MOULTRIE – Brian Merritt has been named National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s 55-24 win over Southwest last week.
“It’s a blessing,” Merritt said, according to a story on the school’s athletic website. “I’m a freshman, so it’s big, but you have to keep playing ball.”
The former Packer, who is a freshman, had 11 total tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks against the Bears.
“Brian is a very disruptive defensive lineman,” said Mississippi Gulf Coast head coach Jack Wright. “He’s very difficult to block. Ever since we’ve had pads on in training camp, he’s been difficult to block. I knew going into games he would be problems for other offenses to deal with. I’m not surprised because we go against him every day.”
Gulf Coast moved to the top of the NJCAA rankings following the victory.
Merritt previously had been named the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Defensive Player of the Week and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Student-Athlete of the Week.
Merritt was a starter at defensive tackle on Colquitt County state runner-up teams in 2017 and 2018
Mississippi Gulf Coast, now 6-0, played Thursday at East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss.
• Tory Ponder had six catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns in Tusculum’s 28-21 Homecoming loss to Wingate last Saturday.
The sophomore wide receiver had scoring receptions of 15 and 38 yards for the Pioneers, who are now 1-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
The sports management major has 11 catches for 207 yards this season.
• Ty Lee, another former Colquitt County receiver, had three catches for 22 yards when Middle Tennessee State defeated Marshall 24-13 last week.
Lee has now caught at least one pass in 45 straight games, extending his school record. It is the longest streak in the country among active players. The all-time NCAA record is 54 games.
The Blue Raiders are now 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the conference and will play next Saturday at Florida Atlantic.
• Kiel Pollard, Colquitt County’s all-time leading receiver, was on the sideline for the Packers Homecoming victory over Alcovy last Friday.
Pollard, who is missing his senior year at South Carolina after suffering a career-ending neck injury during a preseason practice, said he will stay in Columbia to serve as a graduate assistant while continuing his studies.
• Nathan Lang had three solo tackles for Clark Atlanta in a 31-27 loss at Miles last week.
The Panthers are 0-5 overall and 0-1 in the conference as they prepare for Saturday’s game at Kentucky State.
• In Urbana University’s 24-16 loss to Frostburg State last week, Sihiem King carried one time for seven yards and returned a kickoff for 23 yards.
For the season, King has five carries for 42 yards, five kickoff returns for 91 yards and five punt returns for 25 yards.
Urbana, 3-2, will play its Homecoming game Saturday against Glenville State.
• Landon Scott started at safety for Lenoir-Rhyne in the 63-6 win over UVA-Wise last Saturday and was credited with four solo tackles, including one for a loss.
Ian Brinson continues to start at right tackle for the 5-0 Bears, who will play at Tusculum Saturday.
• Three former Packers got playing time for Tennessee in the loss to Georgia last week in Knoxville.
Shawn Shamburger started at corner and had four solo tackles, including one for a loss, and an assist. Jaquain Blakely had a solo tackle. JJ Peterson played, but was not credited with a tackle.
The Volunteers, 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the SEC, will be at home to play Mississippi State Saturday.
• Ty Phillips, Georgia Southern’s starting nose tackle, was credited with two assisted tackles in the 20-17 double-overtime victory over South Alabama.
The Eagles will play next Oct. 19 when they play host to Coastal Carolina.
• Other former Packers who participated in their teams’ games last weekend include Marvion McDonald, Shorter; Tirise Barge, Tulane; John Samuel Shenker, Auburn; Jay Ward, LSU; and Rashard Revels, UAB.