By: Ryan Sosic '19
BEREA, Ohio- The Baldwin Wallace University football team has announced that five student-athletes will serve as team captains for the 2018 season.
Senior All-Ohio Athletic Conference defensive back Ty Fields (St. Augustine, Fla.), senior Academic All-OAC defensive back Andrew Groves (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls), senior quarterback Jake Hudson (East Lake, Fla.), junior linebacker Josh Liberati (Lisbon/David Anderson) and senior All-OAC wide receiver Rob Wolfington (Rapids City, Mich./Elk Rapids) will be looked upon to lead the Yellow Jackets for the upcoming season.
To be considered, student-athletes sent in applications to head coach Jim Hilvert and then the pool of applicants were voted on by their teammates.
Hilvert, in his second year at the helm of the Jackets, is ecstatic with the group that has been selected to lead his team.
"We were looking for guys that lead by example and showed the ability to come out of their comfort zone. These five guys had a very good offseason and spring ball, which helped them emerge as obvious leaders," stated Hilvert. "Overall, I think we had a good poll of candidates, but they stood out for what we were looking for. They are excited about being captains for the BW football program because it says a lot about them, not only as football players, but as people. I think these guys are ready to lead the 2018 football team."
Fields will look to improve off a 2017 campaign where he received the BW Most Outstanding Defensive Back Award and an All-OAC second-team selection. The senior finished the season with an OAC and team leading career-high 12 pass breakups and was fifth on the squad with a career-best 45 tackles. He has earned two varsity letters and has compiled 63 tackles in 19 career appearances.
Earning his second letter in 2017, Groves made seven appearances and was named to the Academic All-OAC team. He recorded career-highs in tackles (29 total, 13 solos) and picked up his first career sack. Against Defiance on Sept. 2, he picked off his first career pass and returned it 60-yards for his first career touchdown. In three years, Groves has made 18 appearances and has been credited with 42 tackles.
Hudson is a two-year letterman and returning starter who appeared in all 10 games a season ago. He won the Ray E. Watts Most Valuable Offensive Player and OAC Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 2. The signal caller from Florida had a stellar 2017 campaign, posting career-highs in completed passes (145), passing yards (2,027 ) and passing touchdowns (18). On the ground, he was second on the squad with 519 yards on 122 carries. After throwing a career-high five touchdowns against Marietta on Sept. 30, he was named the 40th Lee Tressel Shrine Classic Player of the Game. In 17 career starts, Hudson has completed 266 passes for 3,515 yards and 26 touchdowns, adding 1,194 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
Liberati made his first contributions to the BW football program last season, appearing in nine games. The junior recorded a career-best four total tackles with three solo stops. He earned his first varsity letter.
An All-OAC honorable mention selection in 2017, Wolfington finished 13th in the OAC with a team-high and career-best 642 receiving yards in 10 appearances. Registering a career-best 34 catches and five touchdowns, the senior won the BW Outstanding Receiver Award at the year-end awards banquet. On Sept. 16 against John Carroll, Wolfington caught a career-long 78-yard touchdown pass, helping him earn the Dick Miller Community & Family Day Player of the Game.
The Yellow Jackets will open up the 2018 season at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30 against Alma (Mich.) College in the 41st Annual Lee Tressel Shrine Classic on the Tressel Field inside George Finnie Stadium. OAC action is slated to begin with back-to-back home contests against Otterbein University on Sept. 8 and the University of Mount Union on Sept. 15. The season will conclude with a trip to cross-town rival John Carroll on Nov. 10 in the 30th Annual Battle for the Cuyahoga Gold Bowl Trophy.