VIDEO: Carl White Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - This is the fifth part in an eight-part series chronicling each of Carson-Newman football's positions for 2018. This feature is highlights the Eagles' wideouts with the help of Bubba White.
Quick, name the position from which Carson-Newman has sent the most players to the NFL in the last nine years.
If you said the wide receivers, congratulations, you have good deductive reasoning skills. However, improbably, it's true.
Yes, the Eagles' split-back veer option attack has sent wide receivers to the NFL in back-to-back seasons. Kevin Snead, also an All-American sprinter with the C-N track program, has spent time with the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints the last two years. Dorren Miller grabbed a pass and led the Jacksonville Jaguars in targets in their first preseason game this year.
While they're gone, it's created a unique situation for White.
"We have to carry that tradition on," White said. "When we went out recruiting, we went out to get guys who felt like they could make it at the next level at this position. This makes two years in a row we've had two guys make it to the NFL. That's the standard we want."
Wide receiver is the one position that Carson-Newman has that features the most unknowns.
The Eagles return Quinton Phillips (Augusta, Ga.), Micah Young (Duncan, S.C.) and Ted Mitchell (Oak Ridge, Tenn.). That trio combined for 12 catches and 97 yards. Young had the most catches with five, while Phillips had 36 yards and the only touchdown. They, along with redshirt freshman wideout Ryan Randall (Calhoun, Ga.) will be the returners looking to replace last year's starters Miller and Darvia DuBose.
"Those guys are helping bring guys up," White said. "They are going to be needed later on. They work hard at that, but they've also done a great job making certain that they've improved to compete for starting spots."
They will be competing with a slew of newcomers for playing time. TJ Smith (Marietta, Ga.) is the most well known of that group. He snared a trio of touchdown passes in the Eagles' spring game after transferring in mid-year.
The 6-6 Smith set Wheeler High School records for coach Michael Collins his senior year with more than 1,400 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns.
"We are athletic," White said. "There was an opportunity to go out and get some guys that were a little bigger and faster. We went out and did that. We averaged out the conference and figured out that typical corner in this conference is 5-10. We went out and got bigger. We're 6-6, 6-5 and 6-4 on the edge. They're more athletic on the edge and very coachable. That's the most exciting thing about this so far."
The Eagles also add juco transfer Ed Aldred (Dania Beach, Fla.) and Spartanburg-product Romain Kelley (Spartanburg, S.C.) at 6-3 and 6-4, respectively.
Aldred gained more than 1,500 yards receiving in two years at Fort Scott Community College. He earned first team all-conference honors.
For head coach Chris Miller, Kelly recorded 1,803 total receiving yards on 130 catches with 47.7 receiving yards per game. He brought in 15 touchdowns in his career. Kelly won a state championship with the Vikings while also receiving honors from Maxpreps.
"Romain and Ed are talented," White said. "When that show is released, get excited. You'll see a lot of different guys who can get the job done by flying around and making plays."
Carson-Newman also brings 6-2 converted safety Braxton Dockery (Seymour, Tenn.) to the offensive side of the football to give the Eagles more length and depth.
Carson-Newman football's position previews continue Monday with the Eagles' running backs.