Maryville College Offensive Line Coach Philip Bailey has to be excited about this upcoming season after a pair of his senior linemen, Dalton Stephens and Rance Hightower, were named preseason All-Americans by numerous publications.
Rance Hightower, a native of Adairsville, GA, returns for the 2014 season as one of the premier offensive linemen in the conference and arguably in the country, in regards to Division III linemen. He was named a preseason All-American by The Sporting News and Lindy's Sports garnering first team honors in each publication.
Following a strong junior campaign, Rance earned a first team USA South All-Conference selection, All-South Region honors as well as AFCA and D3football.com All-American accolades.
Last season, the Maryville Offensive Line dominated the line of scrimmage leading the USA South Athletic Conference in rushing yards for the second consecutive season. Their 288 rushing yards per game ranked 8th nationally in the NCAA Division III. They also helped contribute to an offense that averaged over 473 total yards per contest. The unit allowed only three sacks in 11 games, (0.27) per game, which ranked them first nationally. The Fighting Scots ranked fourth nationally in tackles for loss allowed while only allowing an average of four per contest.
The 2014 USA South Coaches Poll following back-to-back conference titles has selected Maryville College as the league's favorite. The Scots went 8-3 last season and 6-1 in league play earning the program's first NCAA post-season bid.