By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – With the 2022 Ohio Valley Conference football regular-season slate drawn to a close, the league looked back at some of the incredible performances across its member institutions and honored its best and brightest stars from the year.
After the numbers were tallied, Tennessee Tech came away with six selections across the OVC's first-, second- and all-newcomer teams.
The postseason teams were voted on by the head football coaches and the sports information contacts.
Graduate safety Josh Reliford was the Golden Eagles' first-team selection on the defensive squad, while senior running back David Gist and sophomore center/guard Nate Hodnett was on the second-team offense and senior defensive end Kail Dava and senior linebacker Seth Carlisle were on the second-team defense. Freshman linebacker Jacquez McGowan was one of six freshmen on the OVC's All-Newcomer Team.
Reliford ended the 2022 campaign second on the team in tackles, recording 84 stops with 8.5 tackles-for-loss for 30 yards and 1.5 sacks for 11 yards. He also broke up six passes, hurried the quarterback twice and forced two fumbles. Reliford had three games this season with double-digit tackles, including tying his career-best of 11 against Samford. The Fitzgerald, Ga., native also had 10 tackles against North Alabama and North Carolina Central.
This marks Reliford's third appearance on the All-OVC team, his first on the first-team roster.
Gist earned his second selection to the all-conference squad as the Cookeville native put together 839 all-purpose yards in 2022 – rushing for 621 and catching passes for 195 more – while leading the Golden Eagles in scoring with 54 total points on nine touchdowns – five on the ground and four through the air.
Gist ended his career with 2,366 rushing yards, firmly entrenched in fifth all-time in a Tech career, and 3,465 all-purpose yards, eighth all-time.
Hodnett was a crucial piece to the Golden Eagle offense. Following an injury to Isaac Cross, the Winder, Ga. moved over from guard to center and took over the role. Through his efforts, the Golden Eagle offense pulled together 4,331 yards of total offense with 14 rushing touchdowns and 20 receiving touchdowns. The Tech offensive line as a whole also gave up the third-fewest sacks in the conference with 14, four behind conference co-champions Southeast Missouri and UT Martin at 10 each.
Dava put up strong numbers on the defensive front as the senior from Mississauga, Ontario, had 24 total tackles. He also collected 5.5 tackles-for-loss for 25 yards and 1.5 sacks for 15 yards. Dava also had two QB hurries and recovered a fumble.
Carlisle had another impressive season as he led the Golden Eagles in tackles with 98 stops. He had three tackles-for-loss, five pass breakups and two QB hurries. Carlisle had five games this season with double-digit tackles, including a career-high 16 stops against Kennesaw State, while collecting 13 against Tennessee State, and 11 each against Samford, Lindenwood and North Carolina Central.
The Red Boiling Springs native ends his career with 330 total tackles, falling just five short of tying Norman Drake (1988-91) for 10th all-time in program history.
McGowan had an exemplary rookie campaign with the Golden Eagles, finishing third on the team in tackles with 59 total stops, including four for-loss and half a sack. McGowan also intercepted a pass, had a breakup and hurried the quarterback three times.
The Valdosta, Ga., native had a season-best 11 tackles in the season finale against North Carolina Central and had an interception in his first career game at Kansas.