Add another accomplishment to the seemingly never-ending list for Shenandoah University quarterback Hayden Bauserman.
Bauserman, who began shattering school records the moment he took the field as a freshman in 2015, was named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s J. Stokeley Fulton Offensive Player of the Year in selections announced on Tuesday afternoon. It’s the first such honor for the Woodstock native, who was named first-team All-ODAC in his final three seasons at SU.
Bauserman showed he was deserving of the award, completing 355 of 555 passes for 3,832 yards and 43 touchdowns in 2018, setting conference single-season records in all four categories. Staying true to form, Bauserman on Tuesday deflected credit for the honor and instead passed it off to those around him.
“It’s definitely an accomplishment, and it’s really cool, but I think my first reaction was it’s not necessarily an individual award. We had a lot of guys that got All-ODAC and a lot of guys that didn’t get All-ODAC that kind of made all of this possible. It all starts up front with the offensive line and (senior left guard) Andrew Coffman got second team, but we had a lot of guys up front that played well all season,” said Bauserman who went on to mention an O-line that included senior center Caleb Hutson, senior right guard Jonathan Grammo, junior right tackle Daniel Small and left tackles Brad Hoffman and Michael Davidson. That group allowed only seven sacks on Bauserman’s 555 attempts.
“There’s a lot of other things that go into it,” Bauserman continued after also mentioning SU’s coaching staff, “a lot of other guys that don’t get the credit that they deserve, that kind of made it possible.”
A holder of multiple passing records at Central High School, Bauserman will leave Shenandoah as the runaway leader in every passing category. He also broke the ODAC record for career passing touchdowns (132, eight more than the previous mark) and ended the regular season as the Division III leader in passing yards and passing TDs.
Bauserman is one of 13 semifinalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, the Division III equivalent of the Heisman.
“I didn’t think there was any way coming into this year that I would be able to eclipse the pass attempts that I had last year, 514 was a big number, but somehow we did it and had a lot of guys around me that kind of made it possible,” Bauserman said. “We were explosive. … As an offense, the numbers we put up, it’s only gonna bring in better recruits and better kids that wanna come play in an offense like that.”
Junior receiver Casey Stewart, a Front Royal native and Warren County High grad, joined his quarterback on the All-ODAC first team after posting 54 receptions for 859 yards and setting a new program record with 15 touchdown catches. He led the Hornets in receiving yards and was third in receptions.
Coffman and fellow senior Jalen Hudson, a slot receiver/tailback, each earned their third all-conference nod with second-team selections this season, and linebacker Tyler Williams was named All-ODAC for a second straight season with a third-team spot. Receiver Jake Wallace and cornerback Daquan Pridget, who set a new school record with seven interceptions in 2018, also landed on the third team.
Shenandoah went 5-5 this season and 3-4 in ODAC play and saw its conference title hopes fizzle out before claiming back-to-back wins over Guilford and Washington and Lee to close out the season. SU hammered Guilford on senior day as Bauserman erupted for eight touchdown passes — a school record — and rallied to beat W&L, a team no player on the Hornets’ roster had beaten, in overtime in the regular-season finale.
“We definitely had higher aspirations than we did record-wise but closing out with those last two games that we had, I don’t think you could write a better script for it,” Bauserman said.
“For all of us seniors,” he added, “those last two games meant the world to us and it springboards the program going forward, kind of helps them move into next year.”
Bauserman’s immediate future includes signing with an agent and finding a training facility, he said, as he prepares for a potential future as a pro in the NFL. The Washington Redskins sent a scout to SU’s campus earlier this year to meet with and observe the Hornets’ star QB, as did the Baltimore Ravens, Bauserman said. He added that the Minnesota Vikings were another of the “eight or nine” NFL teams that have requested film from SU.
According to Bauserman, the Ravens will file a formal request to have him attend a pro day at a Division I school, and the quarterback mentioned a list of sites that included Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia and William & Mary as potential pro-day locations.
“Just kind of getting ready for a pro day and trying to be in the best shape as I can be and having my arm as healthy as I can be,” Bauserman said of the next step in his football career, “and just kind of get better at the smaller things to take the next step to try to play at the next level.”