Early's scoop-and-score earns TSWA Defensive Player of the Week honors

Early's scoop-and-score earns TSWA Defensive Player of the Week honors

Maryville College's Jordan Early earned Tennessee Sports Writers Association Defensive Player of the Week honors following his scoop-and-score against Hanover College.

The 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back kept the Scots in the game on Saturday, after a slow first half. Early – a senior – recorded his first collegiate touchdown with the return against Hanover.

Hindered by penalties and sacks, Maryville College could only amass 43 total yards of offense in the non-conference game's first half.

As the Scots trailed 14-0, MC's Eddie Burton brought Garren Messmore down for a 3-yard loss, forcing the ball loose. Early scooped the ball, running untouched for 37 yards to pay dirt for Maryville's first score. At the time of Early's heroics, the Scots had totaled just 15 yards of offense with 6:58 remaining in the second quarter – 10 passing and 5 rushing.

The Orange and Garnet would ride Early's momentum boost, scoring on an 80-yard pass play to open the second half, as Adam Diggs connected with Michael Smith. Maryville would go on to take the victory, 24-20.

Early recorded a total of five tackles in the game to go along with his fumble recovery touchdown run.

This season, the senior defensive back has recorded 12 tackles with a pass breakup in a pair of games for the Scots.

In his four-year career, this Marietta, Ga. native has played in 16 games, including all 10 from the 2016 season. Early's recorded 58 career tackles to go with 1.5 tackles for a loss of 8 yards. He has forced a fumble, had an interception and recorded five pass breakups.

Early will look to lead the Scots on Saturday, as they travel to Emory & Henry College. Maryville will face the Wasps – fresh off a 535-yard performance in a 48-13 win over Brevard College – at 1 p.m. for the non-conference matchup.