MIDLAND, MICH. – The Northwood University football team placed 11 players on the All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) team, the league announced Tuesday (November 14).
Three seniors were named First Team All-GLIAC: kick returner Vashon Nutt, safety Nick Tripp and defensive end Charles Williams. Fellow seniors Jeremy Marshall (center) and Scott McCormick (punter) claimed Second Team All-GLIAC honors. Six players were placed on the Honorable Mention team: senior running back Andre Carter, senior defensive tackle Cameron Englund, sophomore quarterback Joe Garbarino, sophomore right guard Chris Jacobs, junior safety Chad Samuels and sophomore linebacker Travis Wiltjer.
Nutt was the top kick returner in the GLIAC and was a key part of a Northwood kick return unit that currently leads Division II in yards per return (30.1). Nutt averaged 32.0 yards per return, good for third nationally and tops in the GLIAC. He also added 340 yards rushing for the Timberwolves.
Tripp has turned into one of the top safeties in the GLIAC over the past few seasons. This year, he ranked third on the team with 59 tackles. He also added 4.5 tackles for loss along with a fumble recovery, an interception and a team-best eight pass breakups. Tripp earned All-GLIAC honors in each of the last two seasons.
Williams had one of the best seasons for a Northwood defensive player in program history, finishing the season with 65 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups. His 18.5 tackles for loss are the most for a Northwood player since 2003 (Dedrick Roper – 19.5). Williams led the team in tackles for loss and sacks while ranking second in tackles.
Marshall has been Northwood's starting center in each of the last two seasons. He was the Timberwolves best offensive lineman on a team that averaged over 200 yards per game on the ground, good for second in the GLIAC.
McCormick had an outstanding season as the punter for the Timberwolves. He finished the year ranking second in the GLIAC in average (40.5) while leading the GLIAC in punts inside the 20 (27) and forcing fair catches (24). The Timberwolves ended the regular season ranked No. 14 in Division II in net punting (37.25).
Carter was a key performer both on offense and special teams for the Timberwolves this season. He shared the team-lead in touchdown, finishing with seven (six rushing, one receiving). Carter averaged 5.7 yards per carry on offense, ending the year second on the team in rushing (348 yards). Along with Nutt, Carter was also excellent on kick returns, averaging 28.5 yards per return.
Englund started at defensive tackle for Northwood this season and had his best year for the Timberwolves. He had career-highs in sacks (3.0) and tackles for loss (4.0). Englund was a three-year starter at defensive tackle for Northwood.
Garbarino was a dual-threat for the Timberwolves this season, leading the team in passing yards (723), passing touchdowns (eight), rushing yards (568) and rushing touchdowns (seven). In the games where he played more than a quarter, Northwood posted a record of 7-1. In Northwood's Axe Bowl win over Saginaw Valley, Garbarino rushed for a career-high 181 yards.
Jacobs started all 11 games at right guard for the Timberwolves this season. He is now a two-year starter for the Timberwolves at right guard. Since Jacobs has entered the starting lineup, Northwood has increased their scoring average in each season (19.9-21.0-25.6).
After starting the year in a backup role, Samuels turned into one of Northwood's top defensive players by the end of the campaign. He finished the season with 49 tackles, good for fifth on Northwood. Samuels also added three interceptions, two pass breakups and 2.5 tackles for loss. He was named GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week following Northwood's axe bowl victory over Saginaw Valley, thank to intercepting a pair of SVSU passes.
Wiltjer moved into the middle linebacker spot for the Timberwolves and led the team in tackles, ending the year with 72 stops. He also had seven tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. His four forced fumbles were the most for anyone in the GLIAC and ranked 21st in Division II.
Northwood finished the season 7-4 overall, 5-4 in the GLIAC, which was good for fourth place overall. The Timberwolves made a four-win improvement from a year ago (3-8).