GREENSBORO, N.C. – Guilford College’s De’Eric Bell (Jackson, Ga./Jackson), Tyler Hunt (Gibsonville, N.C./Eastern Guilford), Matt Pawlowski (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) and Adam Smith (Mocksville, N.C./Davie County) each earned Third Team All-America recognition from D3football.com. The website announced its 2015 All-Americans Dec. 18 prior to its webcast of the NCAA Division III football title game. Selections were made by website staff based on those students named to D3football.com’s first- and second-team all-region squads. The D3football.com and American Football Coaches Association teams are the only two Division III All-America football units recognized by the NCAA.
The announcement marks the first time Guilford has had four football All-Americans in a single season. The Quakers have had 11 students honored in the 17-year history of D3football.com’s All-America program, including at least one in each of the past three seasons. Guilford was one of only six schools with at least four students picked to either the first-, second- or third-team units.
Bell was a Second Team All-South honoree this fall as a return specialist after setting school and ODAC records for single-season all-purpose yardage. His 2,235 yards ranked second in Division III. The 5-6, 205-pound sophomore was a First Team All-ODAC all-purpose back and set the Guilford standard with 736 kickoff return yards. His league-leading 30.7-yard kickoff return average ranked fourth nationally. Bell returned a Division III-best four kicks for touchdowns (2 kickoffs, 2 punts) and stood second in the country with 995 combined kick return yards. He also served as Guilford’s top running back, collecting a career-high 943 rushing yards, third-most in the ODAC, and nine touchdowns.
Bell earned ODAC Offensive Player of the Week and D3football.com/Scoutware Team of the Week recognition following his 254 all-purpose yard, two-touchdown effort in a road win over Bridgewater College. He returned the opening kickoff a school-record 100 yards for a touchdown and also ran 21 times for 104 yards and a score. Bell earned Team of the Week honors the prior week after compiling a Guilford-record 326 all-purpose yards in the Quakers’ win over Shenandoah University. He ran for a career-high 153 yards and returned a kickoff 93 yards for a score.
Hunt, a 6-2, 205-pound punter, became Guilford’s first three-time all-region performer with his Second Team All-South honor earlier this month. He was selected as the First Team All-ODAC punter for the third straight season, his school-record sixth all-conference selection, which includes three all-league honors as a place-kicker. The 6-2, 205-pound senior led Division III with a 42.9-yard punting average, second-best in ODAC and school history, and became just the fourth two-time Division III punting champion and the first since 2006. Hunt totaled 1,543 yards on 36 punts and placed 13 kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard-line. He had a long punt of 65 yards, one of his eight kicks of at least 50 yards and one of 25 that travelled at least 40 yards. Guilford’s punt coverage team, combined with Hunt’s powerful leg, helped the Quakers lead Division III with a 39.22-yard net punting average.
In four seasons, Hunt averaged a school- and league-record 41.4 yards per punt in 141 attempts. His average stands 13th in Division III history. He set ODAC and school standards with a Division III-best 43.1-yard average in 2013 and booted a school-record 81-yard punt in 2014.
Pawlowski was one of four finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, presented annually to Division III football’s student-athlete. He earned Guilford’s first D3football.com South Region Offensive Player of the Year Award this year after leading the Quakers to a record-setting, nine-win season. The 6-2, 205-pound senior quarterback completed a school-record 39 touchdown passes, which ranked fourth in Division III and is the second-highest total in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) history. He connected on 227-of-350 passes (64.9%) for 3,333 yards with just two interceptions. Pawlowski stood sixth in Division III in passing yards, fifth in passing yards per game (333.3), and sixth in total offense per game (344.1).
A two-time D3football.com all-region pick, Pawlowski won his second straight J. Stokely Fulton ODAC Offensive Football Player of the Year Award last month, becoming the first offensive player to win the league’s top honor in successive seasons. His best performance came in a school- and league-record 611-yard, seven-touchdown passing effort October 31 at Catholic University of America, earning his second of three player-of-the-week awards in 2015, plus D3football.com/Scoutware Team of the Week honors. His 648 total offensive yards and 611 yards in the game both stand second nationally among all NCAA quarterbacks in 2015.
Pawlowski finished second to former Division III passing yardage leader Josh Vogelbach ‘09 in most of Guilford’s career passing categories. The four-year starter completed 872-of-1,369 passes for a school-record 63.7 completion percentage, 11,625 yards and 116 scores with 16 interceptions. In his final two years, Pawlowski threw for 6,809 yards with 74 touchdowns and only five interceptions. The Quakers won 17 of 20 games in that stretch. Pawlowski finished his career ranked ninth in Division III history with 116 career touchdown throws. He stood 11th among the national career leaders in total offense (12,456) and passing yards (11,625), and 16th in total offensive yards per game (311.4) and completions.
Smith garnered First Team All-South laurels after collecting his third straight First Team All-ODAC award this fall. The 5-10, 175-pound wideout set numerous league and school records in the finest of his four seasons. He ranked second in the league with 89 receptions for 1,262 yards and 18 touchdowns, both conference highs. His 18 touchdown catches set a Guilford standard, rank second in ODAC history and fourth in Division III this year. Smith posted the second-highest receiving yards total in Guilford history with a figure that stood ninth nationally. He ranked sixth in Division III in receiving yards (126.2) and receptions (8.9) per game. The team captain placed 17th nationally with a league-best 11.0 points per game average.
A 2014 Second Team All-South pick, Smith captured two ODAC Offensive Player of the Week Awards this year and garnered his fourth career spot on the D3football.com/Scoutware Team of the Week. He landed both honors after catching 10 passes for a school-record 253 yards (fifth in league history) and a career-best three touchdowns in the Quakers’ win over Shenandoah. Smith was also named ODAC Offensive Player of the Week after making 11 grabs for 195 yards and three scores in Guilford’s Homecoming triumph over Averett University.
Smith leaves with Guilford’s career records for receiving yards (3,988) and touchdowns (46), overall touchdowns (46), games with at least 100 receiving yards (19) and scoring (280). He ranks 14th among NCAA Division III’s career leaders in touchdowns and 22nd in receiving yards.
Coach Chris Rusiewicz’s Quakers (9-1, 6-1 ODAC) set at least 30 Guilford records in the best football season in school history. The team’s nine wins and six league victories both set school standards. Rusiewicz could return as many as 17 starters in 2016, including Bell.