VIDEO: Aaron Hutsell Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – This is the sixth in a series that will break down what Carson-Newman football brings to the table for the 2016 season position by position. Today's preview features the Eagles' defensive backs with help from Aaron Hutsell.
Carson-Newman has to replace four defensive backs who saw significant playing time year ago. Gone are Xavier McFadden, Eien Jacob, Emmanuel Orange and Dante Thomas. However, the Eagles do return a pair of all-conference selections in first team safety Jerry Miclisse (Homestead, Fla.) and second team corner Jason Williams (Fayetteville, Ga.).
Hutsell indicated the two returning starters have been instrumental into getting a boatload of newcomers up to speed.
"We've had great competition among a bunch of young guys who have come in," Hutsell said. "And then a bunch of our old guys have done what they need to do to get to that next stage. Jerry and Jason have done a good job of focusing on their own craft while also focusing on leadership and getting those new guys to where our level of expectation is."
Those new guys are aplenty and there's still much to be done for the Eagles secondary in terms of jockeying around the depth chart. However, Hutsell pointed to Darius Williams (St. Petersburg, Fla.) as someone who's already made an impact at safety.
"The one guy that sticks out is Darius Williams," Hutsell said. "He's come in and picked up the defense well. You can tell he studies. He'll be able to come in a fill a couple different roles for us. He can push Jerry for his starting spot. There's a bunch like him too, unproven guys who are looking to make an impact with the program."
Jamar Johnson (Waycross, Ga.) returns after a 36-tackle, one-interception performance last year and is deadlocked with Ja'Quan Smith and Chris Lyles for the starting spot at the other safety position.
"I think the one thing you look at top to bottom is the depth of talent," Hutsell said. "I really like the guys that we have and I think they'll continue to get better. The big thing is consistency top to bottom. It starts with being prepared and moves to execution and production on Saturdays."
Carson-Newman football's position previews conclude Monday with C-N's offensive line and the maestro of the veer option attack Mike Turner.