FOREST, Va. ---Hampden-Sydney College earned top billing in the ODAC Football Preseason Poll for the third straight season as the Tigers picked up seven first place votes on the way to 49 total poll points. Randolph-Macon College received the remaining top nod towards 42 points, while Guilford College secured 37 points to sit third in the annual coaches' survey.
In 2013, Hampden-Sydney corralled its eighth overall ODAC title and fourth in the last seven years, which also afforded H-SC the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Tigers hosted Maryville College (Tenn.) in the first round and knocked off the Scots, 42-34. That setup a matchup with then second-ranked Linfield College. H-SC made the cross-country trip to McMinnville, Ore., and quickly jumped on top of the Wildcats, 21-3, at the half. But 21 unanswered points in the second half from Linfield saw the Tigers eliminated from further tournament competition, 31-21.
Click HERE to view the 2014 ODAC Football Virtual Media Guide.
Fans will be treated to a lot of returning talent in 2014, with 38-of-77 All-ODAC award winners set to reprise their roles this season. One position that has some turnover is quarterback. All teams will undoubtedly have position battles throughout the preseason, including quarterback for at least three schools. Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College and Washington and Lee University will all feature new signal-callers following the graduation of last season's starters.
Hampden-Sydney (9-3 overall, 6-1 in the ODAC in 2013) and reigning ODAC Coach of the Year, Marty Favret, welcome back seven all-conference standouts from 2013, including five All-ODAC First Team selections. Quarterback Nash Nance (3504 yds, 27 TD passing; 545 yds, 17 TD rushing) and receiver Holton Walker (111 rec, 1723 yds, 16 TD) topped the ODAC passing and receiving charts in most categories, and the duo has already created buzz by receiving D3football.com Second Team Preseason All-America honors. All-ODAC Second Team tight end Joey Druhan (28 rec, 393 yds, 2 TD), along with returning receivers Joey Kernan (26 rec, 252 yds, 2 TD), Michael Mey (18 rec, 346 yds, 1 TD) and Fuller Clark (22 rec, 204, 1 TD), helped the Tigers rank #1 in passing offense (292.4 ypg) in the ODAC. A trio of first teamers headline the defense including lineman Scott Markland (38 tkl, 3.0 sacks, 7.5 tfl), linebacker Josh Doggett (107 tkl, 1.0 sack, 13.0 tfl), and defensive back John Moore(66 tkl, 1.5 sack, 6.0 tfl). Fellow secondary-mate Shreve Rohle (66 tkl, 3.0 tfl, 2 INT) earned second team accolades last season. The defense does have the chore of replacing 2013 Lou Wacker Defensive Player of the Year, Tyler Ikwild.
Randolph-Macon (7-3, 5-2) also has a stocked cupboard of returning award winners with six all-conference performers heading back to Ashland. Four are the defensive side of the ball, which may be leaned on early in the season as the Yellow Jackets' offense works to replace the contributions of 2013 J. Stokely Fulton Offensive Player of the Year, Will McGhee. First team end Tom Solak (52 tkl, 6.0 sacks, 10.5 tfl) leads a defensive unit that also enjoys the return of three second team selections in tackle Calvin Davis (45 tkl, 4.0 sacks, 7.5 tfl), linebacker Marcus Mitchell (61 tkl, 2.0 sacks, 6.5 tfl), and defensive back Eric Long (75 tkl, 3.5 tlf, 2 INT). Offensively, Zac Naccarato (1570 yds, 12 TD) returns under center after leading the ODAC in passing completion percentage (125-of-183, 68.3%). He's got first team tackle Nate Turner leading the offensive line, while All-ODAC Third Team h-back John Byrd (77 rush, 306 yds, 7 TD) is a productive option out of the backfield after scoring a touchdown once every 11 times he carried the ball in 2013.
Guilford (6-4, 5-2) will treat its fans to the most returning all-league honorees in the ODAC with eight awards among seven players heading back to the gridiron in Greensboro. First team wide receiver Adam Smith (41 rec, 780 yds, 8 TD) is one of five back on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Matt Pawlowski (2,373 yds, 24 TD, 61.7% comp pct), running back Josh Schow (224 rush, 1023 yds, 11 TD), lineman Wes Johnson, and kicker Tyler Hunt (51 pts, 33-of-33 PAT, 6-of-12 FG) all garnered second team recognition. Pawlowski threw just three interceptions in 308 pass attempts, which included a string of five games without a giveaway. Hunt (41 punts, 43.1 avg) also contributed defensively, earning first team all-league plaudits as the Quakers' punter. Defensive back Satiir Stevenson (81 tkl, 2.5 tfl, 4 INT) picked up first team honors in 2013, and he opens 2014 as a First Team Preseason All-American by D3football.com. He's joined by third team lineman Tyler Eller (34 tkl, 0.5 tfl), linebacker Daytwyn Rascoe (71 tkl, 4.5 tfl) and defensive backs Hunter English (46 tkl, 1 INT in five games played) and JerMario Gooch (46 tkl, 3 INT) to a unit that recorded 20 takeaways last year.
Washington and Lee University (5-5, 3-4) has laid siege to the rushing categories in the ODAC record book the past four years, churning out a combined 14,741 yards on the ground and commanding the top four positions in the conference's single-season rushing lists. More could be in store for 2014 with second team guard Micah Fleet and center Ryan McNally leading the way for a pair of returning starters in the backfield in Austin Eisenhofer (77 rush, 426 yds, 4 TD) and reigning ODAC Rookie of the Year, Marshall Hollerith (209 rush, 1021 yds, 13 TD). Hollerith was also an All-ODAC Second Team selection. Defensively, linebacker Jake Barr (49 tkl, 3.0 tfl) was a third team selection. He's joined by lineman Patrick Wright (31 tkl, 3.0 sacks, 4.0 tfl), linebacker Moody Heard (39 tkl, 7.5 tlf) and defensive back Brandon Taylor (53 tkl, 5.0 tfl, 2 INT).
Bridgewater College (4-6, 1-6) has six all-conference athletes back in 2014, split evenly between the offense and defense. Kicker Chandler DeHaven (28-of-29 PAT, 13-of-18 FG) earned first team honors, while lineman Sean Douglass and running back Jacob Wright (174 rush, 743 yds, 8 TD) received second and third team recognition, respectively. Defensive back Darrick Gore (42 tkl, 4.0 tfl, 1 INT) picked up first team laurels and leads a secondary that also features returning starters Daniel Brent (22 tkl), Sammy Coleman (27 tkl, 2 INT) and Lucas Elliott (24 tkl, 1 INT). Lineman Nicholas Cawthon (36 tkl, 2.5 tfl) garnered a spot on the second team, and linebacker Alex Collins (49 tkl, 5.0 tfl) was selected to the third team.
Second year head coach Scott Yoder enjoys the return of three All-ODAC players to Shenandoah University (4-6, 3-4), all on the defensive side of the ball. Lineman Jake Payne (62 tkl, 3.0 sacks, 5.5 tfl) was chosen to the second team, while fellow front-line defender Ian Griffin (51 tkl, 3.5 sacks, 10.0 tfl) and punter Jordan Umstead (30 punts, 35.5 avg) were tabbed to the third team. Cornerback Sean Blackman (56 tkl, 2.0 sacks, 5.5 tfl, 2 INT) and linebacker Michael Messick (84 tkl, 11.0 tfl) further bolster the defense. Offensively, quarterback Drew Ferguson (944 yds, 8 TD) is back under center. Receivers Brandon Adams (44 rec, 377 yds, 4 TD) and Qlyl Middelijn (36 rec, 369 yds, 2 TD) and tight end Miles Green (24 rec, 333 yds, 2 TD) are his top returning targets.
Catholic University (6-4, 3-4) features one all-league honoree among 11 starters back in the fold. Defensive back Mike Skehill (46 tkl, 3 FF, 2 FR, 2 INT) earned second team honors and leads a unit that includes R.J. Allison (61 tkl), Richard Roach (29 tkl) and Patrick Thomas (35 tkl, 3 INT) as starters in the secondary. Tackle Matt Barton (24 tkl) also returns. The Cardinals' quarterback tandem of E.J. Montgomery (1226 yds, 14 TD) and T.J. Tutone (851 yds, 10 TD) are dual threats from under center. Julian Padron and Mike Zolfo are back on the offensive line.
Emory & Henry College (5-5, 2-5) will be under new leadership in 2014 as Curt Newsome opens his tenure on the Wasps' sidelines. He's got five All-ODAC honorees slated to return to Emory. Offensively, lineman Isaac Bowman garnered second team laurels, while running back Joe Vaughn (147 rush, 617 yds, 2 TD) and receiver Lucas Kirby (43 rec, 534 yds, 8 D) were third team selections. Wideout Josh Smith (54 rec, 535 yds, 3 TD) is also back. Second team linebacker Paul Forney (98 tkl, 5.5 tfl, 3 FF, 3 INT) leads a corps that features fellow returning starters David Crouch (48 tkl), Sami Khabir (46 tkl, 2.0 tfl) and Rennel Marshall (45 tkl, 2.0 sacks, 3.5 tfl). Defensive back Ryan Byrd (37 tkl, 3 INT) received third team recognition.
The 2014 football season begins the weekend of September 5 with each of the ODAC's eight football schools in action against non-conference opponents. For more information, visit any of the participating schools' websites or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter.
2014 ODAC FOOTBALL PRESEASON POLL (#) Denotes first place votes