FOREST, Va. – Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football coaches tabbed Guilford College fifth in their annual preseason poll released Friday. The Quakers share the fifth spot with Emory & Henry College in the eight-team ranking. Hampden-Sydney College narrowly grabbed the poll’s top position over arch-rival Randolph-Macon College. Third-place Bridgewater College and defending league champion Washington and Lee University were also within four points of the number-one spot.
Coach Chris Rusiewicz’s Quakers return 16 starters among 56 letter winners from last year’s 5-5 club that shared third place in the league with a 4-3 record. Guilford welcomes back a league-best eight all-conference performers and the loop’s top rookie in 2012, sophomore quarterback Matt Pawlowski (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford). Pawlowski passed for 2,443 yards and 15 touchdowns as a 10-game starter a year ago. He completed just below 60 percent of his passes, threw just eight interceptions and rushed for a team-high six scores. Pawlowski returns his leading receiver from last season, classmate Adam Smith (Mocksville, N.C./Davie County), who ranked among the ODAC’s best with 65 catches for 874 yards and five touchdowns. He was a Second Team All-ODAC honoree. Senior Faris El-Ali (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell), Guilford’s top offensive lineman, earned third-team all-conference recognition for the second straight season in 2012.
Guilford’s defense returns five all-league performers, including first-team picks Robert Smith (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds) and Satiir Stevenson (Roselle, N.J./Abraham Clark). Smith, a linebacker, is the ODAC’s top returning tackler after making 108 stops as a sophomore, including 14 for loss and 6.5 sacks. Stevenson hauled down 79 ball carriers and picked off a club-high four interceptions as a sophomore safety. He is also one of Guilford’s top kick returners. The trio of junior lineman Tyler Eller (Stuart, Va./J.F. Webb (N.C.)) , junior defensive back Hunter English (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) and senior defensive back Alex Smith (Pinnacle, N.C./West Stokes) garnered Third Team All-ODAC honors in 2012, as did sophomore kicker Tyler Hunt (Gibsonville, N.C./Eastern Guilford).
Rusiewicz starts his third season on Guilford’s sidelines when the Quakers report for camp Aug. 14. The team’s first contest is Sept. 7 when Guilford visits crosstown-rival Greensboro College at 1:00 p.m. in the 17th annual Gate City Soup Bowl.
2013 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Football Coaches’ Preseason Poll
Team (first-place votes) Points 2012 Records 1. Hampden-Sydney (3) 42 pts. 6-4, 4-3 ODAC 2. Randolph-Macon (3) 40 pts. 7-2, 5-2 ODAC 3. Bridgewater (1) 39 pts. 7-3, 4-3 ODAC 4. Washington and Lee (1) 38 pts. 8-3, 6-1 ODAC T5. Guilford 22 pts. 5-5, 4-3 ODAC T5. Emory & Henry 22 pts. 6-4, 3-4 ODAC 7. Shenandoah 12 pts. 1-9, 0-7 ODAC 8. Catholic 9 pts. 3-7, 2-5 ODAC