Carson-Newman Football Position Preview: The Quarterbacks

VIDEO: Brock Pursley Interview 

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – This is the final part in an eight-part series analyzing the Eagles' signal-callers for 2017.  Quarterbacks coach Brock Pursley aids in the analysis and breakdown.

For the second straight year, Carson-Newman football breaks in a new starting quarterback following the graduation of Noah Suber.  Derrick Evans (Macon, Ga.), Tyler Thackerson (Clinton, Tenn.) and Tyson Herron (Bogart, Ga.) all were with the program last year.  Both Evans and Herron saw action while Thackerson took a redshirt year.

Through camp, Evans has emerged as the guy who will get the nod under center against Pikeville in week one, however, both Herron and Thackerson continue to play reps with the first team offense.

"Day one, Derrick starts the game off," Pursley said. "From there, we'll see who gets in there.  It was good last year, because we have guys with some game experience and understand that atmosphere.  Derrick has earned that start because of his maturity.  He's leading guys in the right direction and saying the right things like you would expect out of a quarterback." 

Evans completed 10-of-22 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown on the year.  He also rushed 22 times for 57 yards and two scores. He completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to New York Giant Kevin Snead against Saint Augustines (9/10).  He rushed for 38 yards and a score on eight carries against Brevard (10/8). 

Meanwhile, Herron appeared in six games with one start at quarterback as a freshman.  Herron completed 6-of-11 passes without a pick or a touchdown.  He tossed for 114 yards with a long of 41 yards.  He carried the ball 21 times for 114 yards and a touchdown.  

Herron made his lone start and had his most prolific game against Brevard.  He toted the ball 13 times that day for 41 yards and a score while completing 5-of-9 passes for 100 yards.  He rushed four times for 53 yards a week prior against Mars Hill (9/24).  

Thackerson comes in off a redshirt season.  The former Clinton QB was a three-year starter for the Dragons, Thackerson accumulated over 9,500 yards at the helm of the Clinton offense. He was an All-District, All-Region, All-Prepxtra and All-State player. 

"Tyler is more of a spread guy," Pursley said. "He does well in our passing packages, but he' fast and can do the option stuff right too. Tyson is what you want in a leader.  Plus he played the option in high school, so he has a strong understanding of how you read the offense."

The Eagles also bring in two freshman who add depth at the position in Brady Polson and Brandon Crosby

"Brady has probably the strongest arm in the group," Pursley said. "He's starting to pick up on the option and show he's not just a pocket passer.  Brandon ran veer-option out of the shotgun in high school.  They're both very smart kids and that shows through on the field."

Polson was a two-time all-region selection and was twice named team captain while also earning recognition as Honorable Mention all-state. Polson racked up 6,091 passing yards to go with 58 touchdown passes during his time leading the Patriots.  

Crosby on the other hand guided the Jaguars offense as a senior with 1,300 yards passing and 870 yards rushing.  He scored 18 touchdowns through the air while adding another nine on the ground.  He was the All-City MVP for Huntsville City Schools and the First Down Friday Night MVP.  He earned second team All-Region and All-State honors as a senior.  He also played basketball and helped Mae Jemison to back-to-back hoops state titles. 

The Eagles open up the season Aug. 31 against Pikeville at 7 p.m.  The show gets underway at 6 with the AEC Tailgate Show on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville), Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.