Bridgewater College sophomore defensive lineman Tucker Harris was named to the Old Dominion Athletic College First Team on Nov. 22.
The former Halifax County standout earned one of the Eagles’ five spots on the First Team with the others going to senior punter Garrett Graves, senior linebacker Shawn Harris, redshirt junior defensive back Aaron Moore and sophomore kicker Jackson Hendren.
Tucker Harris put together a confident sophomore season at defensive tackle. In his 11 starts as interior defensive lineman, Harris finished with 36 tackles, including 22 solo and six tackles for a loss equaling 28 yards and 3.5 sacks. He also added a fumble recovery, an interception and blocked kick attempt to his resume. In addition, he also recorded seven quarterback hurries this season.
His breakout game came in the Eagles’ season finale against Apprentice School where he recorded six tackles. Harris finished with five takedowns against Averett with one coming on a sack and recorded five against Washington & Lee with one accounting for a loss.
Altogether, Bridgewater — who finished 9-2 and 6-1 to earn second in the ODAC — placed nine players on both teams.
Freshman linebacker Aaron Nice completed a stellar first-year campaign with second team defensive honors and sophomore offensive lineman Glory Nseka picked up second-team accolades on offense. Senior wide receiver Viante Tucker and junior defensive back Val West picked up third team at-large, all-conference honors.
A preseason D3football.com First-Team All-American, Graves repeats as the top punter in the ODAC with an average punt of 42.9 yards, good enough for first in the ODAC and sixth in all of D-III. He completed 60 kicks of 50-plus yards this year, including a 70-yard kick that flipped the field against N.C. Wesleyan earlier this season.
Hendren earned his second consecutive All-ODAC honors and first on the First Team. He went 9 of 12 on field goal attempts this season, including a longest of 47 yards that also served as the longest in the conference. Hendren also completed 40 of 43 field goal attempts on the season, good enough for second in the ODAC.
Shawn Harris ranked fifth in the ODAC in tackles. Harris finished second on the team in tackles with 63, including 48 solo, and finished second on the Eagles’ roster with nine tackles for a loss. He also finished tied for the team lead with nine breakup passes while also recording an interception, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
In a 23-17 win against Shenandoah, Harris posted Madden-like numbers with 16 tackles (10 solo) with 4.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception that he returned 28 yards and nearly took back for a touchdown. For his efforts in the game, Harris claimed ODAC Defensive Player of the Week and DC Touchdown Club College Player of the Week honors.
Ranking fifth in the ODAC in tackles, Moore garners his first postseason honors with a selection to the conference’s first team. The native of Roanoke, Virginia, set new career highs in all defensive categories during his first season as a full-time starter. Moore led the team with 78 tackles that includes an ODAC-best 60 solo stops, and registered 6.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks, three interceptions, nine pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. Moore returned two of his three interceptions back for touchdowns and was a large reason the Bridgewater defense ranked so high in turnover margin and takeaways throughout the season.
Moore was twice named to the D3football.com Team of the Week and earned top defensive weekly honors from the ODAC once, as well.
As one of two freshmen to claim a spot on the top two teams, linebacker Nice finished a stellar freshman campaign as the ODAC sack leader. Hailing from nearby Stuarts Draft, Virginia, Nice finished with 59 tackles (34 solo), including 12.0 TFLs and 10.0 sacks. He is the second player to tally at least 10.0 sacks in the program’s recorded history and the first since Ryan Bailey who did it twice (11.5, 2000; 11.0 2002).
In the team’s regular season finale against Guilford, Nice set an ODAC record with 6.5 sacks, which is the most in a game in Division III this season and third-most in a game in the Division’s history. The total also helped Nice break the team’s single-game TFL record with 6.5, which was previously 4.5 tackles for loss. All 12.0 TFL and all 10.0 sacks came against ODAC opponents.
After appearing in nine games as a rookie offensive lineman last season, Nseka claims second-team all-conference honors after stepping into the starting left tackle position. He was a key part in the line that saw the Eagles score 44 touchdowns on the season and boast the second-highest scoring average in the league (33.8 points per game).
Nseka also anchored the O-Line that saw the second-best red zone efficiency in the ODAC. Nseka allowed just 0.5 sacks through the course of the season and was not penalized in his 648 total snaps. Through 280 rushing plays, Nseka only allowed 1.0 tackle for loss and in 236 pass plays, he allowed just three hits on the quarterback all year.
After leading the team in receiving yards, senior Tucker earns an at-large selection on the All-ODAC Third Team. Also a Roanoke, Virginia native, Tucker finished the 2022 season with 29 catches for 432 yards and four touchdowns. All of those led the Eagles’ receivers and all but one of his four touchdowns came on plays of 20+ yards. Tucker stepped away from kick return duties this season before returning to where he started his collegiate career in a big way. He returned four kicks for 182 yards in the last few games of the year, including one that went 90 yards for a touchdown in a 64-22 win against Guilford to close the regular season. He also chased out a 41-yard return in the Neptune Bowl to give the Eagles great starting position.
Tucker along with the rest of the special teams unit showcased Bridgewater as the best kick return team in all of Division III for the season.
Returning to the third team for a second straight year is junior Val West who finished fourth on the team with 52 tackles (41 solo). West registered 6.5 TFLs and 1.5 sacks to go along with a pass break up, two forced fumbles and one recovery.
The Richmond native stepped into a leadership role with the defense as a junior and helped the Eagles have one of the most prolific defensive seasons in team history. He appeared in 10 games with him recording at least five tackles in six of those contests, including eight (6 solo) in the Eagles› season-opening win at Gettysburg.
Junior quarterback Drew Campanale of Randolph-Macon was named J. Stokeley Fulton Offensive Player of the Year, while senior linebacker David Onyejekwe of Washington and Lee was tabbed as the Lou Wacker Defensive Player of the Year. Mason Cunningham of Hampden-Sydney, who was the only other first-year player to earn a spot on the top two All-ODAC teams outside of Nice, claimed ODAC Rookie of the Year laurels, while Pedro Arruza of Randolph-Macon recorded another ODAC Coach of the Year honor.
Rounding out the postseason accolades was senior defensive lineman Robert Poindexter of Washington and Lee who was voted as the ODAC/Va. Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete, which is selected by the league SIDs.