MINNEAPOLIS – Guilford College's JerMario Gooch and Satiir Stevenson headlined Guilford College's school-record six selections to the 2014 D3football.com All-South Region Teams, announced Monday. Gooch and Stevenson were both first-team honorees. Junior teammates Matt Pawlowski and Adam Smith landed second-team laurels and Guilford's Hunter Hoots and Tyler Hunt were third-team selections.
The Quakers' six selections nearly matched the total of seven Guilford students recognized by D3football.com since the website started the all-region teams in 2005. They were among 79 students selected this year from a pool of 252 students nominated by Division III member schools. The all-region teams were chosen by D3football.com staff and South Region sports information directors.
Gooch was a First Team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) pick after leading the league with a career-high six interceptions, seventh-best in school history. His 0.6 picks per game average stands 19th in Division III through games of Dec. 6. The 5-8, 165-pound junior cornerback also had 42 tackles (23 solo) and broke up a team-high seven passes, the ODAC's fifth-best figure. Gooch averaged an ODAC-high 1.3 passes defended per game, which ranks 56th nationally. He had two thefts in Quakers' victories over Southern Virginia University and Randolph-Macon College. His season-high eight tackles contributed to a win over Washington and Lee University. Gooch enters his senior season with 11 interceptions, the sixth-best total in school history.
Stevenson, a 5-11, 200-pound safety, was a First Team All-South selection and Third-Team All-American according to D3football.com in 2013. He also became only the third Quaker tabbed to the American Football Coaches' Association (AFCA) All-America squad last year. The senior captain will likely repeat the honor after compiling a career-high 92 tackles, four interceptions and five pass breakups in 2014, which helped him become Guilford's first recipient of the Lou Wacker ODAC Defensive Player of the Year Award. He ranked fourth in the league in tackles and fifth in interceptions per game. Stevenson is Guilford's first defender tabbed to three First Team All-ODAC units and joins Junior Lord as the second Quaker so honored. He had five games with nine or more tackles this year, including a 22-stop, one-interception performance versus Washington and Lee that clinched his third career ODAC Defensive Player of the Week honor, plus a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week. Stevenson was also a regular on special teams and averaged 5.8 yards on 11 punt returns. For his career, he ranked fourth among Guilford's best in punt return average (8.1) and interceptions (14).
Pawlowski is one of 10 semifinalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, presented annually to Division III football's top student-athlete, and earned First Team All-ODAC recognition. The 6-2, 190-pound quarterback enjoyed one of the finest seasons in Guilford history and earned three ODAC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Pawlowski led the nation after the regular season with a school-record 38 touchdown passes. He completed a Guilford-best 67.8% of his throws, which is Division III's eighth-best completion percentage. The team captain connected on 250-of-369 passes for 3,476 yards with just three interceptions. Through games of Dec. 6, Pawlowski ranks second in Division III in passing yards per game (347.6). He sits third in points responsible for per game (23.6) and total offensive yards per game (372.1), also a school standard. His school-record pass efficiency rating (179.24) is fourth nationally and his 25 completions per game stand seventh.
A 5-11, 165-pound receiver, Smith earned First Team All-ODAC honors for the second straight season after a second-team selection in 2012. He ranks fifth in Division III with a league-best 15 receiving touchdowns, two shy of Guilford's school standard. Smith made 52 catches for a team-high 1,072 yards and enjoyed five games of 100 or more receiving yards. He stands 18th nationally with 107.2 receiving yards per contest and is 29th in scoring with 9.0 points per game. His 15 scores mark the third-highest total in school history and his career-best receiving yardage total is sixth-best at Guilford. Smith earned a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week following his six-catch, 204-yard, three-touchdown effort in the Quakers' win over Catholic University of America. He also caught a personal-best three scores in a victory over Methodist University.
After playing sparingly last year as a rookie, Hoots turned into a tackling machine in 2014 and earned first-team all-conference laurels. He gained a starting linebacker's role in the preseason and made 102 stops, the ODAC's second-best total. His 10.1 tackles per game average is 50th nationally and his 6.3 solo stops per contest rank 38th. Hoots had 8.5 tackles for loss, including a team-high 4.5 sacks. He registered a career-high 14 tackles four times in a five-game stretch this year, including the Randolph-Macon victory in which he made 12 solo stops.
Hunt repeated his selection as the third-team punter on the D3Football.com All-South squad. The junior captured both First Team All-ODAC kicking positions this fall and was named a D3football.com preseason All-American. He largely lived up to that billing, despite not punting enough times to qualify for the national and ODAC leaders. Due to Guilford's prolific offense that leads Division III in third-down conversion percentage, Hunt kicked just 28 times, but averaged 42.7 yards per kick, which would have led the ODAC and ranked third nationally. He had a long kick of 57 yards at Emory & Henry College and pinned five punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. His efforts helped Guilford to ninth place in the nation with a 35.96 net punting yard average.
Coach Chris Rusiewicz's Quakers matched the school record for overall and league wins in a season with an 8-2 record (5-2 ODAC). Guilford shared first place in the conference standings for the first time since 1997. Rusiewicz could return as many as 15 starters next fall, including five of the all-region honorees.