GREENSBORO, N.C. – Guilford College’s football team was picked seventh in the preseason Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Coaches’ Poll released Friday. Click here to see the ODAC’s 2012 Virtual Media Guide.
Defending league champion Hampden-Sydney College garnered four first-place votes and 46 points to take the top spot in the eight-team poll. The Tigers held a slim margin in the poll, just two points ahead of arch-rival Randolph-Macon College, which had three top nods and 44 points. Washington and Lee University received the remaining first-place vote and placed third in the poll, followed by Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Catholic University of America and Guilford, which shared seventh place with league newcomer Shenandoah University.
Second-year head coach Chris Rusiewicz returns 15 starters among 41 letter winners from last year’s 2-8 club. Sophomore defenders Robert Smith (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds) and Satiir Stevenson (Roselle, N.J./Abraham Clark) are two of the most decorated veterans after receiving Second Team All-ODAC recognition in 2011. Smith, a linebacker, ranked second on the team with 64 tackles, including a team-high 12.5 stops behind the line. Stevenson, a safety, made 51 tackles and shared the team lead with two interceptions.
Junior offensive lineman Faris El-Ali (Charlotte, N.C./Ardery Kell) was a Third Team All-ODAC selection in 2011 and will serve as a Quakers’ co-captain in 2012 along with classmates Alex Smith (Pinnacle, N.C./West Stokes), Kyle Ennis (Youngsville, N.C./Franklinton) and senior Daniel Biggerstaff (Belmont, N.C./South Point). Sophomore safety Hunter English (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) is another top returner after topping the team with 65 tackles and earning Third Team All-ODAC recognition.
Guilford opens its 106th football season Sept. 1 versus crosstown-rival Greensboro College in the 17th Annual Gate City Soup Bowl. Kickoff at Guilford’s Armfield Athletic Center is set for 7:00 p.m. Click here for information on Guilford’s football season-ticket plans.
2012 ODAC Football Preseason Coaches’ Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Hampden-Sydney (4) 46,
2. Randolph-Macon (3) 44
3. Washington and Lee (1) 37
4. Bridgewater 32
5. Emory & Henry 23
6. Catholic 20
T7. Guilford 6
T7. Shenandoah 6.
2012 Guilford College Football Schedule (1:00 pm kickoff unless otherwise noted)
9/1 GREENSBORO (7:00 pm)
9/8 METHODIST (7:00 pm)
9/15 at Averett
9/29 WASHINGTON AND LEE* (7:00 pm)
10/6 at Shenandoah
10/11 BRIDGEWATER* (7:30 pm)
10/20 at Randolph-Macon*
10/27 at Hampden-Sydney*
11/10 at Emory & Henry*