VIDEO: Kevin McKeethan Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - This is the fourth part in an eight-part series chronicling each of Carson-Newman football's positions. Kevin McKeethan details the Eagles' signal callers for this report.
Carson-Newman has the luxury of having a trio of four-year players on the roster in two-time All-SAC choice Derrick Evans, red-shirt junior Tyler Thackerson and twice-converted gunslinger Micah Young.
"I'm very fortunate to coach a group of veteran guys who have played a ton of football," McKeethan said. "They're close friends, they work hard together and they seem ready to reach some heights that they haven't previously reached here at Carson-Newman."
Evans earned All-SAC honors on the second team for a second straight year. The junior quarterback completed 45-of-91 passes for 637 yards and three scores. He also rushed 131 times for 439 yards and six scores, an average of 39.9 yards per game.
His most complete game on the ground came against Mars Hill when he tallied 13 carries for 92 yards and a pair of scores, his lone multi-touchdown effort on the year. He had his lone 100-yard rushing performance against Limestone with 131 yards rushing on 14 carries and a score.
Thackerson appeared in four games before injuring his ACL midway through October. Thackerson was a hyper-efficient passer, completing 9-of-11 passes for 141 yards and two scores. He fired his touchdown passes against Limestone and Tusculum.
Thackerson was perfect through the air against Limestone, Mars Hill and Virginia-Lynchburg. On the ground, he tallied 33 carries for 188 yards and two scores. Thackerson averaged 47 yards per game rushing. He tallied eight carries for 67 yards and a touchdown in his first appearance against Limestone. He had his long rush of the season that game as well with a 17-yard jaunt against the Saints.
"It makes me sleep a lot better at night," McKeethan said. "I think it also makes opposing defensive coordinators lose some sleep at night. They really do present skillsets. Derrick runs the option really well and is coming off a year where he really read it well. Tyler was a lot more of a passer in high school locally at Clinton like Baker Mayfield. It's a great situation to have and people will have to prepare for both of them."
Finally, Young transitions back to the position at which he started his Carson-Newman career. Young has got six passes for 43 yards over the last two years.
"Micah is a different guy than a Tyson Herron," McKeethan said. "Micah played a ton of snaps last year at receiver. He has the ability to be very effective at the position. He's had to work some kinks out because the skills that are required at the position are so unique. He really got back into it in the spring and can play all over the field."
"Dee is a lot like Derrick," McKeethan said. "He's a left-handed kid from Georgia. He's got a bit of height on Derrick and he has a strong arm. He has to develop, he's only been playing quarterback since his junior year in high school. He has exceptional ball skills. He just has to develop fundamentally. He has such a positive attitude."
Johnson was a dual threat quarterback for the Jackson Red Devils where he started for Dary Myricks. He tallied 1,008 yards through the air with 10 passing touchdowns. He also garnered 12 rushing touchdowns en route to earning first team all-region honors.
Carson-Newman's position previews continue Friday with a glimpse at the offensive line and tight ends with assistance from Josh Turner.