in Division II, while his 116.9 rushing yards per game was good for No. 20 in the country. Baker piled up 7.16 yards per carry to rank No. 9 in the nation and his 18 rushing touchdowns are No. 11 in D-II. The tailback averaged 9.8 points per game to finish at No. 20 in the nation to help the Eagles rank No. 5 in the country as a team with 43.3 points per outing.
He turned in six 100-yard rushing games this season, including 249 yards on the ground vs. Mars Hill on Sept. 26 – the seventh highest single game tally in Carson-Newman history. With his 1,403 rushing yards, Baker has the eighth highest single-season total in Carson-Newman history and his 18 rushing touchdowns are the seventh highest single-season total in school history. On top of that his 114 points scored this year are tied for sixth all-time in school history.
Evans (Alcoa, Tenn.) has also been lauded as the top center in Division II with the Rimington Award.
Evans is the second Eagle in four years to bring home the hardware, joining consensus All-America center Kevin Day, who won the award in 2012.
Evans did something no other Carson-Newman offensive lineman has done since the C-N sports information department began tracking offensive linemen stats in 2012. Evans is the first C-N offensive lineman with a perfect gradeout on Mike Turner's 80-point scale. Evans did that three times this season (Shorter, Newberry and North Greenville).
The senior center led Carson-Newman in knockdowns with 16 this season and is second all-time with 42.
Evans has cleared the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in all three of his seasons as a starter for Carson-Newman. The Eagles rushed for 570 yards in the regular season finale – the fifth highest single-game tally in Carson-Newman football history – behind Evans blocking. Carson-Newman cracked 60 points three times and 600 yards of total offense four times behind Evans' road-grading capabilities. He has also blocked for two Harlon Hill Trophy finalists in Andy Hibbett and Damian Baker in his career.