Matt Pawlowski Named ODAC's Top Rookie; Quakers Earn 10 All-ODAC Picks
FOREST, Va. – Guilford College freshman quarterback Matt Pawlowski was named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference's (ODAC) Rookie of the Year according to a vote of the league's head football coaches. Sophomore teammates Robert Smith and Satiir Stevenson captured First Team All- ODAC recognition.
Teammates Hunter English, Joseph Pearson and Adam Smith each received second-team commendation. Guilford's Faris El-Ali, Tyler Eller, Tyler Hunt, Alex Smith and Mike Williams were Third Team All-ODAC honorees.
Guilford's 10 all-conference selections mark the program's highest total since 1994.
Washington and Lee University senior running back/kicker Luke Heinsohn was named the league's J. Stokely Fulton Offensive Player of the Year. Generals' first-year boss Scott Abell won the league's Coach of the Year Award and Bridgewater College senior Joel Francis garnered Lou Wacker Defensive Player of the Year honors. Emory & Henry junior quarterback Kyle Boden won the ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Football Scholar-Athlete prize.
Pawlowski, a 6-2, 190-pound quarterback, is the Quakers' third ODAC Rookie of the Year and their first since Daniel Biggerstaff '13 in 2009. Pawlowski ranked third in the conference with 2,443 passing yards, the fifth-best total in school history, and third with 267 total offensive yards per game, which ranks 50th in NCAA Division III through games of Nov. 17. He completed 202-of-345 passes with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His 129.7 pass efficiency rating ranked fourth in the league and his .590 completion percentage stands third in school history. Pawlowski won a league-best three ODAC Offensive Player of the Week Awards and had two 300-yard passing games. He threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns to rally visiting Guilford past league-rival Randolph-Macon College, 38-35, Oct. 20. Pawlowski was also the Quakers' second-leading rusher (227 yards) and scored six touchdowns on the ground, matching the eighth-best total in school history. He picked up a game- and career-high 136 rushing yards and a touchdown in the Quakers' Nov. 3 ODAC win over the Catholic University of America.
Robert Smith, a 6-2, 230-pound linebacker, led Guilford with 108 tackles (50 solo) and ranked fourth in the ODAC with 10.8 tackles per game. He sits 26thamong NCAA Division III tackles-per-game leaders through games of Nov. 17. With a league-best 14 tackles for loss, Smith ranks 60th in the country with 1.4 stops behind the line of scrimmage per game. He shared the league lead with 6.5 sacks and also contributed an interception and fumble recovery. Smith made 10 or more tackles in each of Guilford's first six games and had seven games of 10 or more stops. His career-high 19-tackle effort versus Methodist University Sept. 8 marked the second-highest total in the ODAC this season and included two sacks and five tackles for loss. The 19 tackles represent the most by a Guilford defender since 1999. Smith had 14 tackles, including a sack, in the Quakers' Oct. 11 league win over Bridgewater College, which earned him the ODAC's Defensive Player of the Week Award. A Second Team All-ODAC pick in 2011, Smith enters his junior season with 172 career tackles, including 26.5 stops for loss.
Stevenson, a 5-11, 195-pound safety, started all 10 games for the Quakers and was third on the club with a career-high 79 tackles (47 solo), which stood 11th in the ODAC. He had a league-best four interceptions, ranked fifth in the ODAC with nine passes defended, broke up five passes and recovered a fumble this year. Stevenson also played on Guilford's special teams and averaged 14.4 yards on five punt returns and 16.5 yards on 11 kickoff returns. Stevenson earned his second career ODAC Defensive Player of the Week Award after his two-interception, seven-tackle performance in the Quakers' ODAC win over Catholic. He led the Quakers' tacklers twice this year, once with a career-high 15 stops against league champion Washington and Lee University Sept. 29 and again with 13 tackles at league-rival Hampden-Sydney College Oct. 27. A Second Team All-ODAC pick in 2011, Stevenson enters his junior season with 130 tackles and six interceptions in his career.
English, a 5-7, 170-pound sophomore safety, ranked second on the team with 82 tackles and 10th in the ODAC with 8.2 stops per game. He made 33 solo tackles and ranked 18th in the league with seven tackles for loss. English also broke up two passes and recorded his second career interception. He twice led Guilford's tacklers and had four games with 10 or more tackles. English made a career-high 13 stops versus Washington and Lee Sept. 29 and had 11 tackles in road contests with Hampden-Sydney and Emory & Henry College. He made 10 tackles, an interception and a key tackle on fourth down in the final seconds of Guilford's first road win over Randolph-Macon since 2006. A 2011 Third-Team All-ODAC selection, English enters his junior season with 147 career tackles, 19 for loss, in 20 games.
Pearson, a 6-0, 260-pound senior offensive lineman, played in all 10 games with nine starts for the Quakers. He started for an offense that ranked third among ODAC passing leaders with an average of 261.1 yards per game. The Quakers averaged 23.9 points and 376.1 total offensive yards per game. Pearson blocked for Williams, who ranked seventh among the league's rushing leaders with 717 rushing yards and had three 100-yard rushing games. Guilford had three contests with at least 400 total offensive yards, including a 565-yard effort in the Quakers' road win over league-rival Randolph-Macon, the fourth-most prolific offensive game in school history.
Pearson, who also served as a Quakers' long snapper this season, concludes his two-year Guilford career with 18 career appearances and 17 starting assignments. He plans to graduate with a degree in exercise and sport sciences.
The lone freshman on either of this year's First- or Second-Team All-ODAC squads, Adam Smith is a 5-11, 165-pound receiver who came to camp in August as a quarterback. When Pawlowski won the starter's job, Smith moved to receiver and ended up having one of the best campaigns by a rookie pass-catcher in school history. He led Guilford and ranked second in the conference with 65 receptions for 874 yards and five touchdowns. His 874 yards sit 12th on the Quakers' single-season list and his 65 catches rank 13th. Through games of Nov. 17, he ranks 45th among Division III leaders with 6.5 catches per game and 49th with 87.4 receiving yards per outing. Smith finished seventh in the ODAC with 92.8 all-purpose yards per game. He had four games with over 100 receiving yards, including a league-best 190-yard showing (on 10 catches) versus Randolph-Macon, which earned him a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week. Smith caught a season-high two touchdowns in the game, including the game-winning score with 2:02 left in regulation. He hauled in league-high 13 passes for 134 yards and a score Sept. 8 versus Methodist University, his second college contest. The 13 receptions stand 10th in school history. Smith had nine grabs for 170 yards in the Quakers' season finale at Emory & Henry.
El-Ali, a 6-4, 300-pound junior, earned his second straight Third Team All-ODAC commendation. The team captain started all 10 games and played most of the time at center, but also saw action at other line positions and on special teams. Along with Pearson, he helped the Quakers add nearly 40 points and 400 yards to their offensive totals of 2011.
Eller, a 6-3, 225-pound defensive lineman, ranked fourth on the team in tackles and tops among linemen with 40 stops (19 solo). He was second on the Quakers to Robert Smith with five sacks, which stood fifth in the ODAC. The nine-game starter had five games with five or more tackles, including a pair of six-stop performances. He had a career-high two sacks among his six tackles at Shenandoah University Oct. 4 and also made six stops the following game versus Bridgewater.
Hunt, a 6-1, 180-pound placekicker, led the ODAC with 10 field goals and a .769 field-goal percentage. He made 10-of-13 field goals and 23-of-26 point-after attempts for a team-leading 53 points. Hunt stood 10th in the league and second among kickers with 5.3 points per game. His 10 field goals rank third in school history and his 1.00 field-goal per game average stands 22nd among NCAA Division III leaders through games of Nov. 11. He matched the school record with three field goals in Guilford's Nov. 3 win over Catholic and booted a career-best 41-yarder in the game. He earned a spot on D3football.com's Team of the Week for his performance. Hunt converted each of his final six field-goal attempts on the year and nine of his last 10 tries. His first college field goal was a 35-yard kick in the fourth quarter at Averett that broke a 35-35 tie in the Quakers' victory. Hunt also handled kickoffs and served as the Quakers' punter. He ranked second in the ODAC with a 37.1-yard punting average.
Alex Smith, a 5-11, 165-pound safety, recorded 29 tackles and an interception in seven games. He made 3.5 tackles behind the line for a loss of 14 yards. Smith missed three games due to a hand injury, but still managed six tilts with at least four tackles. He made a season-high six tackles, including one for a loss, in the Quakers' Nov. 3 win over Catholic. He contributed five tackles in Guilford's contests with Greensboro and Hampden-Sydney. Smith, a two-year starter, enters his senior season with 66 tackles in 21 games, including 10 tackles behind the line. He also had three career interceptions.
Williams, a 5-10, 175-pound senior, saved his best season for last. He picked up a team- and career-high 717 rushing yards in 10 games, including nine starts. He ranked seventh in the ODAC with 71.7 rushing yards per game and scored three touchdowns. Williams had three games of 100 or more rushing yards, including a season-best 151-yard effort at Averett. He averaged 11.6 yards per carry in the game, thanks largely to a 79-yard jaunt, which was the Quakers' longest run from scrimmage since 2000. Williams had 103 of his 120 rushing yards in Guilford's win at Randolph-Macon by halftime. He also ran for 120 yards and a touchdown in the Quakers' victory over Catholic. Williams made 12 receptions for 98 yards and ranked 10th in the ODAC with 81.5 all-purpose yards per game.
Williams concludes his 33-game career with 1,609 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 295 carries. He averaged 5.5 yards per tote in his career and also caught 48 passes for 434 yards and two touchdowns. Williams also led Guilford in rushing as a freshman and had four career 100-yard rushing games, including a personal-best 181-yard effort versus Southern Virginia University in 2009. He was named to Guilford's Spring 2012 Student-Athlete Honor Roll and plans to graduate with a degree in business management.
Second-year head coach Chris Rusiewicz's Quakers posted a 5-5 overall record (4-3 ODAC), which marked a three-win improvement over 2011 and was the program's best record since 2007. Guilford expects as many as 68 letter winners back in 2012, including 21 starters.