This NAIA is taking a spin at Player of the Week podcasts! This week Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Sports Information and Media Services, met-up with NAIA footballers at the top of their game. James McClain (Cumberland University, Tenn.) tabbed NAIA Special Teams Player of the Week, Eric Sheppard (Marian University, Ind.) named NAIA Defensive Player of the Week and E.J. White (University of St. Francis, Ill.) nabbed NAIA Offensive Player of the Week spent some time to talk football, individual and team success and the future in their race for postseason play.
Check out their take on the game and the NAIA.
We look forward to bringing other student-athletes and sports into the mix. Post a comment below and let us know what you think!
McClain, a 5-8, 162 pound sophomore running back from Nashville, Tenn., was the difference-maker in the 21-17 win at No. 22 Shorter (Ga.) on Oct. 8. He returned the second-half opening kickoff 92 yards for a score to put Cumberland up for good at 14-10. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown by a Bulldog since Nov. 7, 2009. McClain also rushed eight times for 45 yards and caught three passes for 21 yards in the contest. He is ranked fourth in the NAIA in kickoff return yards per game (31.9) and leads the Bulldogs with 744 all-purpose yards in five games played. McClain earned the NAIA Special Teams Player of the Week honor back on Oct. 28, 2008.
Sheppard, a 5-11, 180 pound senior cornerback from Coral Springs, Fla., notched two second-half interceptions in the 42-7 victory over Taylor (Ind.), who was receiving votes in the Top 25. Sheppard made key plays when the Knights held a 21-7 score as he helped stave off any Taylor comeback. Sheppard nearly had a third pick after he broke up two passes and he also notched four tackles on the day. Sheppard was part of a Knights defense that has not allowed a point in the first half in seven-consecutive games. He has registered four interceptions on the year, which ranks fifth in the NAIA.
White, a 6-1, 175 pound sophomore quarterback from St. Cloud, Fla., engineered a 27-0 comeback victory over No. 4 William Penn (Iowa). With his team trailing in the second quarter, White led his team on a 36-8 scoring run en route to a 36-35 triumph. He matched his own Fighting Saints single-game record with four touchdown tosses to go along with a career-high 304 total yards on 23-of-33 passing. He also rushed 14 times for 39 yards. The four-touchdown game was his third such effort in the last five outings. In addition to the four touchdown passes, he connected with Desmond Page for the two-point conversion with 13 seconds left that gave the Saints the win.