Harding Football places ten on All-GAC Teams

From Harding University

The Harding football team had 10 student-athletes earn All-Great American Conference honors Tuesday as the conference released its postseason awards. There were four Bisons on the 1st Team, three on the 2nd Team, and three Honorable Mentions.

Harding's 1st Team honorees were senior running back Kale Gelles (Colleyville, Texas), senior all-purpose back Jeremy Holt (Nashville, Tenn.), senior offensive lineman Garrett Taylor (Huntsville, Texas), and senior kicker Eddy Carmona (Charleston, Ark.).

Gelles ranked second in the conference in rushing at 100.5 yards per game. He carried 170 times for 1,005 yards and became only the third Harding running back with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Gelles was also 1st Team All-Conference last season in the Gulf South Conference.

Holt was Harding's all-purpose yardage leader and ranked second in the GAC at 117.6 yards per game. He was third on the team with 512 rushing yards and second with 295 receiving yards. Holt, who ranked fifth at Harding with 3,944 career all-purpose yards, earned his first 1st Team award after receiving 2nd Team All-GSC last season.

Taylor, who started all 11 games at left guard, was the best offensive lineman on the top rushing team in Division II. Harding averaged 360.9 rushing yards and set a school record with 38 rushing touchdown. Taylor led all Harding offensive linemen with 386 knockout blocks during the season and is the Bisons' nominee for the Gene Upshaw Award, given each year to Division II's top lineman.

Carmona became Harding's first 1st Team All-Conference kicker since Jeremy Thompson was All-Lone Star Conference in 1999. He connected on 10-of-13 field goals, including a 62-yard effort at East Central that is the longest field goal in the NCAA this year. Carmona also made 46-of-49 extra points and led Harding in scoring with 76 points.

Bisons on the 2nd Team included junior offensive lineman Tory Day (Memphis, Tenn.), junior defensive end Josh Aldridge (Jackson, Tenn.), and junior linebacker Aaron Gillaspie (Nashville, Tenn.).

Day, who was 1st Team All-GSC last season, started 10 of 11 games at left tackle and helped Harding lead Division II with only three sacks allowed. Aldridge recorded 45 tackles and led the Bisons with 12.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Gillaspie had a team-high 89 tackles and ranked third in the GAC with 8.1 tackles per game.

Senior wide receiver Tyler O'Quin (Wylie, Texas), junior cornerback Roderick Cohn (Long Beach, Calif.) and junior safety Jasper Bodiford (Riviera Beach, Calif.) received Honorable Mention.

O'Quin led Harding receivers with 11 receptions for 319 yards and scored two touchdowns. Cohn had a team-best three interceptions and six pass breakups, and Bodiford had 43 tackles and two interceptions.

Harding's 10 honorees were tied for second-most in the conference. Ouachita Baptist, the conference champion, had 13 honorees.

Harding had three players top individual categories in the final GAC statistics. Junior quarterback Chaz Rogers led the conference in passing efficiency (169.9), Carmona led the conference in scoring by kickers (6.9 points per game), and Aldridge was tops in sacks with 7.5.

Harding led the GAC in 11 team categories. Offensively, the Bisons were No. 1 in the conference in scoring offense (35.5), total offense (427.6), rushing offense (360.9), sacks against (3), third-down conversions (46.2), fourth-down conversions (74.1), and time of possession (32:07).

On defense, Harding led in total defense (329.1), sacks (28), and opponent's first downs (17.1 per game). Harding also had the highest percentage of field goals made (10-of-13, 76.9%).

The Bisons are tentatively scheduled to open the 2012 season on Sept. 8 in a non-conference game against Missouri S&T in Searcy. The Miners, members of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, recently completed their season with a 6-5 record. The teams last played in the 2002 season opener, which Harding won 23-15 in Searcy.