(STATS) – Pete Guerriero entered Monmouth University as a track runner in 2016 and didn’t join the football program until the following year.
In many ways, he’s still running track.
As a redshirt junior this season, Guerriero obliterated the Monmouth single-season record and ranked No. 1 in the FCS with 1,995 rushing yards. The finalist for the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award also set the school’s single-season record with 2,331 all-purpose yards as the Hawks won the Big South championship and a playoff game for the first time and set the program mark for wins in an 11-3 campaign.
If you’re scoring at home, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Guerriero won the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference track championships as a true freshman. But with 20 touchdowns this season and 39 in his career, he’s doing more scoring at Kessler Stadium and beyond.
“Pete has great vision, he is a very patient runner,” Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan said of the first-team All-American. “He allows things to develop in front of him, and once he sees a crease, he has the acceleration and explosive speed to get through the line of scrimmage and get to the second and third levels. He’s done a great job adding strength and body mass over the last two years. I believe he has gotten faster and he’s a much stronger runner than he was in his first year.”
An avid listener to doo-wop music, Guerriero danced his way to four 200-yard rushing performances during a six-game late-season stretch. Included were a career-high 237 rushing yards plus another 66 receiving yards and four touchdowns as Monmouth beat Campbell to clinch the Big South title on Nov. 16. Two days later, he was named the STATS FCS National Offensive Player of the Week.
The Payton Award winner will be announced at the STATS national awards banquet on Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas. Also up for the award are quarterbacks Case Cookus of Northern Arizona, Trey Lance of North Dakota State and Kevin Thomson of Sacramento State.