Maryville College's Ethan Williams has been named as a preseason All-American from D3football.com this week, becoming only the 5th Fighting Scot since 2000 to earn such an honor.
The rising junior safety from Knoxville, Tenn. joins MC alums Colby Townsend (2005, 2006), Dustin Locke (2007), and Dalton Stephens (2014) who have earned this preseason distinction.
Williams – a 6-foot-2, 180-pound defensive back – recorded six interceptions during his sophomore year, helping the Scots earn only their third conference title in school history.
Williams led Maryville to an 8-2 record, as they finished as Co-Champions within the USA South Athletic Conference – MC's third in the past five seasons within the league.
That eight-win season stands as an MC record, as it is the first time in the Scots' 121-year history that the team has compiled back-to-back eight-or-more win seasons. The Scots have only won 16 games across a two-year span once in school history, just after World War II.
Maryville went 9-1 in 1946, before going 7-1-1 in 1947 for the 16-win total the 2016 squad matched.
Williams tallied 264 return yards in 2016 behind his six interceptions. He returned a total of three of those picks for touchdowns.
In fact, this Fulton High School product is one of only seven athletes across all divisions – FBS Division I, FCS Division I, Division II and Division III – to return three interceptions to the house.
Williams had touchdown returns of 91, 78 and 70 yards to fuel his 2016 First-Team All-USA South and D3football.com All-South Region-worthy season.
At the conclusion of his sophomore campaign, Williams had 32 tackles, including four tackles for loss. He added 12 pass-break ups on the season for the Scots' talented secondary.
"This distinction is truly an honor and a blessing," stated Williams. "God just continues to bless me tremendously, but I realize that this is only the beginning of a special season and I still have a great amount of work to do. I have the best teammates and coaches that anyone could ask for and I'm ready to go to war with them. I look forward to proving each practice and game that I am worthy of such an honor."
"Ethan can do so much for our football team," stated third-year head coach Shaun Hayes. "From the corner position, he has shown the ability to cover field and boundary sides with an unbelievable catching skill set. His length and ability to break on the ball ensure that if any opponent makes a mistake he can take it back all the way. He can change a game on special teams by returning kicks and punts with his athleticism. With eleven defensive starters returning for the 2017 campaign, we look forward to the upcoming challenges each week."
Maryville begins practice on August 11th in preparation for their season opener on September 2nd. The Scots will host Berry College on Honaker field with a 1:00 p.m. scheduled kick-off.
NOTE: Ethan Williams was also named to the College Football America Yearbook's NCAA Division III Starting Lineup. The College Football America 2017 Yearbook features more than 930 college football teams from the United States and Canada over the course of more than 300 striking, full-color pages. That includes every team from the NCAA (FBS, FCS, Division II and Division III), NAIA, NJCAA, CCCAA and U Sports (Canada). It also includes updates on club football, one-year postgraduate prep/sports academies and Mexican college football, along with dozens of action shots and stadium photos.