By Steve Williams

Tyler Thackerson already has turned a page on the new chapter in his life. The record-setting Clinton High quarterback has begun preparation for his first year at Carson-Newman University.

“Since I reported to Carson-Newman in early June, my main focus has been completing two summer classes, working out every day and to also gain as much weight as possible before training camp comes in the fall,” he said via e-mail recently.

Thackerson, who was named Clinton’s male Student-Athlete of the Year for 2015-16, comes to Carson-Newman with quite a reputation as a passer. Not only does he hold every passing record at Clinton, he also put his name in the TSSAA record book in many categories.

In his senior season last fall, Thackerson completed 275 of 426 passes for 3,358 yards, giving him fourth most completions in a single season in state history, the fifth most attempts and the ninth most yards. His 3,929 total yards ranks sixth best.

The Region 3-5A Quarterback of the Year and All-Stater also tossed eight touchdown passes against Heritage last year, the fourth most ever in a single game.

You’ll also find his name listed several times in the state career rankings.

But now it’s time to start over, and it doesn’t sound like Thackerson is wasting anytime. He continues to learn things about his new head coach too, the legendary Ken Sparks, the winningest coach (334-92-2) in NCAA Division II history.

“My first impression of Coach Sparks was very different from any other coach I have met in the past,” said Tyler. “The main thing he talked to me about when I went on my visit to Carson-Newman was my Christian faith, and I really loved that!

“Coach Sparks always seems to surprise me, and what I’ve learned in the past couple of weeks about him is that he is one of the strongest men I have ever met. No matter what is going on through his day, he always comes to the players with such a positive attitude!”

At Clinton High, Thackerson also was all-district in basketball and senior captain in both sports. Academically, he graduated with honors, finishing with a 3.5 grade point average.

Tyler also was faithfully active in Young Life and nominated Mr. CHS.

When he wasn’t playing in his own sports, you could usually find him on the sidelines of Clinton Middle School games and other youth sports contests in town.

Jefferson City, where Carson-Newman is located, is a small town like Clinton and about the same distance to Knoxville.

“Being close to home is a big thing to me, and Carson-Newman being really close to home made my decision to go there so much easier,” said Thackerson.

“I am majoring in Exercise Science,” he added. “I plan to become either a physical therapist or an athletic trainer for a football team.”

That will be another new chapter.


Roddy will continue athletic career in basketball

Lindsey Roddy was a talented basketball player and track and field athlete at William Blount but has chosen to continue her athletic career on the hardwood at Lee University in Cleveland.

The Student-Athlete of the Year, finished her prep career as a member of the 1,000-point club. She led the Lady Governors in scoring and assists and was named the District 4-AAA Player of the Year.

The versatile Roddy also took fifth place in the Class AAA state pentathlon this past spring.