Maryville College's Nelson Smith picked up his first collegiate award on Monday, as the Scots' freshman quarterback was named the USA South Offensive Rookie of the Week.
Smith led Maryville to its first win of the 2018 campaign on Saturday, as the first-year signal caller amassed 171 total yards.
"I'm happy for him," Head Coach Shaun Hayes said. "He's a highly, highly competitive kid. I didn't realize that early on, and I've been able to develop a relationship with this boy that is one that I cherish. The other night, he walks in here with a basketball at 9:30, 10 o'clock at night and says, 'Hey, Coach. Do you want to go play HORSE?' So, we're able to relate in a different way, which is extremely when you communicate on the field. The way he is wired, he wants the challenge, and he wants people to doubt. He wants the ball in his hands. For him being able to get that off his back – he's ran two in – and he's thrown for one now. The crazy thing is, the ball wasn't even supposed to go there. That is a throw we never make. It's usually a dead route, but players make plays. He's seeing it well, and I'm very, very excited for him and what he's accomplished up to this point."
Smith went 12-of-17 through the air for 159 yards and his first collegiate passing touchdown. The Goodlettsville, Tenn. native also added a score across the ground, as he had 12 yards on eight carries.
He also had a punt for 41 yards on the afternoon, as he led the Scots to a 29-3 win over Brevard College.
Smith led an offensive attack that amassed 454 total yards, as the Scots held the Tornados to just 107 total yards on the day.
This 6-foot-1, 190-pound quarterback broke a 3-3 tie at the 12:01 mark of the second quarter, as he led MC on a four-play, 54-yard drive. Smith found Juwan Hill for a 62-yard pass in the drive, before he found a gap to cross the final 6 yards on the ground.
That gave Maryville a 10-3 lead, and they would not look back.
"We were third-and-25, and we freeze," Hayes said. "They jump offside, and we get a free play. He threw the ball in a spot to whether our guy is going to catch it or it is going to be incomplete, but he threw it at the right time. He threw him open – to where he was going to be. That allowed Juwan to go. Then, when we got down there, he's not done a great job on the play that he scored on. He's not reading it real well, but he executed all the different details before the play to give him a chance to read it. He finished inside."
The Beech High School product also scored through the air on the Scots' final scoring drive. Smith led MC on a 14-play, 75-yard drive that used up 5:42, as the freshman went 3-for-5 and 31 yards through the air. He added 9 yards across the ground, before tossing an 8-yard score to Jordan Ligon for a 29-3 Maryville victory.
On the season, this first-year quarterback has a 62.7 percent completion percentage. He's gone 37-of-59 through the air for 344 yards and a touchdown.
Smith has 38 yards on 23 carries in his short career, as he's scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground. In all, Smith has had a hand in three of MC's four touchdowns this season.
"You can tell that his syle and his leadership style is starting to breed into our team," Hayes continued. "That drive is a game-changing drive [in the second quarter]…he can make things like that happen. That's what makes him special. Don't ever blink. He rolled out third down and got another one for us to pick up a first down. That makes me a heck of a better coach."
He's also punted five times for 193 yards, as the standout leads Maryville with a 38.6 yards per punt average, including a 54-yarder.
Smith will lead Maryville into a key USA South matchup this weekend. The Scots play host to Huntingdon College on Saturday, Oct. 6. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.