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Players of the Week - No. 6

October 10, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The sixth installment of the 2011 NAIA National Football Players of the Week was announced on Monday by the national office. James McClain of Cumberland (Tenn.) was named NAIA Special Teams Player of the Week, Eric Sheppard of Marian (Ind.) was tabbed NAIA Defensive Player of the Week and E.J. White of St. Francis (Ill.) was selected as NAIA Offensive Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 3 – 9. These winners were chosen out of a pool of player of the week performers among 10 conferences and Independents.

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.

Offensive Nominees: Carlos Ross, Langston (Okla.); Austin Dodge, Southern Oregon; Austin Dodge, Southern Oregon; Kyle Nikkel, Morningside (Iowa); LeTheo Proctor, Valley City State (N.D.); Jake Morse, Baker (Kan.); Justin Gaines, Belhaven (Miss.); Mike Keese,  Saint Mary (Kan.); Antion Campbell, Saint Francis (Ind.); Robert Adan, Menlo (Calif.); Torrance Moise, Webber International (Fla.).

Defensive Nominees:
Cayetano Hingle, Langston (Okla.); Heston Altenbach, Southern Oregon; Heston Altenbach, Southern Oregon; Fred Griggs, St. Francis (Ill.); Larry West, Pikeville (Ky.); Kyle Little, Concordia (Neb.); Brandon Smith, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.); Zach Van Deusen, Ottawa (Kan.); Tony Ramirez, Menlo (Calif.); Hunter Ovens, Webber International (Fla.).

Special Teams Nominees:
Tyson Buresh, Hastings (Neb.); David DeHarde, Langston (Okla.); Michael Murphy, Marian (Ind.); Drew O'cain, Evangel (Mo.); Clarence Anderson, Ottawa (Kan.); Adam Riley, Webber International (Fla.).

2011 Football Players of the Week (Offense; Defense; Special Teams)
Week 1: Brandon Smith, Northwestern (Iowa); Reece Green, Marian (Ind.); Marcus Bratton, UVa-Wise (Va.)
Week 2: Chris Ware, Eastern Oregon; Vincent Aguilar, Trinity International (Ill.); Levi Cockle, Peru State (Neb.)
Week 3: Josh Hollingsworth, Faulkner (Ala.); Ross Bauman, Saint Francis (Ind.); Terry Stecker, Kansas Wesleyan
Week 4: Trevor Hoskins, Pikeville (Ky.); Demitri Travis, Pikeville (Ky.); Alex Fambrough, Bethany (Kan.)
Week 5: Jimmy Coy, Saint Xavier (Ill.); Nate Collier, Graceland (Iowa); Tom Lynch, Saint Xavier (Ill.)
Week 6: E.J. White, St. Francis (Ill.); Eric Sheppard, Marian (Ind.); James McClain, Cumberland (Tenn.)