HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech football team had 12 players receive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference postseason honors, announced by the conference office on Tuesday. Sophomore offensive lineman Hayden Huttula and junior defensive lineman Nate LaJoie were both selected to the All-GLIAC First Team while sophomore running back Jared Smith, senior wide receiver Jacob Wenzlick, senior defensive back Travis Tidwell, and junior quarterback/punter Will Ark were chosen for the All-GLIAC Second Team. In addition, six Huskies were picked as All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honorees.
Huttula, who hails from Hartland, Michigan, helped anchor the Huskies offense that averaged 357.7 yards per game, including 140.9 yards per game rushing and 216.8 yards per game passing. The Tech offense led the GLIAC in total pass completions (174), was third in passing yards per game, first in passing first downs (101), and first in time of possession (32:47). The Huskies allowed just 15 sacks and 46 tackles for a loss this season.
LaJoie is from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and had a breakout season this year for the Huskies. LaJoie led the GLIAC in total sacks with 8.5 and tied for second in the conference in total tackles for a loss. LaJoie combined for 54 total tackles and averaged 5.4 tackles per game and his sacks/tackles for loss resulted in 68 negative yards for opponents. In addition, LaJoie also recovered a fumble during the 2019 season. LaJoie had a season best nine tackles, 2.5 sacks, and four tackles for a loss at Saginaw Valley State.
Ark, a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, had an excellent season at quarterback and also did the bulk of the punting for the Huskies in 2019. Ark wrapped up the season with 128 completions for 1,631 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games. Ark finished second in the GLIAC in passing yards per game with 203.9 and tied for fourth in the conference with 10 touchdown passes. On the ground, Ark tacked on two additional touchdowns and averaged 22.3 yards per game on the ground in 2019. In the punting department, Ark closed the season averaging 41.3 yards per punt with 13 dropping inside the opponents 20-yard line out of 33 total punt attempts. His per punt average is a new single season school record.
Smith, who hails from Westphalia, Michigan, led the Huskies in rushing this season with 685 yards on 138 total carries. Smith averaged 85.6 yards per game and five yards per carry in eight contests played this season. Smith shared the team lead in rushing touchdowns with three and ran for 172 yards in a game twice this year. The first was in the 2019 opener at Hillsdale and this past Saturday Smith equaled that total against Northwood to close out the year. In the passing game, Smith made 12 catches for 93 total yards.
Tidwell is from Detroit, Michigan and wrapped up a stellar four-year career at Tech with a solid senior season in 2019. Tidwell led the Huskies defense with 70 total tackles, averaging seven stops per game. Tidwell broke up a team high nine passes, forced a fumble, and recorded an interception. Tidwell cracked the starting lineup as a freshman and accumulated 267.0 total tackles in 41 games played in his career. He had six interceptions, two forced fumbles, and 33 pass breakups. Tidwell was the GLIAC Freshman of the Year in 2016 and has been an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention and GLIAC All-Academic Honoree in each of the previous two seasons.
Wenzlick, who hails from Sanford, Michigan, closed an outstanding career with the Huskies this past Saturday. He paced the Huskies this season with 40 receptions for 687 yards in 10 games played. He averaged 68.7 yards per game and shared the team lead in touchdown receptions with five. His longest catch of the year occurred in the 2019 season finale and it covered 73 yards for a key touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Timberwolves. Wenzlick had a season best and career high 213 yards against Northern Michigan on October 12. Wenzlick reeled in 135 receptions for 2023 yards and 11 touchdowns in 39 career games. He also returned 65 kickoffs for 1,620 yards, which included a 93-yard touchdown in 2017. Wenzlick also returned 37 punts for 276 yards during his time in a Michigan Tech uniform.
Senior offensive lineman Jeremy Bell, sophomore defensive back Braxton Blackwell, senior defensive lineman Xavier Ciardo, junior fullback Jordan Ferguson, senior wide receiver Ben Hartley, and senior defensive back Glacier Wallington were selected as All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honorees.
Bell, who hails from Negaunee, Michigan, teamed up with Huttula on the front line to put up some impressive offensive numbers in 2019. The Huskies averaged 19.0 points and 357.7 yards per game, including 140.9 yards per game rushing and 216.8 yards per game passing. Bell played in 37 career games and was an All-GLIAC Second Team selection in 2017 along with being named Tech's Offensive Lineman of the Year that season. He earned the Ted Kearly team award in 2018 and is a four-time GLIAC All-Academic Team honoree.
Blackwell is from South Lyon. Michigan and was second on the team in total tackles this past season with 61.0, equating to a 6.1 tackles per game average. Blackwell was used frequently in blitz packages and ended the year with the third most sacks on the team with 3.5. He also had seven tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, and two pass breakups.
Ciardo, a native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, completed the 2019 campaign with 37.0 total tackles and was second on the team with five sacks. He owned the same ranking in tackles for a loss with 12, costing opponents 57 yards. Ciardo also had one forced fumble, a pass breakup, and helped the Huskies tie the school single season record for most sacks at 30. Ciardo ended his career at Tech with 92.0 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 20 tackles for a loss. Ciardo was also an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honoree in 2018 and earned the Bill Hauser Memorial Award.
Ferguson is from Alpena, Michigan and played a big role in the offense that piled up 357.7 yards of total offense. Ferguson scored his first career touchdown in week two of the season at McKendree and was a key rusher in short yardage situations. Ferguson helped clear numerous running lanes for the tailbacks and was a key component in the passing game. Ferguson caught 10 passes for 103 yards out of the backfield. Ferguson was an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention following the 2018 season as well.
Hartley, who hails from West Branch, Michigan, caught 38 passes for 524 yards and shared the team lead with five touchdown receptions in 2019. Hartley averaged 52.4 yards per game and 13.8 yards per catch. Hartley had two touchdown grabs in the season opener at Hillsdale and matched the total again at Davenport. Hartley also threw for a touchdown against the Panthers in a 30-17 win on October 19. Hartley played in 26 total games with 99 receptions for 1,267 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the passing game during his career, he completed four of six attempts for three touchdowns and 201 yards. Hartley was an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention and GLIAC All-Academic selection in 2018.
Wallington is from Metamora, Michigan and made a major impact on defense for the Huskies in 2019. Wallington finished the year with a single season career high 42 tackles while making 2.5 tackles for a loss. He also forced a fumble, had two interceptions, and broke up three passes. His interceptions came in back-to-back weeks against Northern Michigan and Davenport. He had a single season high nine tackles at Ashland University. Wallington closed his career at Tech with 104.0 tackles, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions. He had one fumble recovery that he returned 29 yards for a touchdown in the 2018 season finale against Northwood.
The official GLIAC press release which includes the complete list of all-conference honorees can be viewed by clicking on the link at the top of the release.