Carson-Newman Football Position Previews: The Offensive Line

VIDEO: Josh Turner Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - This is the fifth part in an eight-part series chronicling each of Carson-Newman football's positions. Josh Turner details the Eagles' offensive front for this report.

Carson-Newman's offensive line can throw out a previous starter at all five positions for 2019, and of the 10 members of the o-line two deep, seven are juniors or seniors.

"It's a great group of kids," Turner said. "They know what they are doing. They are polished and stay hungry. Even though they're really good, it's awesome to work with a group who still desires to get better.  They're not satisfied with where they are."

The movement for the last four years has largely been driven by 2018 All-American Phillip McDowell and two-time All-SAC selection Jordan Seal

"They bring the attitude for the room," Turner said. "They are all about being as perfect as they can be in what they do.  They want to do their job and be as aggressive as they can with it.  It's that level of desire for perfection that you love to coach."

Seal proved efficient and effective at moving people around en route to All-SAC second team honors for a second straight season.  Seal tallied the second most knockdowns in a single-game in school history when he had eight against Mars Hill.  He graded out in seven of Carson-Newman's 11 games. 

Seal finished the year with 24 knockdowns and has 37 for his career.  He needs seven more knockdowns to move into second on Carson-Newman's career charts.  He had a five-knockdown performance against Wingate and a four-knockdown effort against Virginia-Lynchburg. He helped Carson-Newman to lead the South Atlantic Conference and the nation in rushing yards with 347.6 yards per game on the ground. 

McDowell rewrote Carson-Newman's knockdown record book in his junior year. McDowell took over the Eagles' all-time record in career knockdowns in week six against Limestone. McDowell bypassed Robby Ignagni (44) and now has 57 for his career. While that alone is impressive, McDowell did it in grand fashion by besting his own single-game record with a whopping 10 knockdowns. McDowell played 54 snaps against the Saints. He had a knockdown every 5.4 plays.

Carson-Newman was the only team in the league with three preseason All-SAC offensive linemen. Reese Fain was the final Eagle who represented the Eagles with preseason laurels. 

"Reese is an incredible kid with an incredible heart and a great story," Turner said. "He spent a year with us where he couldn't play.  He worked his tail off every day to get better and ends up starting for us last year. He's so focused."

Made the move from tight end to offensive lineman.  Fain appeared in nine games and started the final seven of the year.  He had nine knockdowns on the season.  Fain helped Carson-Newman lead the nation in rushing yards per game and helped power Antonio Wimbush to All-America and Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year honors. 

Dillon Wilson at right tackle and Cole Fritts at right guard round out the prospective starters. 

Freshmen Nick Root, Harrison Sheeler and Christian Jones are expected to contribute, while veterans Jake Marr, Tristan Hawn, Logan Townsend, Nick Britton and Tavon Murray give the Eagles five upperclassmen reserve players.  Of that group, Murray has started multiple games. 

Carson-Newman's position previews continue Sunday with a glimpse of the Eagles' special teams with assistance from Antonio Goss.