Nash Nance crisscrossed the Eastern Seabord in search of a new football program the past few months, and the former Calhoun High School and University of Tennessee quarterback called his choice "a perfect fit."
Nance is transferring to Hampden-Sydney College in Farmville, Va., an academically rich Division III program known for prolific passing offenses in football. The journey from one-time Vanderbilt commitment to joining best friend Da'Rick Rogers in Knoxville to this point, he said, has taught many lessons.
"I don't regret a thing," he said. "I liked everything about Tennessee, but I just wanted to play football and get a good education at the same time. UT has the best fans in the country and great people on staff, and my experience in two years there has been invaluable. It's been a long journey and I visited so many schools and even had some other Division I offers, but I didn't want to sit out anymore."
Hampden-Sydney competes in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and won nine games in 2011 under 11-year head coach Marty Favret. The team has scored 40-plus points and averaged more than 500 yards per game the past two seasons in winning 18 games.
"They throw it 40 to 50 times a game and run a very high-tempo offense, which is perfect for me," said Nance, who will major in economics and hopes to play on the golf team. "It's a quarterback's dream, and when I visited I knew it was the perfect fit."
Nance has been working out several days a week with former UT quarterback Eric Ainge in Knoxville. Ainge believes his pupil will excel in his new surroundings.
"The biggest thing you notice about Nash is what a great kid he is," Ainge said. "He's big and strong with a great arm, but he's so smart as well. They're going to love him at Hampden-Sydney because he's going to work harder than anyone there.
"Right now he just needs to play. When kids get redshirted they sometimes don't get to play for three or four years. He needs to get his confidence back, and once he does, I expect big things out of him."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...