JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – A Carson-Newman backfield got a little bit more crowded after a senior tailback’s performance in an Orange and Blue scrimmage Wednesday.
Solomon Duanah (Johnson City, Tenn.) burst across the goal line and onto the blue turf of Burke-Tarr stadium’s end zones three times – once through the air and twice on the ground – as the leading offensive performer in the scrimmage.
Duanah said his offensive line was the key to his success.
“They really got it open for me,” Duanah said. “The first play, I couldn’t believe how wide the hole was, I pretty much just walked into the end zone… I might have to get (my offensive lineman) Krispy Kreme in the morning.”
Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks touted Duanah as a player to watch.
“He hadn’t seen the picture, and then all at once the light game on,” Sparks said. “This is his year.”
Duanah will still have to fight for playing time. Preseason All-SAC first teamer Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.) and 2011 preseason All-SAC second teamer Brandon Baker (Miami, Fla.) are both listed on the opening depth chart ahead of Duanah. However, Duanah said that extra level of competition makes every Eagle better.
“Since we’ve all been here, we’ve built a great relationship to help each other out,” Duanah said. “Whoever is down, we bring them up. We’re just trying to bring the Eagles back on top.”
Duanah played in six games last year, picking up 62 yards on the ground for the season. Duanah, Baker, Douglas and Randall Freeman (Ooltewah, Tenn.) will work to replace Nate Inman, the Eagles eighth all-time leading rusher and the ninth Eagle tailback to eclipse 3,000 yards in a career.
In spite of Inman’s production, Douglas led C-N in scoring in 2011, finding the end zone 14 times - 12 on the ground, once through the air and once on a kickoff return.