MINNEAPOLIS – Guilford College’s De’Eric Bell (Jackson, Ga./Jackson) and Vic Smith, Jr. (Lakeland, Fla./Atlanta Sports Academy) represented Guilford College on the 2017 D3football.com All-South Region Teams, announced Monday night. Bell, a return specialist, and Smith, a safety, were both first-team honorees.
South region sports information directors and D3football.com staff selected the 75 all-region honorees from a pool of 240 students nominated by Division III members. All-region selections are eligible for selection to D3football.com’s All-America teams, which will be announced during D3football.com’s pregame coverage of Stagg Bowl XLV. The 2017 D3football.com All-Region teams are presented by the City of Salem, hosts of Stagg Bowl XLV, to be played on Friday, December 15, in Salem, Virginia.
Bell, a 5-7, 195-pound redshirt junior, earned Second Team All-South honors in 2015 and was a First Team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) all-purpose back this fall. He set league and school standards for all-purpose yardage in a game (424, vs. Methodist) and career (6,237), kick-return touchdowns in a season (3) and punt returns in a game (11, vs. Methodist). Bell leads NCAA Division III in kick-return touchdowns (3), combined kick-return yardage (1,043), and all-purpose yards (221.10 yards per game). His 424 all-purpose yards against Methodist University September 9 set the school record and are the most by a Division III football student-athlete this year. His 11 punt returns in the game set the Division III record and helped him earn a spot on the Week 2 D3football.com/Scoutware Team of the Week.
A team captain, Bell returned to action this season after tearing his ACL four games into the 2016 campaign. He played in all 10 of the Quakers’ games this season, starting eight, and led the team in rushing for the third time in four years. Bell stands second in the nation through games of December 2 with a league-leading 30.8 yards per kick return, second in Quakers’ history. He also ranks fourth nationally with 831 total kick return yards, also a school-standard.
Smith, a 6-0, 175-pound senior, led Guilford and ranked second in the league and 11th in the South with 98 tackles this season, his first as a starter. He stands 53rd among NCAA Division III tackles per game leaders and 57th in solo stops per outing (5.5) through games of December 2. Smith returned his lone interception of the season 43 yards for a touchdown in Guilford’s win over Shenandoah University. He added 11 tackles during the contest and won the ODAC’s Defensive Player of the Week Award. Smith had 10 or more tackles in four of his 10 games (all starts), plus two nine-tackle efforts. He led Guilford’s tacklers in four games. Smith concludes his career with 110 tackles (62 solo) in 26 contests and is slated to graduate with a criminal justice degree.
Coach Chris Rusiewicz’s Quakers posted a 5-5 overall record (3-3 ODAC). The Quakers set or tied 19 school records this fall. Guilford won three of its last four games on the season and finished with a .500 record for the fourth time in five years. The Quakers are slated to return as many as 78 letter winners and 11 starters in 2018, including Bell.