Tigers picked fifth in ODAC poll

Published 3:23 pm Thursday, August 24, 2023

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The votes are in and Hampden-Sydney’s been picked to finish fifth. The Tigers Football team received 29 points in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference football preseason poll, after a year where they finished 5-5 overall and 4-3 in conference play. 

Randolph-Macon came in first with 49 points, ahead of Bridgewater (39), Washington and Lee (37), Shenandoah (31), Hampden-Sydney (29), Averett (15), along with Ferrum (12) and Guilford (12). R-MC received seven first-place votes, while BC got the other first-place vote.

The Tigers return 83 lettermen, including 18 starters-nine on defense and nine on offense-led by senior safety Will Pickren who returns for his fourth-year as a starter and leader of the defense. Last season, Will was a First Team AP Division III All-American, a Second Team AFCA Division III Coaches’ All-American, D3football.com First Team All-Region 3 and First Team All-ODAC (for the third time). 

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He started all 10 games and had team-high 123 total tackles, including 48 solo and 75 assisted, 5.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions, three pass breakups, one forced fumble, one quarterback hurry and one blocked PAT kick-leading the ODAC in total tackles and tackles per game, and tied for sixth in interceptions-ranking third in NCAA Division III in total tackles and tackles per game. Will begins the campaign with 267 career tackles and needs just 78 to equal and 79 to surpass and become the school’s all-time leader in tackles.

Senior running back Melik Frost returns to lead the offense. Melik was a Third Team D3football.com All-Region 3 and First Team All-ODAC selection after starting all 10 games as a junior and rushing for 943 yards on 201 carries with team-high 12 rushing touchdowns. He added 26 receptions for 236 yards and one receiving touchdown. Frost led the ODAC in rushing yards and rushing yards per game (94.3), and ranked second in all-purpose yards (1,179), all-purpose yards per game (117.9), rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns (13). Melik rushed for a career-high 211 yards on 21 attempts and a career-high four touchdowns, adding a career-high 59 yards receiving on three receptions and one receiving touchdown against Greensboro last fall-the 211 yards rushing is the sixth-best single-game effort all-time.

H-SC will play six of 10 regular season contests at home-beginning with Wabash (IN) in The Gentlemen’s Classic on Saturday, September 2, at 1 p.m. on Fulton Field at Lewis C. Everett Stadium.