A new year is now upon us, and another successful UWG football season is in the books. West Georgia finished up their 2015 season with a 12-2 record and with many team accomplishments, as well as quite a few notable individual accolades.
It is recommended you view this article on a computer or tablet for the best visuals when you get to the statistics below.
Coach Will Hall has now coached the Wolves to two consecutive final 4 appearances. In 2014, West Georgia made it there as a 6 seed before they fell to the eventual champions, Colorado State-Pueblo. This year’s season ended in the final four as well, as UWG fell to the eventual champions, Northwest Missouri State.
Coach Hall’s 2015 season earned him AFCA DII Region II Coach of the Year honors. This award also placed him on the ballot for the National Coach of the Year. This will be announced at the 2016 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas during January 10th-13th. Coach Hall is on the ballot alongside region 1 winner: Monte Cater (Shepherd University), region 3 winner: Lee Owens (Ashland University), region 4 winner: Dan Cocannouer (Southwestern Oklahoma State University), and region 5 winner: Rob Smith (Humboldt State University).
This is the second time Lee Owens has won this award and it will be Rob Smith’s 3rd time winning. For the other three coaches: Will Hall, Dan Cocannouer, and Monte Cater, it is their first time winning Coach of the Year.
Monte Cater and Shepherd University finished the year with a 13-1 record. They were eliminated in the championship by Northwest Missouri State, 34-7. The Rams finished with an undefeated regular season and were champions of the Mountain East Conference and Super Region 1. Cater eclipsed the 250 career win mark during his 2015 campaign.
Lee Owens from Ashland University led his team to an undefeated regular season that earned his team a 3 seed in the playoffs. This season also earned his team the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division championship, and a share of the whole conference championship. Ashland was ranked 5th in the nation before being eliminated first round by a red-hot Grand Valley State team.
Dan Cocannouer out of Southwestern Oklahoma State University coached his team to an 8-4 record and a trip to the Live United Texarkana Bowl, their first postseason appearance since 1996. The Bulldogs were picked to finish 8th in the Great American Conference after a 3-7 season in 2014. SWOSU won 6 straight to end the season and earned 2nd place in the conference standings. This is just the 9th time they have had 8 wins in their 107 years as a program.
Rob Smith and Humboldt State University finished their regular season 9-1 and were a 4 seed coming into the tournament. This was the Lumberjacks 1st post season appearance since 1968, and it ended in the second round to the eventual champions, NWMSU (54-7). Smith guided the Lumberjacks to an outright GNAC title this year and a 10-2 overall record.
Coach Hall will be in some good company January 10th-13th when the convention is held and the award is announced. He, of course, led his Wolves to a share of the GSC title (North Alabama) and a 10-1 regular season. The Wolves won Super Region 2 for the second consecutive year, and finished the season 12-2. They defeated Valdosta State twice to make it 3 of the last 4. They also defeated Delta State to make it 5 of the last 6. West Georgia picked apart a Tuskegee team with ease in the quarterfinals before their comeback fell short to the eventual champions, NWMSU. They lost that game 38-23. One must think that Coach Hall has a great chance to win the National Coach of the Year award as only one coach nominated made it further than he and his Wolves did.
The AFCA awards are based upon their own regional structure. This system has nothing to do with the D-II super-regional system for playoff selection. There are 4 super regions for playoff selection, yet the AFCA names 5 regions for Coach of the Year Honors.
This is a quote from Coach Hall’s post-game press conference October 24th after the North Alabama win.
“You know our defense gets a lot of accolades and they should because they are absolutely phenomenal, and they have been for a long time. We feel like our offense gets overlooked a lot. We really don’t have the numbers because we sub a lot at halftime and the end of the third quarter. We feel like we are pretty good on offense, too.”
Well, Coach Hall, “pretty good” turned out to be a complete understatement. The offense broke numerous records this year and was able to land guys on the All-Region list, All-Conference list, and All-American list.
For the second straight year, the Wolves led the conference in players on the All-conference team. This past year, UWG placed 17 players on the All-conference team.
1st Team All-Conference
-Devontae Jackson (Fr, All-Purpose)
-Dominique Robertson (Jr, Offense)
-Orion Awa-Dubose (Sr, Offense)
-Shaq Hall (Sr, Offense)
-Alex Armah (Jr, Defense)
-Dylan Donahue (Jr, Defense)
-Curtis Lindsay (Jr, Utility Player)
-Marcus Sayles (Jr, Specialist)
-Hunter Heck (Jr, Specialist)
Shaq Hall, Orion Awa-Dubose, and Alex Armah all earned their second All-Conference award this year, as all three of them were named to the second team All-Conference team in 2014.
2nd Team All-Conference
-Dallas Dickey (Sr, Offense)
-Qa Walker (So, Offense)
-Beau Dugan (Sr, Offense)
-James Dugan (Sr, Specialist)
-Harley Vaughan (So, Offense)
-Marion Chapman (Sr, Defense)
-Gabe Freeman (Jr, Defense)
-Carlos Hutton (Sr, Defense)
Gabe Freeman and Carlos Hutton earned their second All-Conference award this year. Gabe Freeman was elected in 2014 to the second team as a utility player, and Carlos Hutton was elected in 2014 to the defensive second team.
1st Team All-Region
2nd Team All-Region
For the 5 UWG players other than Orion Awa-Dubose, this is their first time being awarded All-Region honors. Orion earned 2nd team honors a year ago.
-Orion Awa-Dubose: 1st team USA College Football All-America Team, 2nd team Conference Commissioner’s Association (CCA) All-America Team, 3rd team AP Little All-America Team
-Dylan Donahue: 2nd team USA College Football All-America Team, 2nd team AP Little All-America Team
-Dominique Robertson: 1st team USA College Football All-America Team
-Shaq Hall: 1st team USA College Football All-America Team
-Alex Armah: 2nd team USA College Football All-America Team
-Marion Chapman: 2nd team USA College Football All-America Team
-Carlos Hutton: 2nd team USA College Football All-America Team
-Dallas Dickey: 2nd team USA College Football All-America Team
-Beau Dugan: 2nd team USA College Football All-America Team
-Harley Vaughan: Honorable Mention USA College Football All-America Team
Miscellaneous Player/Team Awards
-Marcus Sayles led the country (FBS, FCS, and DII) in blocked kicks with 7 (4 FG, 3 Punts)
-Dylan Donahue: Gene Upshaw Lineman of the Year Finalist, AP All-American, GSC sack leader
-Dallas Dickey: most passing yards in University Stadium history (398), 4th most single-game passing yards in school history
-Devontae Jackson: first freshman in UWG history with 1,000 rushing yards
-Shaq Hall: 100 career receptions, 14th receiver in school history to record 1,000 receiving yards
-#3 Total Defense in the country
-Gulf South Record 9 converted 2-PT PATs
-#3 in Final AFCA Poll
-Held #1 spot nationally for first time in school history
-Started the Season 9-0
-Super Region II Champions
-Gulf South Conference Co-Champions
-Region 2 Coach of the Year (Will Hall)
-17 All-Conference Players (UWG record, GSC high for 2015)
-Most touchdowns in a single season (62)
-Team GSC sack leaders (87 sacks in two years)
-Individual GSC sack leader
-9,011 in attendance at National Quarterfinal (University Stadium record)
-10 All-Americans named for 2015 season
-First home playoff game in school history
-Best record at DII level in school history
Rushing Att Yds Avg TD
-Jackson, Devontae 162 1057 6.5 9
-Dickey, Dallas 136 592 4.4 4
-McCall, Aares 90 486 5.4 3
-Franks, Lamarcus 56 341 6.1 2
-Garrett, Wil 61 276 4.5 10
Coach Hall had an array of offensive guys in his backfield this year. He has used a two-quarterback system in the past, and used it to perfection this year with Dallas Dickey and Wil Garrett.
Wil Garrett led the team in rushing touchdowns on the year with 10. Coach Hall used him as a ‘Tebow-style’ QB, and inserted him into the lineup in 3rd and 4th and short situations. Wil was also used close to the goal line, where he had much success.
Devontae Jackson showed a lot of promise in his freshman season, as he rushed for 1,000 yards. He is the first freshman to accomplish this, and the 10th player in school history.
Dallas Dickey had another successful year on the ground as he rushed for nearly 600 yards and averaged almost 5 yards a carry. He was able to use his feet to get away from the defense and also gave Coach Hall a good option for the quarterback draw.
Lamarcus Franks struggled with injury in the beginning and end of the year, but he still managed to have some success while he was in there. He averaged more than 6 ypc and gave Coach Hall another reliable option on the ground.
Aares McCall started the year on a role as he ripped off two consecutive 100-yard games. Shortly after, Devontae Jackson took the reigns as the lead guy and never looked back.
Passing Efficiency Comp-Att-Int Pct Yds TD
-Dickey, Dallas 149.00 173-290-7 59.66 % 2387 22
-Garrett, Wil 243.09 23-29-0 79.31 % 369 5
Dallas Dickey was able to have huge success this year through the air. He had multiple 200+ yard games and averaged 170 yards per game. The highlight of his year came in the National Quarterfinal vs Tuskegee, where he threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns. This performance broke a University Stadium Record, and a UWG playoff record.
Wil Garrett was very successful in his time passing the ball. An efficiency of 243 is unheard of for a whole season. Of course, his numbers are a little frayed due to the fact he did not throw much, but his high success when he did throw made it very tough for opposing defenses when he was in the game.
Receiving Rec. Yds Ypc TD Lng Ypg
-Walker, Qa 34 809 23.79 10 66 57.79
-Hall, Shaq 61 710 11.64 6 40 50.71
-Brown, Telvin 6 210 35.00 2 58 16.15
-Slate, Ethan 19 178 9.37 0 20 12.71
-Jackson, Devontae 14 156 11.14 3 28 11.14
-Jones, JaNardreon 11 150 13.64 2 47 12.50
Qa Walker led all receivers this year in yards and touchdowns. Qa was more of the big play guy for the Wolves, as it showed in the final game of the season where he had 4 receptions for 130 yards.
Shaq Hall had an astounding 61 catches on the year, which propelled him over 100 for his career. This is second consecutive year with 55+ catches and his second year leading the team in catches. During the first Valdosta game, he became the 14th receiver in school history to reach 1,000 yards.
Tackles (30+) Solo Ast Total TFL
-Chapman, Marion 34 45 79 10.5
-Freeman, Gabe 30 31 61 3.0
-Armah, Alex 29 23 52 14.5
-Donahue, Dylan 26 26 52 16.5
-Vason, Laronji 33 18 51 4.5
-Fullwood, Jeff 30 21 51 2.0
-Harthone, Christopher 26 25 51 3.5
-Hutton, Carlos 36 13 49 3.5
-James, Jamaree 24 15 39 2.0
-Brown, Zed 18 20 38 1.5
-Reynolds, Kentrell 17 21 38 2.5
-Carr, Jason 11 26 37 5.5
-Holmes, Marrion 12 24 36 3.0
-Lindsay, Curtis 18 14 32 2.5
-Sayles, Marcus 27 4 31 1.0
-Donahue, Dylan: 11.0
-Armah, Alex: 9.0
-Rabb, Chris: 4.0
-Chapman, Marion: 3.0
-Morris, Jermaine: 3.0
-Davis, DeMarcus: 3.0
Lorenzo Ford, Jamaree James, Zed Brown
Marion Chapman, Gabe Freeman, Laronji Vason,
Carlos Hutton, Jason Carr, Kentrell Reynolds,
Marcus Sayles, Jakyron Young, David Singleton,
Mid-Year Signing Class
Will Gardner, QB • 6-5 • 224
Louisville/Coffee County HS
Devlyn Cousin, DT • 6-2 • 291
Iowa State / Camden County High
DeNiko Carter, WR • 6-5 • 190
Gavilan CC/Catonsville Senior HS
*originally committed to Utah
Chris Williams, CB • 6-1 • 189
St. Marys, GA
Central Florida / Camden County High School
*Originally committed to Alabama
AJ Leggett, S • 6-0 • 199
DeAndre Cooper, CB • 5-10 • 170
Murray State / Glynn Academy
Carlos Burse, WR • 6-2 • 215
Jones JC/Alpharetta High School
*Originally committed to Vanderbilt
Josh Keys, S • 6-0 • 190
Texas Tech/Miss. Gulf Coast/Seminary HS
Travis Custis, RB • 6-1 • 220
Glendale CC/Hutchinson CC/Lovejoy HS
“We are really excited about our midyear signing class, and what is really great is that six of the signees are kids that played high school football in the state of Georgia. We have become the place of choice for the Georgia kid when he wants to come back home and I am also excited about the progress we continue to make in south Georgia as four of the signees are Division I transfers that played high school football in South Georgia. It truly is an exciting time to be a Wolf!”
-Coach Will Hall
This is arguably one of the best mid-year recruiting classes West Georgia has ever seen. All 9 players will be eligible next year and will be in Carrollton for the spring semester starting January 11th. 3 of the 9 players will be coming from community college, one of those, DeNiko Carter, was originally committed to Division I Utah, but never made it to the school. The other 6 did in fact make it to their division one schools, and some had great success.
The most notable of the signing class is obviously ex-Louisville QB Will Gardner. Gardner has struggled with injury in the past, as he has suffered numerous knee injuries. Gardner last played in 2014 where he started 7 games for the Cardinals. During those games, he threw for 1,669 yards and 12 touchdowns, while only throwing three interceptions. He was fairly efficient, as he completed 57.5 percent of his passes. His highest career moment came against Jameis Winston and then ranked #2 Florida State, where he passed for 330 yards in a 42-31 losing effort. Louisville was up 21-0 at one point during this game.
Devlyn Cousin will be another huge addition, as he had a lot of playing time at the division one level. He played in 7 games in 2013 for Iowa State, and 9 in 2014. Devlyn won two State Championships in high school while playing for Camden County.
AJ Legget coming from Marshall will be one of the bigger additions as well. Legget leaves Marshall as the active interception leader with 8. During his sophomore season, he helped Marshall attain a 13-1 record, become nationally ranked, and win the Conference USA Championship. He was tied for the lead in interceptions that year with 4, and 7th overall in tackles with 63.
The link to the full article on the 2015 mid-year signing class can be found on the UWG Athletics website. You can get there by clicking this link.
You can read up on the late additions (Will Gardner and Travis Curtis) by clicking this link.
Looking Ahead to 2016
West Georgia fans have more than enough to be proud of with how their 2015 season ended and how their 2016 season is shaping up. Coach Hall and his staff have hit the recruiting trail hard and gotten some guys that have roots here, and some that are from all over the country.
Last year, the Wolves had a combined 65 freshman/sophomores, 27 juniors, and 22 seniors. Losing 22 seniors can always hurt a team, no matter how much success you had the year before. Luckily, Will Hall has a very young team, and a lot of those players gained experience last year in some of the blowouts. Not only that, but some of the younger guys made their way into the starting lineups for the Wolves this year.
With an excellent signing class and a solid foundation already in place, UWG looks as if they will pick up right where they left off last year.
Losing a guy like Dallas Dickey has an enormous impact a football team. His leadership, athleticism, smarts, class, and overall winning nature will be missed by the entire program, on and off the field. Dallas may be leaving, but his legacy will forever live at West Georgia. He leaves the school with the 2nd best passing efficiency all time at 138.97, and a QB record for rushing touchdowns with 20. He holds the record for most touchdowns responsible for in a career at UWG with 71, and has played the most plays (1,256) of anyone ever at the school. He stands at 3rd in passing yards (5,942) and 4th in passing touchdowns (51) in school history. He was very successful on the ground during his tenure at UWG. Dallas is 6th all-time in rushing yards at the school with 1,988, as a quarterback. Also, he rushed for 10 TDs as a freshman, a record Wil Garrett just tied with his 2015 campaign. Like I mentioned earlier, he has the record for most career wins, too (33).
Dallas will not only leave a lasting impact on his University, but he will leave one on the GSC as a whole. He is 11th all-time in total yards in the conference with 7,930. He received GSC Academic awards from 2013-2015, an All-Conference award in 2015 as well as a share of the title, and led his team to victory in back to back super region championships. Dallas was an incredible quarterback, and I wish him nothing but the best as he moves forward.
With Dallas leaving, it seems that a new quarterback battle may have arrived. Wil Garrett, I would assume, will be the starter day 1 of spring practice in 2016, but he will have some hard competition coming in. Will Gardener is a 6’5, 224 pound mobile quarterback with division one experience, and success. Gardner ran the Wing-T, option, and the spread in high school/college. So, he will be somewhat used to the different packages and looks his new coach likes to throw out there. I have seen segments of this kid being compared to Teddy Bridgewater, and some say he had the potential to better.
Coach Hall may do some sort of a two quarterback system like he has been known for. Possibly keeping Wil Garrett as the ‘Tebow-style’ and letting the newcomer, Will Gardner, get some 1st string reps. Or, it could be the opposite, only thing we can do is speculate. However, I do know that Coach Hall is big on fighting for your spot. Every Tuesday during the season is when the guys battle it out for who will start that week. I have heard Coach Hall in numerous press conferences say that someone will lose their spot on Tuesday, and he contributes that to some of his player’s motivation.
As a West Georgia fan and reporter, I am extremely anxious to see how this situation plays out for the offense. After watching film on Gardner, I believe he can have some success playing in an offense like Coach Hall’s. Wil Garrett will certainly have success as well, as he has in the past.
Whomever it may be at the quarterback position when fall rolls around will have their leading receiver back out wide. Qa Walker was outstanding this year. A combination of size and speed like the one Qa possess is nearly unheard of, and it shows on the field. Coming off a year with 10 touchdowns and averaging 23+ yards per catch, Qa will only look to surpass those numbers in 2016. Shaq Hall played his last game for the Wolves in 2015. With his leave, he will take over 100 career receptions and 1,000 receiving yards with him. Ethan Slate, the one of the other starters, will also be lost. Slate had 19 catches last year. Shaq Hall and Ethan Slate will be tough to replace, but guys like Telvin Brown, PJ Harris, and newcomers Carlos Burse and DeNiko Carter will provide some depth at the position in 2016.
The backfield is shaping up to be very dangerous for the Wolves in 2016. The leading rusher will be returning as a sophomore coming off a 1,057 yard, 9 TD season. Aares McCall will also be in the rotation next year. We know that he can explode for 100 yards in any given game, so with those two guys back there, it will be dangerous. Not only that, but Lamarcus Franks had some incredible games this year in the backfield. If he can stay healthy, then West Georgia may just have themselves a three-headed monster in the backfield.
This ‘three-headed monster’ ran behind one of the best offensive lines in the country last year, and that is a huge reason for much of their success. Jodece Smith and Orion Awa-Dubose are seniors and will not be back next year. Orion is of course an All-American, and Jodece 6’2, 328 build we be hard to replace, too. Austin Kastl and Harley Vaughan will be returning for their senior and junior seasons, but Dominique Robertson may be forgoing his senior season and entering the NFL draft. He is currently the 32nd ranked offensive tackle in the country according to nfldraftblitz.com.
On the defensive line, arguably UWG’s best defensive unit, the Wolves will lose three guys that had significant playing time. Wayne Williams out of Syracuse, New York will be moving on from UWG. Wayne had an impact later in the season and in the playoffs for those of you who are not familiar with him. Marrion Holmes, the big run-stopper in the middle will also be moving on. #84 Quenton Brown played his last game for the Wolves last December, too. These three guys were huge this year for the Wolves, and their abilities and accomplishments will be hard to replace. All-American DE Dylan Donahue, All-Conference DE Alex Armah, and 6’6 300+ pound Jason Carr out of University of Tennessee will all be returning. The Wolves also had some young guys get some experience last year. Those guys will be very useful for the different packages the Wolves like to use. Devlyn Cousin from Iowa State seems as if he will have an immediate impact, too. With guys like Devlyn and Jason on the inside, and Alex and Dylan on the outside, I sure would not want to be an opposing running back or quarterback taking on the Wolves in 2016.
Star linebacker and leader of the defense Marion Chapman will have to be replaced in 2016. He led the team in tackles this year and made some huge hits throughout the season. Backup Kentrell Reynolds will also have to be replaced. Reynolds was 11th on the team in tackles. Gabe Freeman will return for his senior season and it seems he will take over as the leader of the defense. Gabe is an excellent run stopper and makes plays in the passing game as well. Chris Harthorne will also be returning for his senior season and it looks as if he and Gabe will be the starting inside guys. Sophomore Cameron Magee should get some time in the rotation as well.
The secondary will lose 2015 Co-INT leader Jamaree James, 2x All-Conference safety Carlos Hutton, and backup Delonte Amey, but that is it. That may seem like a lot with what some of those guys have accomplished, but the guys that return will have had a year or two of experience now. Special Teams/Cornerback guru Marcus Sayles will be returning for his senior season, and will definitely be a part of every opposing team’s game plan. Laronji Vason, David Singleton, Jeff Fullwood, Zed Brown, Curtis Lindsay, Jakyron Young, Phillip Warren and Lorenzo Ford will all be returning. AJ Legget from Marshall, Chris Williams from Central Florida, and Josh Keys from Texas Tech should have an impact on the secondary rotation as well. The secondary will take the least amount of hits this off-season, in my opinion.
I hope you all have enjoyed reading up on the University of West Georgia Football team this year at bwrightsports.com or at peachstatecollegesports.com. Thank you guys so much for the support!