John Szawlowski named First Team All-American by American Football Coaches Association (AFCA)

John Szawlowski '09
John Szawlowski '09

WACO, TX – The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) has named Williams left offensive tackle John Szawlowski (Hatfield, MA/Northampton HS) an AFCA NCAA Division III First Team All-American.

Szawlowski is the first Eph since LB Graham Goldwasser in 2003 to be honored as an AFCA NCAA Division III First Team All-American.

Szawlowski was a three-year starter and three-year All-NESCAC First Team selection for the Ephs. Previously he was named to the New England Football Writers Division II-III All Star Team in both 2007 and 2008, named to the 2008 All-East First Team, 2008 All-American Second Team, and to the ECAC-Northeast First Team in 2007. The 2008 ECAC-Northeast team has not been released yet.

With Szawlowski at left tackle the Ephs were 20-4 and in his 24 starts he allowed just three sacks while protecting the Ephs Qb's blind side. "John really worked hard his whole career," said Eph head coach Mike Whalen. "Physically he was ready to play as a first year, but mentally with all the new schemes he saw coming into college it was an adjustment. He worked hard to understand the game with a lot of time spent watching film with older guys like Chris Kenney and Mike Brown so by the time he was a sophomore he was ready to play."

Szawlowski and his classmates completed a sweep of Amherst with a 24-23 win in Amherst and secured a fourth straight Little Three title as well. Despite his overwhelming proficiency at left tackle, the scary thought is Szawlowski played out of position. "We played him at LT because we had to, but his best position would've been at guard," noted Whalen. "He does not have long arms so sometimes defenders can get in on him as a tackle, but his strength and footwork helped him get the job done. We stuck him at LT to protect our quarterback from the blind side, but we also changed our schemes to fit his strengths and sort of made him a pulling tackle on occasion."

Asked his reaction to being named an AFCA All-American the soft-spoken Szawlowski said, " I'm not fully sure what it means just yet. I know it is a real honor to receive this award. I am still kind of shocked that I was named one... I thought the email was a joke at first.  All-American is something I didn't really expect. I was always just trying to get better and everything off the field is out of your control.

"It is a great honor but I love football because it is a team sport. I think this award will help me to remember this past season and all the guys on our team. Football is a team sport and without everyone putting forth the effort none of us could be successful. I was fortunate to have guys like Moe [Brian Morrissey], [Pat] Lucey, [Patrick] Moffitt, and the rest of the o-line around me, it made my job a lot easier.

"We put forward two players from NESCAC for consideration as All-Americans and John was the unanimous choice as the best lineman in the conference," commented Whalen. "Oftentimes a senior plays his last game and he just walks away and you don't see him again until Homecoming the next year, but John and his brother Henry have already told all of the returning linemen that they will be running film sessions over Winter Study."

"John's work ethic was outstanding. Every single day he delivered the same consistent effort. He never had a bad practice in four years and he wouldn't let anyone else have one either," Whalen emphasized.

Release from AFCA and complete First Team