FOREST, Va. – Guilford College swept both Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Offensive and Defensive Football Player of the Year Awards and had a school-record 15 all-conference selections according to a vote of the league’s head football coaches released Tuesday by the ODAC office.
Guilford junior quarterback Matt Pawlowski (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) received the J. Stokely Fulton ODAC Offensive Player of the Year Award and senior teammate Satiir Stevenson (Roselle, N.J./Abraham Clark) won the Lou Wacker ODAC Defensive Player of the Year prize. The announcement marks the second time in league history one school has captured both honors in the same season. Pawlowski joins Quakers’ offensive coordinator Chris Barnette ’07 as the two Guilford students to win the Fulton Award. Stevenson is Guilford’s first recipient of the Wacker prize.
Juniors JerMario Gooch (Raleigh, N.C./Knightdale), Tyler Hunt (Gibsonville, N.C./Eastern Guilford), Wes Johnson (Wilmington, N.C./Laney), Adam Smith (Mocksville, N.C./Davie County), and sophomore Hunter Hoots (Midway, N.C./North Davidson) were also First-Team All-ODAC honorees. Senior offensive lineman Phillip Collier (Lucama, N.C./James B. Hunt), junior running back Josh Schow (Herndon, Va./Herndon) and rookie all-purpose back De’Eric Bell (Jackson, Ga./Jackson) earned second-team laurels. Senior defensive lineman Tyler Eller, senior offensive lineman Drew Milot (Greensboro, N.C./Northern Guilford), junior linebacker Daytwan Rascoe (Pikesville, Md./McDonough), and freshman defensive lineman Gibson Ziah (Snellville, Ga./South Gwinnett) claimed third-team recognition. Guilford’s 15 all-league selections led the conference.
On Monday Pawlowski was named one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, presented annually to NCAA Division III football’s top student-athlete. He recently completed one of the finest football seasons in Guilford history and earned three ODAC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Pawlowski led the nation after the regular season with a school-record 38 touchdown passes. He completed a Guilford-record 67.8% of his throws, Division III’s 11th-best figure. The team captain connected on 250-of-369 passes for 3,476 yards with just three interceptions. Through games of Nov. 22, Pawlowski ranks second in Division III in passing yards and passing yards per game (347.6). He sits third in points responsible for (236) and total offensive yards per game (372.1), also a school standard. Pawlowski’s school-record pass efficiency rating (179.24) is sixth nationally and his 25 completions per game stands seventh.
Stevenson, a 5-11, 200-pound safety, became only the third Quaker tabbed to the American Football Coaches’ Association All-America Team last season. He will likely repeat the honor after compiling a career-high 92 tackles, four interceptions and five pass breakups in 2014. He ranked fourth in the ODAC in tackles and fifth in interceptions per game. The team captain becomes Guilford’s first defender tabbed to three First Team All-ODAC units and joins Junior Lord as the second Quaker so honored. Stevenson had five games with nine or more tackles this year, including a 22-stop, one-interception performance versus Washington and Lee University that clinched his third career ODAC Defensive Player of the Week honor, plus a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week. Stevenson averaged 5.8 yards on 11 punt returns for the Quakers this year and for his career, ranked fourth among Guilford’s best in punt return average (8.1) and interceptions (14).
Gooch led the ODAC and stands 19th nationally with a career-high six interceptions, seventh-best in school history. The 5-8, 165-pound cornerback also had 42 tackles (23 solo) and broke up a team-high seven passes, the ODAC’s fifth-best figure. He had two thefts in Quakers’ victories over Southern Virginia University and Randolph-Macon College. His season-high eight tackles contributed to a win over Washington and Lee. Gooch enters his senior season with 11 interceptions, the sixth-best total in school history.
After playing sparingly as a rookie, Hoots turned into a tackling machine as a sophomore. He gained a starting linebacker’s role and made 102 stops, the ODAC’s second-best total. His 10.2 tackles per game average is 49th nationally and his 6.3 solo stops per contest rank 37th. Hoots had 8.5 tackles for loss, including a team-high 4.5 sacks. He registered a career-high 14 tackles four times in a five-game stretch, including the Randolph-Macon victory in which he made 12 solo stops.
Hunt captured both first-team kicking positions after earning First Team All-ODAC punter and second-team kicker recognition in 2013. He was named a D3football.com preseason All-American and largely lived up to that billing, despite not punting enough times to qualify for the national and ODAC leaders. Due to Guilford’s prolific offense that led Division III in third-down conversion percentage, Hunt kicked just 28 times, but averaged 42.7 yards per kick, which would have led the ODAC and ranked third nationally. He had a long kick of 57 yards at Emory & Henry College and pinned five punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. His efforts helped Guilford to eighth place in the nation with a 35.96 net punting yard average.
Hunt led ODAC’s kickers with 73 points thanks to his school-record 52-for-52 effort on point-after attempts (PAT). He ranked third among the league’s scorers and connected on seven-of-11 field goals with a long of 43, which came in Guilford’s win over Emory & Henry. His 59.6-yard average and 24 touchbacks on 68 kickoffs played a key role in helping Guilford lead the ODAC in kickoff coverage. After three seasons and 108 PATs, Hunt stands one PAT shy of tying the school’s career record and is third on the Quakers’ all-time field-goal chart with 23.
Johnson anchored the Quakers’ offensive line from his left tackle spot where he started all 10 games. The 6-3, 275-pound junior was joined up front by the likes of Collier at right tackle and Milot at center, and the group provided time and space for one of the nation’s top offenses. Guilford has Division II’s third-highest passing offense and seventh-rated total offense through games of Nov. 22. In addition, the Quakers rank 18th in scoring offense thanks to a school-record and league-best 407 points this year. Guilford is second in the ODAC and 30th nationally in fewest tackles for loss allowed. Johnson and company also blocked for four 100-yard rushers this season.
Smith earned First Team honors for the second year in a row after a second-team selection in 2012. He ranks third in Division III with a league-best 15 receiving touchdowns , two shy of Guilford’s school standard. Smith made 52 catches for a team-high 1,072 yards and enjoyed five games of 100 or more receiving yards. He stands 18th nationally with 107.2 receiving yards per contest and is 32nd in scoring with 9.0 points per game. His 15 scores mark the third-highest total in school history and his career-best receiving yardage total is sixth-best at Guilford. Smith earned a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week following his six-catch, 204-yard, three-touchdown effort in the Quakers’ win over Catholic University of America. He also caught a personal-best three scores in a victory over Methodist University.
Coach Chris Rusiewicz’s Quakers matched the school record for overall and league wins in a season with an 8-2 record (5-2 ODAC). Guilford shared first place in the conference standings for the first time since 1997. Rusiewicz could return as many as 15 starters next fall.