Evan Ezell – Maryville College's senior baseball catcher – earned a prestigious honor on Friday night, as the USA South Athletic Conference announced he would receive one of the league's Postgraduate Scholarships upon graduation.
Ezell, along with Averett University's Samm Chander, receive the inaugural presentations of the scholarships, as Ezell looks to graduate from Maryville College in May with honors.
"That's a pretty exciting moment, because it's kind of something that captivates what I've done here at college, which is be a student-athlete," Ezell said of the scholarship. "The award is not only for just my participation in the USA South Athletic Conference, but also for something that I've done in the classroom."
The announcement came at Friday night's Spring Festival Banquet in LaGrange, Ga. The accolade is a one-year, one-time, $1,500 per-year scholarship awarded annually to one female and one male student-athlete that participated at a USA South institution and met specific criteria academically.
The scholarship is renewable up to two years total, and selections were made by a panel of institutional Faculty Athletic Representatives alongside USA South Athletic Conference Office personnel.
Ezell – a four-year starter for the Scots' baseball squad – was a force behind the plate. However, even more impressive was this Canton, Ga. native's performance in the classroom.
The senior catcher boasts a 3.93 GPA, while majoring in Computer Science at Maryville College. Alongside that, Ezell has spent his summers working at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) – the nation's largest multi-program science and technology laboratory according the lab's website.
"I'm going back [to ORNL] this summer, and that has kind of helped me get into UT," Ezell said. "The program that I am going for is a collaboration between the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. That scholarship is going to help me out as far as tuition and other things for college. I'm really excited about that."
Upon graduation, Ezell plans to focus specifically on urban systems science applications and how to better understand large data sets using machine learning, computer vision and various other data mining techniques. He will be attending the University of Tennessee's Bredesen Center Data Science and Engineering PhD Program.
The Sequoyah High School (Ga.) product said his time at MC has aided him for his next step.
"Maryville College has really prepared me a lot," the catcher said. "Being at a liberal arts college, I've got to do a bunch of different coursework, and I've got experience in a lot of areas. That really prepares me for the UT program. That program is an interdisciplinary program. So, I'm not only doing the heavy technical work on the engineering side, but my focus is in urban systems. I'll have to know the geography side and how both of those combine together. Maryville College has helped me in that aspect, because here, we really focus on how everything connects together."
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior has also taken it upon himself to be involved within the campus life at Maryville. Ezell has been an active member of the Student-Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), served as President of the Association for Computing Machinery for two years and took a role as a Scots Science Scholar Peer Mentor for four years.
Within the community, Ezell has been an ambassador for the Scots, as he volunteered at the Girls and Boys Club of Blount County. He has hosted high school programming competitions and volunteered at several youth baseball events.
The senior has maintained his 3.93 GPA, while coupling his coursework and his time in the MC and Blount County communities with his stellar performance on the baseball squad.
Playing on historic Scotland Yard, Ezell has tallied a .324 batting average with 109 career hits. The right-handed hitter has eight doubles, a triple and a homer in his career, while he has recorded 46 runs scored and 44 RBI. He's also stolen a trio of bases while slugging at a .363 clip in 336 career at bats.
Ezell has 640 career putouts and 108 assists while fielding at a .978 mark behind the plate. He's thrown out 54 runners stealing in his career.
However, Ezell said it is the people he has met along the way that has set his time as a Scots' diamondman apart.
"Baseball, my four years, has been a great experience," Ezell said. "It's not just getting to play a sport in college, but it's ultimately the relationships that I've been able to build over the four years that have really meant a lot. I know I'll carry friends that have been my teammates throughout the rest of my life. That's been a good experience to have that group of guys that I know I will always have."
Ezell was tabbed to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic Southeast All-District Baseball Team in 2016, before earning USA South All-Tournament honors in the 2016 conference tournament.
He has been honored by the USA South in each of his four years at Maryville College as a USA South Academic All-Conference member.