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GWINNETT GRADS: Georgia Southern up next for Heinicke, ODU

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Collins Hill graduate Taylor Heinicke (14) a sophomore quarterback at Old Dominion University will face Georgia Southern in the FCS playoffs today.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Collins Hill graduate Taylor Heinicke (14) a sophomore quarterback at Old Dominion University will face Georgia Southern in the FCS playoffs today.

Collins Hill grad Taylor Heinicke, still playing in a record-setting season for Old Dominion, won the Dudley Award this week as the best college football player in Virginia. He is just the third FCS player to win the award.

The sophomore leads the nation in passing yards (4,158), total offense (4,660) and touchdown passes (41). He broke NCAA Division I records for passing yards (730) and total yards (791) in a game during a 64-61 win over New Hampshire.

Heinicke and his Old Dominion teammates, including fellow Collins Hill grad Andrew Everett, host Georgia Southern today at noon in the FBS playoffs. The game is on ESPN (Parkview grad and former Georgia/NFL offensive lineman Matt Stinchcomb is the analyst).

The two teams met last season with Georgia Southern pulling out a 55-48 win. The Eagles are loaded with Gwinnett grads, among them running back and Buford grad Dominique Swope, who needs 17 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. Norcross grad Dion DuBose also had two tackles for losses in last week's Eagles win over Central Arkansas.

Another local connection --Georgia Southern offensive coordinator Brent Davis went to Duluth.

FOOTBALL

Gwinnett players help Valdosta State to semis

With the help of Gwinnett products, Valdosta State has advanced to today's NCAA Division II semifinals, where it will play at Minnesota State-Mankato. The game is at 3 p.m.

Four Central Gwinnett grads are on the 54-man travel roster this week -- starting offensive guard Edmund Kugbila, starting safety Lance Holder, reserve linebacker Trokon Gaye and reserve cornerback Cameron Olds. Holder has a team-high three interceptions.

North Gwinnett grad Jake Thomas, an academic All-American, starts at center for the Blazers. Collins Hill grad Chris Caspari, a safety, also is on the travel squad.

Swanson named RedHawks' Impact Player of the Year

Buford grad Jaytee Swanson was named the Miami University football team's Impact Player of the Year during its annual postseason banquet last weekend.

The senior linebacker finished his season with a career-high 52 total tackles with four for losses. He also had two forced fumbles and a half a sack.

Swanson, a social justice studies major, finishes his career with 98 total tackles, 13 tackles for losses and two interceptions.

BASKETBALL

Clarke, Means square off

Gwinnett grads Tiffany Clarke and Chaney Means went head-to-head on Tuesday night, with Clarke's Vanderbilt Commodores defeating Means and Western Kentucky, 77-67.

Clarke finished with 13 points and six rebounds and Means scored seven points.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com.