FOREST, Va. – Guilford College receiver Tyriek Russell (Durham, N.C./Southern Durham) won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s (ODAC) Football Rookie of the Year Award Tuesday. Russell is the fourth Quaker to win the award in its history, and the first to do so since Matt Pawlowski ’16 in 2012. A Second Team All-ODAC selection, he headlines a group of 10 Guilford student-athletes selected to an all-conference team according to a vote of the league’s head coaches.
Guilford put three players on the first-team unit: Hunter Hoots (Winston-Salem, N.C./North Davidson), Ty Shwallon (Richlands, N.C./Richlands), and Gibson Ziah (Snellville, Ga./South Gwinnett). Hunter Causey (Snow Camp, N.C./Jordan-Matthews), Julian Cuthbertson (Havelock, N.C./Havelock), Wes Johnson (Wilmington, N.C./Laney), and Russell were second-team selections. Quan Austin (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park), Karsten Miller (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson (NW Mississippi College)), and Karl Roberts (Charlotte, N.C./North Mecklenburg) made the third team.
Russell earned a Second Team All-ODAC nod and ODAC Rookie of the Year honors in his first season with the Quakers. The 5-7, 160-pound receiver led the ODAC with 79 receptions and ranked second in the league with 862 receiving yards and three touchdowns. His 86.2 yards per game also stood second in the conference. Russell led all receivers in ODAC play with 50 catches and recorded 568 yards, good for second overall in league-play. His 79 catches stand fifth in school history and rank 13th among NCAA Division III leaders through games of November 19. He recorded a season-best 15 catches for 126 yards against conference-foe Hampden-Sydney College, and tallied a season-high two touchdown catches in a 59-0 Guilford victory over Catholic University.
Hoots, a 6-0, 230-pound linebacker, collected First Team All-ODAC honors for the third consecutive year. The team captain joins Satiir Stevenson ’15 as Guilford’s only two defenders tabbed to three First Team All-ODAC units and is one of five Quakers overall to accomplish the feat. The senior recorded a team-high 89 tackles, a figure that ranked fifth in the conference. His team-best 8.9 stops per game also stand fifth in the ODAC. Hoots made a career-best 10 tackles for loss, which ranks 10th league-wide. His two forced fumbles stand tied for third in the league. He also tallied one sack and one fumble recovery for the year. The team captain’s best performance came against ODAC-rival Washington and Lee University, when he recorded 14 tackles, forced two fumbles and recovered one. He also made 14 stops against Bridgewater College, and recorded double-digit tackles in two additional contests.
Hoots leaves the program as the fifth-best tackler in school history with 274. In 31 career contests, he averaged 8.8 stops per game, totaled eight sacks, forced two fumbles, recovered four fumbles, and registered 22.5 tackles for loss. He ranks 38th among active players in NCAA Division III in career tackles through games of November 19.
Shwallon, a 6-1, 290-pound junior offensive lineman, earned his second consecutive First Team All-ODAC selection as Guilford’s starting right tackle. Johnson, a 6-2, 280-pound senior left tackle, earned All-ODAC honors for the third time in his career. The pair blocked for the ODAC’s most potent offensive attack as the Quakers tallied 4,764 total yards and a league-best 476.4 yards per game. They blocked for De’Eric Bell’s school-record 295-rushing yard performance against Methodist University and helped Guilford post the second-highest team rushing yardage total (2,109) in school history. Guilford also set records for rushing touchdowns in a season (27) and rushing yards in a game (416, vs. Methodist).
Johnson earned second-team honors as a sophomore in 2013, and first-team laurels as a junior. The team captain missed the 2015 campaign due to injury, but made a strong return to the gridiron in his final season of eligibility. He appeared in 40 career contests and helped pave the way for some of the top offenses in school history.
Ziah, a 6-2, 220-pound defensive end, earned All-ODAC honors for the third straight year after being named third-team in 2014 and earning first-team laurels a year ago. He led the Quakers and ranked second in the conference with 11 sacks, the most by a Quaker since 1991, and 18.5 tackles for loss. The junior ranks 18th nationally among Division III sacks leaders and 19th with 18.5 tackles for loss in through games of November 19. His three forced fumbles tied for the conference lead. He tallied a career-high 61 total stops for the year. He made a personal-best 11 tackles against ODAC-rival Washington and Lee and also reached double-digits with 10 stops at Methodist. Ziah opened the season with an eight-tackle, three-sack performance with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery against cross-town rival Greensboro College. He tallied a career-best four sacks against Hampden-Sydney College. He was named ODAC Defensive Player of the Week and Guilford’s Soup Bowl MVP for his efforts against Greensboro. Ziah also made two appearances on the D3football.com Team of the Week for his play versus Greensboro and Hampden-Sydney. He enters his senior season ranked third in Guilford history with 17.5 career sacks.
Causey, a 5-10, 195-pound running back, earned Second Team All-ODAC honors despite joining the starting lineup in week five after national rushing leader De’Eric Bell suffered a season-ending injury the prior week. Causey ranked second in the league in 1,047 rushing yards (4th-highest in school history) and 104.7 rushing yards per game. He carried the ball 177 times and averaged 5.9 yards per carry, good for fifth in the ODAC. He ran for a team-best nine touchdowns (5th-best in school history) and caught nine passes for 84 yards. One of his best outings was a 218-yard rushing performance with three touchdowns against Bridgewater, the sixth-highest single-game rushing total in Guilford history. Causey eclipsed the 100-yard mark on four occasions.
Cuthbertson earned Second Team All-ODAC honors in his first season as a starting safety. The 5-9, 155-pound junior recorded 75 tackles, second on the team and 12th league-wide. He led Guilford and ranked fourth in the conference with three interceptions. Cuthbertson tallied two sacks, five tackles for loss, a fumble recovery, a block, and four broke up four passes for the season. The junior recorded a career-best 16 tackles against league-rival Washington and Lee, and recorded 10 stops in two additional contests. Each of his three interceptions came in ODAC play, including a 24-yard pick-six for a touchdown against Bridgewater.
Austin, a 6-0, 305-pound defensive lineman, earned Third Team All-ODAC recognition in his final season. The senior started in each of Guilford’s 10 contests and tallied seven tackles, while serving as a strong stop-gap in middle of the line of scrimmage. Austin contributed to a defense that allowed 335.8 yards per game, good for second-best in the league, and the loop’s best passing defense. Guilford allowed 157.5 yards per contest through the air and ranked second in rushing defense (178.3 ypg.). In four seasons with the program, Austin appeared in 29 games and recorded 22 tackles. He tallied two sacks, three tackles for loss, and one fumble recovery in his time as a Quaker.
Miller made a strong impact on the Guilford offense in his first season with the program en route to a Third Team All-ODAC selection. The 6-3, 240-pound junior quarterback threw for 2,248 yards, third in the league, and tossed 16 touchdown passes. Miller ranked third in the ODAC in yards, yards per game, and touchdowns. His 61.6 completion percentage stood second in the league and sixth in school history. He also recorded 77 rushing yards on the ground with seven scores. One of Miller’s best performances was a 13-of-16 outing for 181 yards with five touchdown passes in Guilford’s 59-0 victory over Catholic University. He tallied a season-high 389 yards against conference-rival Bridgewater, one of three tilts of at least 290 passing yards.
Roberts, a 5-10, 180-pound defensive back, earned third-team All-ODAC honors after collecting second-team recognition in 2015. The safety recorded 58 tackles, tied for a career-high, with one sack, one interception, and three fumble recoveries for the season. His team-leading three recoveries stand tied for the conference lead. His best performance was a 12-tackle performance with a sack, and two tackles for loss against Bridgewater College. Roberts appeared in 40 games over his four-year career and tallied 192 tackles (119 solo). He recorded eight tackles for loss, recovered six fumbles, and made two interceptions.
Coach Chris Rusiewicz’s Quakers posted a 4-6 overall record (1-6 ODAC). Guilford won its first four games of the season and extended its winning streak to a school-record 10 games, one of nine standards set during the 2016 campaign. The Quakers are slated to return as many as 76 letter winners and 15 starters in 2017, including Russell, Shwallon, Ziah, Causey, Cuthbertson, and Miller.