published Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Polk County's Zach Miller headed to Carson-Newman

  • photo
    Polk County running back Zach Miller holds a bible as he poses for a portrait in the locker room of the high school in Benton, Tenn. Miller is the area's current leader in rushing yards, and the senior also recently became a minister at 17.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
    enlarge photo

It's a match made in heaven. Or at least on a Baptist college campus.

Polk County two-time all-state running back and linebacker Zach Miller will sign today with Carson-Newman University. Miller, who already is a part-time preacher, will major in pastoral studies and was being recruited also by East Tennessee State and Division III member Maryville College.

"As I was thinking about where I would sign, my mind went back to something a coach at Carson-Newman said while I was on a visit there," Miller said. "The coach told me that if I was just worried about being good in football then Carson-Newman might not be the right fit, but if I wanted to become a better Christian and get to play on a winning football program, then that's what I would get.

"That was the only place recruiting me that talked about faith, and that was really important to me."

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Miller likely will play linebacker or defensive end for the Eagles, a longtime NCAA Division II power.

He led the area with more than 300 rushing attempts last season, finishing with more than 1,800 yards and 23 touchdowns.

"They got themselves a really good, hard-nosed player," Polk County coach Derrick Davis said. "But more than that, they got a real good kid coming to their program. It's well-known what type of kid Zach is and how hard he plays, so I think this is just a real good fit all around."

Contact Stephen Hargis at or 423-757-6293.

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...

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