UNIONTOWN, Ohio Five Baldwin Wallace University football student-athletes have been have been named to the 2016 All-Ohio Athletic Conference football team.
Senior offensive guard Alex Kurtz (Sterling/ Smithville) was named to the first-team while junior running back Austin Smith (Broadview Heights/North Royalton) and junior outside linebacker Sam Groff (Waynesburg/Sandy Valley) were tabbed as second-team selections. Senior safety Brock Hull (Youngstown/Boardman) and senior placekicker Joe Simonis (Hinckley/Medina Highland) were honorable mention selections.
Kurtz, a team captain, was a starter on the offensive line since midway through his freshman season and started 34 consecutive games at guard and tackle. This season, he helped the offense to score 28.5 points-per-game and gain 351.6 yards per game of total offense. During his career, Kurtz helped BW average more than 30 points and 390 yards of offense per game. In addition to excelling on the field, he maintained a 3.47 grade average in finance and exercise science.
Smith led the team in rushing with 681 yards on 171 attempts with a team-leading 14 touchdowns and 84 points. He also caught eight passes for 48 yards. Smith punted 39 times for a 35.1-yard average with just 10 being returned for a 0.9-yard average. Entering his senior season, Smith has gained 1,148 yards rushing with 18 TD's, caught 22 passes for 140 yards with one TD, scored 114 points, returned nine kickoffs for a 21.2-yard average, returned 10 punts for a 6.0-yard average and has accumulated 1,547 all-purpose yards in 25 games. He also has punted 90 times for a 34.6-yard average. Smith also has made two tackles.
Groff, a team captain and son of BW Hall of Famer John Groff '73, led the team in tackles for the second straight season . This season, he had a team-leading 86 tackles and 25 more than his nearest competitor. Groff, who is also a member of the BW wrestling team, had five tackles for loss, one quarterback sack, two interceptions , four pass breakups, one forced fumble, one recovered fumble and a blocked field goal attempt. He also rushed the ball five times and gained 12 yards with two TD's. In three seasons, Groff, has 167 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three QB sacks, two interceptions and eight pass breakups, one forced fumble and two recovered fumbles.
Hull was a second-team All-OAC choice a year ago. The four-year varsity player began his career on offense but was moved to defense as a freshman. This season, Hull ranked fourth on the team with 51 tackles, including 30 solo stops and one for loss, with two interceptions, four total pass breakups and a fumble recovery. He played safety in 32 games and had 120 career tackles, including five tackles for loss, five interceptions and 15 total pass breakups. Hull carries a better than 3.0 grade average in the classroom.
Simonis was the starting kicker for three seasons and punter for one. This season, he connected on 32 of 34 point-after-touchdown (PAT) boots and 5 of 8 field goals to rank third on the team with 47 points. The three-time Academic All-OAC selection, who carries a 3.57 grade average, made 105 of 110 PAT kicks and 13 of 20 field goals for 144 career points. As a punter, Simonis averaged 36.9 yards in 38 attempts. He also averaged 53.0 yards in 67 kickoff attempts and was credited with making four tackles.
The Yellow Jackets finished 3-7 overall in 2016.