8 Andrew Thacker
Furman: Ranks as Furman's most experienced player in terms of starts (34)...will anchor a secondary that returns three starters and help headline a Paladin defensive unit that welcomes back eight regulars from a year ago...career includes action at both free safety and strong safety...ran the third fastest 40-yard sprint 4.31 seconds) in spring testing on the Furman track... has played a key role in Furman posting a 29-10 record and earning three straight playoff appearances over the past three seasons. 2006 -- Made the switch from free safety to strong safety and earned starts in all 12 games, helping key Furman to an 8-4 record, playoff berth, and No. 12 ranking in the Sports Network final national poll...tallied 51 tackles, three pass deflections, and two interceptions...sealed Furman's 28-22 overtime win over Chattanooga with an interception in then end zone in the extra frame...had a season high seven tackles versus Montana State in playoff action...had a 48-yard interception return to set up a third quarter touchdown against Wofford (35-21 win)...selected to the GTE The Magazine Academic All-District III Team for the second consecutive year...named to the SoCon Academic Honor Roll. 2005 -- Logged starts at free safety in 13 games, missing only the Gardner-Webb contest (48-31 win) due to illness...registered 66 tackles in helping the Paladins go 11-3, advance to the NCAA I-AA playoff semifinals, and finish the campaign ranked No. 3 nationally...tallied a season high 14 tackles and a forced fumble in a 27-24 loss at Georgia Southern...had eight tackles versus The Citadel (39-31 3OT win)... selected to the GTE The Magazine Academic All-District III Team for the second consecutive year... named to SoCon Academic Honor Roll. 2004 -- Voted SoCon Freshman-of-the-Year by the league media after totaling 70 tackles, including three tackles-for-loss, a sack, and three pass deflections...became only the third Paladin to capture the league award: Stanford Jennings (1981) and Brian Bratton (2001)...played a pivotal role in Furman going 10-3, winning the SoCon title, and recording a No. 5 ranking in the final poll...helped the Paladins lead the SoCon in scoring defense (16.6 ppg)...began the season in a backup role, but stepped up with nine tackles and a tackle-for-loss following an ankle injury sustained by starting strong safety Shelton Riley in the first series of the Pittsburgh game (41-38 OT loss)...received his first start against Western Carolina (31-10 win), totaling five tackles...recorded his first career interception against The Citadel (33-14 win)...member of 4x100 meter relay (42.02) team that finished third at the 2005 SoCon Track & Field Championship...named to the SoCon Academic Honor Roll. 2003 -- Member of scout team...awarded redshirt and extra year of eligibility...named to the SoCon Academic Honor Roll. High School: 2003 graduate of Gainesville High School...three-year starter who played free safety and wide receiver...compiled 257 tackles, nine interceptions, 941 receiving yards, 507 yards rushing, and 20 touchdowns in his career, helping Gainesville to a four year record of 43-9 record...fashioned a brilliant senior campaign, tallying 125 tackles and six interceptions, four of which he returned for touchdowns...also returned a fumble for a score...caught 35 passes for 634 yards and eight touchdowns...caught nine passes for 124 yards and recorded 11 tackles and three pass deflections in state 3A semifinal game versus Screven County...named team most valuable player, all-area, and all-state after helping Gainesville to a 13-1 record and No. 3 final ranking in 2002...academic all-state...football coach was step-father, Bruce Miller...also played basketball and competed in track & field...two-time region 400 meter champion. Personal: Full name is Andrew Jay Thacker...son of Mickey Thacker...step-parents are Bruce and Donna Miller...born May 31, 1985, in Cartersville, Georgia...carries a 3.30 grade point average...political science major.