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Friday, August 30, 2013

FAMU, Valley Have Something To Prove In MEAC/SWAC Challenge


Damien Fleming will lead FAMU against Mississippi Valley State on Sunday. 

For the ninth consecutive year, black college football's two Division I conferences, the MEAC and SWAC will square off in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. So far, the MEAC has owned the series, winning six of the first eight games.

This year's matchup features two teams with a lot to prove in 2013. The game will air on live on ESPN Sunday, Sept. 1.

For Florida A&M, traditionally one of the powerhouse teams in black college football, 2012 was a year it would like to forget. Off the field, the Marching 100, FAMU's world famous band, didn't play a note as it served a self-imposed suspension in the wake of the hazing-related death of drum major Robert Champion. On the field, FAMU struggled to a 3-6 start, then watched as head coach Joe Taylor abruptly announced his retirement the morning of the team's loss to NC A&T.

Replacing Taylor is Rattler legend and former NFL linebacker Earl Holmes. Holmes has brought in a staff filled with former pro players, including former Rattler Quinn Gray as offensive coordinator and former Pittsburgh Steeler teammate Levon Kirkland as defensive coordinator.

Despite his team's disappoint record last season, Holmes has several talented players at his disposal. It starts with quarterback Damien Fleming, who threw for 2,175 while tossing 16 touchdowns and throwing just five interceptions. The big question for FAMU on offense will be whether or not the running game can keep teams honest.


Corner Kevin Eugene will look to stop the FAMU passing game in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge on Sunday. (Dread Head Photo)
Mississippi Valley State's record 5-7, wasn't much better than FAMU's but coming off a one-win 2011 season, they have to feel like they are headed in the right direction. Valley already knows it won't be able to play in the SWAC championship due to APR restrictions, so this is the biggest stage it will see all year.

Despite their inability to win the SWAC East championship, Valley can certainly cause some havoc for other teams. Defensive lineman Robert Simpson is one of the best in the FCS, and defensive back Kevin Eugene emerged as one of the SWAC's better defenders in his first year at Valley. The Delta Devils challenge this season will be to get some type of offensive production from someone other than receiver Julian Stafford.

Many who follow HBCU football, especially in MEAC country, see this games a potential coming out party for FAMU. It's pretty easy to see why, as FAMU will be playing this "neutral" game in its home state and will likely get an emotional lift with the return of the 100. Some are expecting a blowout. I say don't be so sure. Both these teams have holes, and this game could be decided by a few plays either way. FAMU wins, but not by much.

Prediction: FAMU 24, Mississippi Valley 17

Game Of The Week: Bethune-Cookman At Tennessee State

Quentin Williams and Bethune-Cookman will travel to Nashville to take on Tennessee State in the John Merritt Classic. (Miami Herald photo)


Bethune-Cookman @ Tennessee State, Sept 1 (John Merritt Classic)

Television: ESPN3 

While the MEAC/SWAC Challenge may garner more national attention, for our money, this could be the best played HBCU football game of the weekend. Both teams have to feel like they are the best HBCU football has to offer, and of course, would like to prove that with a win on Sunday.

As we highlighted in our Tennessee State preview, the Tigers enter the 2013 season with a legit chance of winning the competitive Ohio Valley Conference. TSU returns all 11 starters from a defense last year that was at times dominant. They also feature one of the best tight ends in FCS football in former Florida Gator A.C. Leonard. Two big weapons from 2012 that won't be at TSU's disposal on Saturday: Running back Trabis Ward, who left school after his junior season for the pros and quarterback Mike German is serving a two-game suspension. Telvin Hooks will step in to fill Ward's shoes and freshman Ronald Butler will start his first game.

For Bethune-Cookman, the mission is simple: repeat as MEAC champs and make a playoff run. The Wildcats also return a ton of talent, from running back Isidore Jackson to a defense filled with playmakers. BCU also has a trio of quarterbacks that can run his offense, a luxury rare in black college football. One big loss for BCU is tackle Terrance Hackney, who will sit out the 2013 season.

Matchup to watch: BCU WR Eddie Poole vs. Tennessee State CB Steven Godbolt

It's a good bet that Godbolt, Tennessee State's All-American corner will be matched up against BCU's main receiving threat.

Bottom line: With all due respect to the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, this may be the best game to showcase HBCU football this weekend.

Prediction: Tenn. State 27-21








Turnovers Doom Jackson State, Hampton On Opening Night


Jackson State turned the ball over six times in a 34-7 loss to Tulane on Thursday. (USA Today photo)

The 2013 HBCU football season got off to a rough start on Thurday night. Both Hampton and Jackson State struggled with turnovers, and were rewarded with blowouts. Hampton lost 42-9 to fellow FCS foe Western Illinois, while Tulane beat Jackson State 34-7.

Hampton took to the field first, and its first drive of the season ended when sophomore JJ Williamson was picked off. That interception led to a one-yard touchdown run by Western Illinois' Nikko Watson. That pretty much set the tone for the game, as Hampton would end up with as many turnovers (9) as points. Six of those nine interceptions were thrown by HU's three quarterbacks-Williamson, Brian Swain and Bryan Bailey. Hampton's lone touchdown came on a 21 yard pass from Williamson to Antwon Chisholm in the second quarter.

It'd be a stretch to say that Hampton was favored to win against Western Illinois. But the fact that it was facing an FCS team that only won three games last year, averaged just ten points per game and was playing under a new coach..and still lost by horribly. This is definitely not the way Donavan Rose wanted to start the season that may decide his fate at HU.

The story was similar for Jackson State, at least as far as the turnovers are concerned. JSU surprised many observers by starting redshirt freshman LaMontiez Ivy instead of Clayton Moore, who led JSU to the SWAC East title last year.

Ivy got off to shaky start, throwing two interceptions and fumbling the ball, and the offense failed to score under his direction. Things went from bad to worse for Ivy and the Tigers in the third quarter as he went down with what appeared to have been a broken foot. Backup quarterback Evan Ingram rushed for the Tigers only touchdown in the fourth quarter to keep JSU from being shut out. Overall the offense coughed up the ball six times.

The good news for Jackson State is that they don't play anymore FCS teams this season. The bad news is that it has to face SWAC West favorite Alabama State next week with serious questions at the quarterback position.




Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hampton To Debut New Unis


Hampton enters the 2013 season looking to redeem itself after a 3-7 record last year. Maybe these new uniforms will help.

The new look is a lot less futuristic than the shoulder pattern the Pirates have rocked as of late. They kinda have a retro feel. Are we feeling them? 

Hampton kicks off its season Thursday night at Western Illinois. 

Report: Frazier Challenges NCCU's Firing

Henry Frazier II was fired from his position as North Carolina Central football coach last week. (HBCU Digest photo)
It appears that the North Carolina Central-Henry Frazier saga isn't about to end anytime soon. A blog called The Holder Report is reporting that Frazier has hired a lawyer to "fight for justice and due process."

Frazier was fired last week after being arrested and charged with violating a domestic protective order. The post's author, Fox News contributor Tamara Holder, tweeted a copy of a letter from Frazier's attorney, Linda Keeny Bailey, addressed to NCCU Chancellor Debra Saunders-White. Below is an excerpt.

"Henry Frazier III has maintained his innocence on these charges. But apparently his maintaining of his innocence was irrelevant in the quick determination made by representatives of NCCU. As your Director of Athletics is very aware, Frazier specifically asked bring legal representation to the meeting to discuss his suspension. That request was improperly denied on the basis that legal representation was not allowed at that stage. Attached please find a screen shot of a text between Ingrid Wicker-McCree and Frazier which states “we do not involve legal representation during employment related discussions.”

The post's author accuses the university of turning its back on Frazier and being hypocritical to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream Speech."

Dwayne Foster was named interim head coach after Frazier's dismissal. North Carolina Central opens the 2013 season against Duke on Aug. 31.

Hampton Ladies May Not Twerk, But HU Cheerleaders Do (Video)






Yesterday, Hampton University had the internet talking when pictures of a slideshow stating that "Hampton Ladies Do Not Twerk" found its way on to social media. Well, this youtube video shows the HU "Blue Thunder" cheering squad performing some moves that look suspiciously close to twerking. (Much better than that sad display put on by Miley Cyrus at the VMAs the other night, in our opinion.)

We want your opinion: Is this twerking or nah?

Also... (Warning: There is actual twerking in this next video.)


Jackson State, Hampton Kickoff HBCU Football 2013

Zach Pendleton will have to step up big for Jackson State to help it defeat Tulane in Thursday night's opener. (Daily Ledger)

Jackson State at Tulane (New Orleans Superdome)

Jackson State enters the 2013 season with high expectations after an appearance in last season's SWAC title game. JSU brings back an experienced crew, including nine players named to the preseason All-SWAC team. They face a Tulane team that has spent the past few years in the FBS cellar. Last year's Green Wave finished 2-10.

Jackson State wins if: Unlike many HBCUs who will compete against FBS schools, Jackson State has a legit chance to win this game. Starting for the Green Wave will be Nick Montana, son of NFL Hall of Famer, Joe. Montana will be starting his first Division I game, under the bright lights of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Cornerback Qua Cox is one of the best defensive backs in the FCS, and has a nack for taking the ball from the opposition. If JSU can force a few turnovers and control time of possession with its powerful ground game via running backs Tommy Gooden and Rakeem Sims and quarterback Clayton Moore can make a few plays with his feet and his arm, JSU could start the season off with an upset win.

Jackson State loses if: JSU loses if it turns the ball over, or if it falls behind early. The Tigers were a run-first team last year, and with Rico Richardson in the pros, it will probably stay that way for the early part of the season. If they fall behind by double digits, all the pressure will be put on Moore and the passing game to produce.

Antwon Chisholm should get plenty of opportunities against Western Illinois on Thursday. (Daily Press photo)

Hampton at Western Illinois

Hampton enters the 2013 season coming off of its worst season since entering Division I in 1995. Head coach Donovan Rose enters the season with a 22-21 record after four seasons. It's not a terrible winning percentage, but for a Hampton program that has been among HBCU football's elite for nearly two decades, its not anything to brag about. Word on the Hampton Road's streets say Rose's fate may depend on how well his team performs this season.

Hampton wins if: Hampton's opponent, Western Illinois is coming off a forgetful season of its own, going 3-8 and scoring under 10 points per game. Despite Hampton's record, they do have talented defenders, most notably linebacker Delbert Tyler. If the Pirates defense can force a few turnovers, or even better, score a touchdown on its own, this is a winnable game for them.

Hampton loses if: Hampton has offensive questions of its own. Those issues start under center, as JJ Williamson edged out Brian Swain, but according to Rose, there isn't that much distance between the two, and either could play. Hampton will also have to find a way to produce without last year's primary offensive weapon, running back Jeremiah Schwartz. Anton Chisholm will have big shoes to fill at tailback. If the veteran offensive line can't break open the holes for him, too much reliance on the passing game could be Hampton's undoing.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What They Don't Tell You On Recruiting Trips: Hampton Version




This isn't anyway football related, but it was making the rounds on Twitter and I had to post. Wonder if they tell the recruits this before they get to campus.


Aggie Pride Is Back, But Will It Win The MEAC?

Running back Ricky Lewis will attempt to fill the void left by Mike Mayhew's departure. (NC A&T photo)


Conference: MEAC
Coach: Rod Broadway
2012 Record: 7-4
2013 Non-Conference Opponents: App State, Elon, Virginia University of Lynchburg
2013 Classics: Atlanta Classic (vs. SC State 10/05/2013

Dominique Drake should be a big part of the A&T rushing attack in 2013. (A&T Register photo)


Offense:

Quarterbacks: 
Looking at the quarterback statistics from 2012, it's amazing that A&T was able to come up with it's best season in nearly a decade. A&T quarterbacks were bad even by MEAC standards, which aren't the highest in the FCS. Lewis Kindle served as the starter for most of the season, but took more points off the board (11 interceptions) than he put on them. Kwashaun Quick started a few games as a freshman, including the season opener, and was thought to have a chance at unseating Kindle. His chances for starting looked even better after Kindle was arrested for DWI in July. Kindle was suspended from the team for over a month before being reinstated shortly after the start of camp. He will have to serve a one-game suspension against App State. Quick will start in his place.

The big changing of the guard in the A&T offense will come via the backfield. The Aggies will be without their all-time leading rusher Mike Mayhew, who wrapped up his college career last season. Look for senior Ricky Lewis to step in to fill some of the void left by Mayhew's departure. Lewis is a do it all back, who rushed for a career-high 437 yards and six touchdowns in 2012, and is a threat catching and throwing the ball as well. Lewis will have help from Dominique Drake, who actually beat out Mayhew for the starting job last year before an ACL injury ended his season.

Needless to say, last year's passing game left a lot to be desired. Sophomore Darren Bullock is the Aggies leading receiver with 20 catches and one touchdown. Outside of Bullock, none of the returning receivers caught more than 10 passes. A&T does have several newcomers, headlined by former NC State signee Xavier Griffin. Also keep an eye out for speedster Desmond Lawrence.

The Aggies have a veteran line, anchored by center Ronald Canty and left tackle William Ray Robinson III. This unit could be the strength of the A&T offense.

All-American D'Vonte Graham leads a talented NC A&T defense. (NC A&T photo)

Defense

It's no secret that defense was the calling card of the 2012 team. The Aggies led the MEAC in total defense, holding opponents to just 252 yards per game. They were spectacular against the run, holding opponents under three yards per rush and just 1,015 yards for the season.

Much of the defensive line that dominated last year, however, is gone. Senior Tyree Hearn is the only returning starter from that group. He will have to step up big for a unit that could use up to five freshmen in its rotation.

Things look much more solid at linebacker as seniors D'Vonte Grant and Tony Clodfelter return to lead a group deep in both numbers and talent. Grant is equally adept at run defense, leading the team with 88 tackles last season, and pass defense, as he picked off four passes in 2012. Not bad for a former walk-on.

Without question, the strength of the A&T defense is its secondary. Cornerback D'Vonte Graham had a big season last year after sitting out 2011 for personal reasons. The 5'7, 165 pound defensive back picked off four passes and broke up eight others, picking up All-MEAC honors. He heads into 2013 as an All-American punt returner (Sports Network) and cornerback (Box To Row). Another impact defender will be safety Travis Crosby. The senior finished second on the team with 87 tackles, nine of which came behind the line of scrimmage. The Aggies will also look for Ayodeji Olatoye(3 INTs) to make plays at both corner and safety, if need be.

Outlook


A&T has to feel like it has a plausible shot at an MEAC title, which it last won in 2003. After two tough non-conference games, it will face off against a Howard team missing its head coach, an SC State coming off its worst season in a decade, and a Hampton team that is also trying to pick up the pieces. A stretch to keep an eye on is in late October when A&T faces a tough defensive squad in Delaware State and a FAMU team that could be much improved under Earl Holmes. Perhaps the biggest game for A&T is one that's not on the schedule, as it does not meet defending MEAC champion Bethune-Cookman this season.

With that said, there are some questions, mostly on the offensive side of the ball. Simply put, the offense has to help the defense out way more in 2013 for A&T to make a championship run. It starts with quarterback play. All the champions in HBCU football (Bethune-Cookman, UAPB, Winston-Salem State, Tuskegee) had good-to-great quarterback play. No honest observer could say the same about last season's A&T team.

Coming off a 7-4 season, the cries of "Aggie Pride" seem a little more heartfelt than in years past. After nearly a decade of being mediocre or just plan bad, A&T's 2012 performance put everyone on notice that they are once again a team to be reckoned with. If it can get more consistent production out of its passing game, A&T looks to be the team most capable of snatching the MEAC from Bethune-Cookman's hands.

Prediction: 8-3, MEAC Runner-Up





Tuesday, August 27, 2013

WSSU, Bethune-Cookman Top Sheridan BCF Poll

Maurice Lewis and Winston-Salem State posted a 14-1 record in 2012. (WS Journal Photo)
Sheridan Broadcasting Network released its annual pre-season Black College Football poll with familar names at the top. Winston-Salem State, the defending CIAA Champions and Division II football runner up, topped the list, picking up 19 of 30 votes. Defending MEAC champion Bethune-Cookman finished second in the poll with nine votes, first among Division I schools. Check out the entire list below.

Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College Football Poll 


Team (First-place votes) Record

1. Winston-Salem State Rams (19) 14-1
2. Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (9) 9-3
3. Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions (2) 10-2
4. Tuskegee Golden Tigers 10-2
5. Tennessee State Tigers 8-3
6. North Carolina A&T Aggies 7-4
7. Jackson State Tigers 7-5
8. Alabama State Hornets 7-4
9. Howard Bison 7-4
10. South Carolina State Bulldogs 5-6

Others receiving votes (in order of points): Alabama A&M 23, Miles College 19, Elizabeth City State 17, Norfolk State 11, Fort Valley State 8.

My only beef is with Tennessee State at number four. The Tigers have a case to be made for as high as second, considering it beat every HBCU it played and plays in the strongest conference of any Division I HBCU. TSU will have its chance to prove the voters wrong on Sept. 1 when it meets up with BCU.  

Former BCU, Del State Coach Takes St. Aug's Hoops Job

Former Division I head coach Tony Sheal's will take over as St. Augustine's University basketball coach. (Florida State photo)

A little more than a month after losing its coach to a conference foe, St. Aug basketball has a new face with Division I experience. Tony Sheals was named St. Augustine's University's latest basketball coach on Tuesday. The former Florida A&M head coach replaces Lonnie Blow, who left in July to take over at Virginia State.

“We are excited to add Coach Sheals to our athletic family,” St. Aug Athletic Director George Williams said. “He is a veteran coach who will lead an outstanding group of players this season.”

Sheals will take over a St. Aug team which finished 16-12 overall last season, but only five returning players.

Sheal's served as both head coach for the MEAC's Bethune-Cookman (94-97) and Delaware State (2000). He most recently served as an assistant at Florida A&M. “It is a tremendous opportunity and honor to represent the Falcon community. I look forward to coaching in the CIAA and leading our program to success.”

With HBCU Football Elite Status Secured, Tennessee State Eyes Playoffs

Mike German will have to sit out the first two games of 2013 for Tennessee State. (TSU Tigers Photo)

Conference: Ohio Valley
Coach: Rod Reed
2012 Record: 8-3
2013 Non-Conference Schedule: Bethune-Cookman, FAMU, Jackson State, Central State
2013 Classics: John Merritt Classic (BCU), Southern Heritage Classic (Jackson St.) St. Louise Gateway Classic (Central State)

Telvin Hooks will look to pick up the slack left by the departure of Trabis Ward. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

Offense:

The Tigers finished last season with arguably the best returning quarterback in Black College Football, Mike German. The 6'2, 215 pound rising junior followed his Ohio Valley Freshman of The Year season in 2011 with a solid sophomore campaign, completing 215 passes out of 358 attempts for 2,751 yards and 18 touchdowns. All signs pointed to a breakout year for both German and TSU. Then things went south for the QB, first legally and later academically. German missed both the spring game and the majority of the fall camp before being declared eligible and rejoining the team.

Despite his restored eligibility, German will not be allowed to play first two weeks of the season, meaning redshirt freshman Ronald Butler will start against two teams from his home state of Florida. The reports out of camp were positive for Butler, but he'll face a tough task for his first start against a veteran Bethune-Cookman defense.

Tennessee State didn't suffer many losses from 2012, but there is a big hole in the backfield. Trabis Ward had a monster year for the Tigers at running back last season, rushing for over 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns. Ward elected to turn pro after his junior season, leaving Telvin Hooks as TSU's most experienced ballcarrier. Hooks averaged five yards per carry as Ward's backup, and should be the featured back. Look for Tim Broughton and Darion Hall to contribute as well.

The most outstanding receiver for TSU is All-American tight end A.C. Leonard. The former Florida Gator flourished last season, catching 51 passes for 733 yards and six touchdowns. Leonard won't be the only weapon in the passing game as sophomore Joe Bowens seems poised for a breakout year. The 6'5 Greenville, SC native caught 28 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns. Don't be surprised if his touches double this season.

TSU should also be solid at offensive line with several key player returning, including Kadeem Edwards, a two-time All-OVC selection.

Antonio Harper finished with four sacks in 2012. (TSU Tigers Photo)

Defense

As many playmakers as the Tigers have on the offensive side of the ball, the numbers suggest that its strength will be its defense. The Tigers return all 11 starters from a defense that finished tops in the OVC in total defense, and second in the conference in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 22.8 points per game.

The defensive line will be paced by senior DE Antonio Harper (36 tackles, 4 sacks) and junior DT Anthony Bass (24 tackles, 4 sacks). Samquan Evans and Jack Ndem will cause problems for opposing lines as well.

There's no dropoff at linebacker, as junior Nick Thrasher returns to head an athletic group. Thrasher had a coming out party in 2012, recording a team-high 105 stops, shutting down things in the middle. Lending a hand on the outside will be several talented players, including seniors and Gregory Barksdale and Wilson Robinson.

Things just get better the deeper you go into the TSU defense, as there aren't many deeper defensive backfields in the FCS. It all starts with All-American cornerback Steven Godbolt, who picked off six passes and broke up six others during his sophomore season, winning multiple All-American honors. Overall, the Tigers held opponents to an OVC-low 208 passing yards per contest. Safeties David Fitzpatrick and David Van Dyke finished second and third on the team in tackles last season and broke up fifteen passes. And the defensive backfield should be even better this year with the addition of former Florida Gator De'Aunte Sanders.

Outlook

Last season's TSU squad started 7-0 before stumbling towards the end of the year to finish 8-3. A year older, and presumably a year better, this team should be better. But this team won't have the ability to sneak up on teams as it did last season. They are a known commodity.

The Tigers start the season against three quality HBCU opponents, including the defending MEAC Champs (Bethune-Cookman) and the SWAC East Champs (Jackson State). Both games will be worth watching as Butler will make his first start against BCU in the John Merritt Classic and German will be available to step on the field for the first time against JSU. German's body of work is impressive, but Butler will be looking to show he can play as well.

Once the Tigers get in conference play, the stakes get higher. A key stretch will be back-to-back weeks against Eastern Illinois and Eastern Kentucky, the two teams picked to finish above them in the OVC. If they can win one of those two, they should be in decent shape. If they win both, the playoffs are a strong possibility.

While this team has experience, many of its key players still have two seasons of eligibility remaining. The Tigers may be the most talented team in black college football, but being in the OVC, they'll have a tougher route to the playoffs than their MEAC counterparts. Still, with a solid defense and playmakers like Leonard and German on offense you can't count them out. While I think the Tigers are a year away from peaking, don't be surprised if TSU sneaks into the expanded FCS playoffs this season.

Prediction: 9-3, OVC Runners Up (At-Large Playoff Bid)

 

Monday, August 26, 2013

A&T's Broadway Talks Program Building and Rivalries With 102 Jamz B-Daht

Rod Broadway led NC A&T to a 7-4 record in 2012. (HBCU Classics Photo)

Nice, entertaining sound bite for you guys today. North Carolina A&T football coach Rod Broadway stopped by the 102 Jamz Studio to talk about the upcoming season with B-Daht, Kyle and the guys from the Wildout Morning Show. Check out what he had to say about the upcoming season...and the hotly debated NC A&T/WSSU rivalry.

Click Here: Coach Broadway Interview

Friday, August 23, 2013

NCCU Gets Back To Business

(Tevin Stinson Photo)

After a long week, North Carolina Central players take the practice field to prepare for the 2013 season. Former head coach Henry Frazier was fired and replaced by assistant Dewayne Foster. NCCU opens the season Aug. 31 at Duke.

A&T Drops Women's Swimming, Adds Four Sports

NC A&T announce it will be adding four programs, and discontinuing its women's swimming program. (NC A&T photo)

GREENSBORO – The winds of change are blowing in Greensboro as North Carolina A&T announced several additions and one subtraction to its athletic department on Friday. A&T will be ending its women's swimming program in 2014-2015 while men’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf and women’s soccer will be phased in over a seven-year period starting with the reactivation of men’s tennis in 2014-15.

NC A&T athletic director Earl Hilton explained the changes in an online release.

“We are committed to moving all of our athletic programs into a position where they can compete for conference championships because as it stands now, winning a conference title gives us our best chance to advance to an NCAA playoff,” said Hilton.

A&T will honor all swimming scholarships until that time.

“Many of our swimmers have been tremendously successful after graduating from North Carolina A&T, he said. We must, however, move our department to where every athlete has the opportunity to compete for a conference and NCAA title. I don’t see a scenario where the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference will sponsor swimming in the foreseeable future.”

Men’s tennis was discontinued in 2006. A&T will initiate the start of men’s and women’s golf in 2016-17 and women’s soccer is scheduled for 2020. Hilton said the school was excited about bringing the sport back.

"We already have a history with the sport, so I don’t believe it will be difficult to reinstate the program. The changes to the structure of our department put us in line to meet some of the goals spelled out in the 2020 A&T Preeminence.”

'77 CIAA Champs Headline Latest WSSU Hall of Fame Class

Former WSSU football coach and current Delaware State head coach Kermit Blount will be inducted into the C.E. Gaines Hall of Fame at WSSU as a member of the 1977 CIAA championship team. (WS Journal Photo)


Winston-Salem State announced its latest Hall of Fame Class on Friday, and it was rather football heavy. That may not sound surprising given the school's recent football success, but until recently, WSSU has been known as a basketball school. Headlining the list of inductees into the C.E. Gaines Hall of Fame  is the 1977 CIAA Championship team, coached by current athletic director Bill Hayes.

The 1977 Rams featured All-CIAA players Cornelius Washington (DB), Robert Weeks (C), Kermit Blount (QB), Timmy Newsome (RB), Gary Railford (OT), James Winbush (DT) It was the first football team in the school’s history to produce a regular season undefeated team and to win the CIAA Football Championship. This team produced six All-CIAA players and two NAIA All-American team members. They also had two Pittsburgh Courier All-American team members and four of the Rams’ players went on to play in the NFL.

Other inductees include:
Martin Hicks finished third all-time in WSSU rushing yards. 

Martin Hicks (Football) Class of 2006  Hicks was a 4-Year Letterman and 3-time All-CIAA running back for WSSU. He was tabbed the 2005 CIAA Offensive Player of the Year, and finished his career as the third all-time rusher in WSSU history with 3,386 yards. He holds the all-time record for longest kickoff return of 97 yards vs NCCU in 2002. Hicks, is part of the record setting tandem that ranks as the only running backs from the same team to gain 1,000 yards in the same season. In the 2002 season, he was named All-CIAA as a kick returner, and in 2003 he was named to the Don Hansen’s All-South Region first team at running back. Hicks, is a Winston-Salem Fire Fighter, EMS and a member of the Search and Rescue team.

Lesley Barley, Jr (Football) Class of 1997

Barley earned NCAA DII Freshman All-American honors in 1986, and earned All-CIAA honors in 1988 and 1989, all while being named the Rams team captain. He would go on to help guide the Rams to CIAA Championships in 1987 and ’88 before a successful 10 year professional career.


Mose' Belton (Meritorious Service) Class of 1972 An insurance agent by trade, Belton is a contributor to WSSU, and in 2009 was chosen as Ms. Alumni for Winston-Salem State. She is a member of the WSSU Local Alumni Association (Kimberley Park Chapter) and has served on WSSU Board of Visitors.


Billy R. Diggs (Football/Basketball) Class of 1979 Billy Diggs, an operator with Luxfer Gas Cylinders, was a four year letterman in both football and basketball during his tenure at Winston-Salem State. In 1977, Diggs pulled a rare double championship as he was a member of both the Rams football and basketball CIAA Champions. In 1978, he was named All-CIAA as a wide receiver, as would go on to be drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the ninth round of the 1979 NFL Draft. Diggs would go on to represent the WSSU Rams in the Black College All-Star Bowl Game, and was voted to the CIAA Sportswriters All-CIAA team.

Kelvin Farmer (Meritorious Service) Class of 1986 Kelvin Farmer was a member of the 1982-1983 football team and has been associated with the University ever since. He is President and CEO of KE Farmer Enterprises, Inc, and is a life member of the NAACP. Farmer is also a life member of the WSSU National Alumni Association, and has been on the WSSU Foundation Board since 2007. He has also held the position of National Treasurer of the WSSU National Alumni Association (1994-1999).


Ralph Jones (Basketball) Class of 1973 Jones was a member of the WSSU Basketball team under Coach “Big House” Gaines (1969-1972), where he averaged 14.2 points per game. Jones, a retired New York City Department of Education worker, was a member of the CIAA Championship team in 1970, and was team captain on the 1971-72 Rams hoops team. He would go on to play in the Rucker Park League (amongst well known NBA players) and other city tournaments.

Steve Lindsay (Football/Meritorious Service) Class of 1972  Lindsay was a four year letterman and co-captain of the 1971 Southern Division Football Championship team. The retired public school teacher has spent his retirement years supporting various endeavors including the YMCA, the WSSU Athletics 1000 HORN$ Program, WSSU RAMS Varsity Club and the North Carolina Special Olympics.

The individual inductees and the team will be inducted into a ceremony on Friday, November 8th at the Anderson Conference Center located in the McNeil Banquet Room in Winston-Salem, N.C. and will be honored at halftime of the Winston-Salem Football Classic, featuring Winston-Salem State versus Fayetteville State University on Saturday, November 9th.

Tuskegee's Florence Shines For Carolina


Former Tuskegee Golden Tiger Drayton Florence returned an interception 71 yards in the Carolina Panthers' 34-27 win over the Baltimore Ravens. 



Drayton Florence has made a lot of plays since coming into the NFL in 2003. The Tuskegee product made another one Thursday night, picking off a Joe Flacco pass and returning it 71 yards for a touchdown. That play was the first of several key takeaways that helped the Carolina Panthers to a 34-27 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Sure, it was only a preseason game. But it was Week Three of the preseason, the one that most closely resembles a regular season game. And it was against the defending Super Bowl champs. The 32 year-old defensive back is in his first year with Carolina and could play a big role on a secondary looking for playmakers.

HBCU Gameday Podcast: Frazier's Firing And Predicting The SWAC








Episode Two of the HBCU Gameday Podcast is now up. We talked about:

*North Carolina Central firing Henry Frazier as head football coach
*The 2013 SWAC Outlook with special guest Perry White

Thursday, August 22, 2013

NCCU Fires Frazier

North Carolina Central announced Henry Frazier has been removed as football coach. (Herald-Sun Photo)
Just days after being arrested on charges of violating a protective order, it looks like Henry Frazier III is out at North Carolina Central. University officials confirmed this afternoon that Frazier has been fired effective immediately. Assistant coach Dwayne Foster will serve as interim head coach.
Frazier was preparing for his third season at NCCU when he was arrested on Monday, August 19 and charged with violating a protective order against his ex-wife. It was the second time in 18 months that he had been cited with domestic-related charges.

An on-campus news conference will be held at 4 p.m. The university explained its decided to part ways in a statement.

“At NCCU, our No. 1 priority is student success, and for our student-athletes, we have an obligation to support them both inside the classroom and on the field,” said Dr. Debra Saunders-White, NCCU chancellor.  “Our institution is committed to excellence and high ethical standards for our entire university community, and in particular, our campus leadership.”

Frazier led NCCU to a 6-5 record last season, its first winning season since joining Division I in 2007. In two seasons, NCCU finished 8-14 under Frazier.

We will definitely be talking about this on tonight's issue of the HBCU Gameday podcast. 

Duhart Named Alabama State Starting QB

Daniel Duhart will start at quarterback for Alabama State on Aug. 31 against Jacksonville State. (Twitter photo)

Alabama State heads into the 2013 as the trendy favorite to win the SWAC East and compete for a conference title. After a long spring/summer, it looks like they've finally decided who will lead them on that quest. The Montgomery Advertiser reports that redshirt sophomore Daniel Duhart has will start ASU's opener against Jacksonville State on Aug. 31.


Duhart had been in a battle with Southern Miss transfer Arsenio Favor, during spring ball and the start of fall camp. According to the report, head coach Reggie Barlow broke the news to Duhart Wednesday afternoon. Understandably, Duhart was excited to be selected as the starter. Barlow said that Duhart's experience in the offense gave him an edge in the competition, although he anticipates both players seeing live action.

“Both of these guys are going to play,” Barlow said. “We do have two really good quarterbacks and a young quarterback that we think is going to be pretty good. But (looking over the stats) showed us that Duhart is the pinpoint passer we thought he was, he completes a lot of passes, he throws a very catchable ball, he knows the system really well and a calmness he has that the guys rally around."

Duhart inherits the job that was vacated by current Oakland Raider rookie Greg Jenkins. Duhart played well in limited time as Jenkins' backup, completing 69 percent of his passes and throwing four touchdowns with no interceptions. He led ASU to a win over Prairie View last season.

Related: Check out our Alabama State preview.

 

SIAC, CIAA Well Represented On D2 Top 100

The start of the 2013 college football season is just a week away, but preseason awards are still rolling in. Over the past week, D2Football.com revealed it's Top 100 list. The SIAC and CIAA were well-represented with a total of eight players combined on the list. Check out the players who made the list below.


Carlos Fields returns to lead a veteran defense for Winston-Salem State (Winston-Salem Journal photo)


13. Carlos Fields, Winston-Salem State 

What they said: "Fields is the best defender in the CIAA. Not only was he named an All-American and CIAA Defensive Player of the Year with 117 tackles and nine tackles for loss, but he impressed me with his speed and ability to make plays in and out of the box. He was a second-team All-CIAA pick in 2011 with 81 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks."

Dexter Moody is a pick-pocket at free safety. 


22. Dexter Moody, Albany State

What they said: "You won't find better tools and ball skills at free safety in D2 as Moody returned two interceptions for touchdowns last year and had 7 total picks with 48 tackles to earn first-team All-SIAC honors after transferring from Georgia State."

32. LeRon Furr, Fort Valley State 

What they said: "There were rumors that he would come out early with a big year after he put up 32 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and 110 tackles while earning SIAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors and first-team All-America accolades in 2012 in his first year in D2."

After missing nearly all of 2012, Robert Holland is back for Chowan. (Roanoak-Chowan News Herald)


38. Robert Holland, Chowan 
What they said: "There is no doubt Holland would be higher if not coming off an injury as a three-time All-CIAA selection that had 914 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2011. Before his injury last year, he had a monster game in week one with 213 yards and three touchdowns (16.4ypc)."

47. Christopher Tolbert, Tuskegee 

"Tolbert is supposed to be at Arkansas State now but is dominating at Tuskegee where he uses his size well. He earned first-team All-SIAC honors at left tackle last year."

Wallace hopes to help Virginia Union improve on 2012's 5-5 record. (Fayetteville Observer)


62. Devin Wallace, Virginia Union

What they said:  "He had just one interception and eight pass breakups last year, but the former Virginia transfer should have a big year in 2012 as he got better as the year progressed."

Batchelor helped Chowan finish second in the CIAA North last year. 


88. T.J. Batchelor, Chowan

What They said: "Batchelor had one of the best seasons of any defensive linemen in the CIAA or nation last year with 77 tackles 20.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks to earn first-team All-CIAA honors."
Donnie Owens will be counted on heavily to help WSSU maintain it's status as a D2 power. (Winston-Salem Journal photo)

90. Donnie Owens, Winston-Salem State

What they said: "Somehow, Owens was snubbed from the first-team All-CIAA list, earning second team honors with 62 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and seven sacks when the season was finished."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Experience, Depth Give JSU Edge In SWAC East

Jackson State cornerback Qua Cox is one of the best defenders in the FCS this season. (Expanded Sports photo)

Conference: SWAC East
Coach: Rick Comegy
2012 Record: 7-5 (SWAC Runner-Up)
2013 Non-Conference Schedule:  Tulane, Tennessee State
2013 Classics: W.C. Gorden Classic (9/7 vs. Alabama State), Southern Heritage Classic (9/14 vs. Tennessee State)

Running back Tommy Gooden helped JSU rush for over 2,200 yards in 2012. (Advocate Photo)


Offense

Quarterback: We talked about quarterback battles in the MEAC on Monday, but there is no controversy here. Former Akron quarterback Clayton Moore had a solid first year at JSU last year, completing 127 of 246 pass attempts for 1,863 yards while leading the team to the SWAC East title and the championship game. He also finished second on the team in rushing 631 yards and 11 touchdowns. As long as he stays healthy, there is no question Moore is the guy.

Running Backs: The current roster shows only three running backs, but JSU fans shouldn't worry too much. The Tigers have the best rushing duo in the conference in Rakeem Sims and Tommy Gooden. The pair combined to rush for nearly 1400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012. Combine that with Moore and the team rushed for over 2,200 yards last season, good for second in the SWAC.

Receivers: Jackson State's passing game was also solid, ranking third in the SWAC with an average of over 214 yards per game. Last season's leading receiver, Rico Richardson, is now trying to make the final cut of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. Richardson's production (60 catches, 1123 yards and 11 touchdowns) won't be easy to replace, but the Tigers have a veteran group of receivers returning, led by Zach Pendleton. The 6'3 190 pound senior from Jackson, MS was a solid compliment to Richardson last year, catching 33 passes for 415 yards. Look for those numbers to jump this season.

Offensive Line: JSU's offensive line is a mix of youth and experience. The experience is largely concentrated on the outside, exemplified by preseason All-SWAC selection Jordan Arthur. The interior of the line, however, is another story. Other than guard Jonathan Smith and JUCO transfer Jaydell Roy, everyone else is either a true freshman or redshirt freshman. Two freshmen will also fight for the starting center spot. This will be a unit worth watching this season.


Ryan Griffin returns as one of the leaders for JSU's defense. (Advocate Photo)
Defense

JSU finished third in the SWAC in total defense last year, second in run defense.  However, the Tigers suffered big losses on the defensive line with the departure of Joseph LeBeau and Johnathan Billups. The defensive line is deep, at least numbers-wise, with thirteen defensive ends and tackles. None of those players put up particularly big numbers, though, so defensive line will be another area to watch as the season kicks off.

The best of a solid linebacker corp is Tedderick Terrell. The 6'2, 230 pound OLB/DE recorded 37 tackles, but nearly a third of them (10.5) came behind the line of scrimmage. Inside linebacker Todd Wilcher is the Tigers' leading returning tackler, as he recorded 64 tackles. Ryan Griffith is another outside linebacker to watch for JSU.

Despite ranking in the bottom half of SWAC pass defenses last year, the defensive backfield features several key players for JSU. It starts with cornerback Qua Cox, who is perhaps the best NFL prospect in all of HBCU football right now. Cox picked off five passes last season as a junior, and was named the preseason SWAC Defensive Player of The Year at media day. This 6'0, 185 redshirt senior will have the attention of offensive coordinators and quarterbacks all season. Whoever plays the other corner will undoubtedly be the target of most passing plays.

One of the big reason's Cox was able to go for those interceptions was the security blanket that Cameron Loeffler provided him. The JUCO transfer made an immediate impact his first year in Jackson, leading the team with 84 tackles (16 TFL) and 4.5 sacks. He also broke up five passes.

Outlook

JSU was only a few plays away from winning the SWAC title last season. A big pass play and a goaline fumble away as a matter of fact. Granted the losses on the defensive and offensive lines are not ideal, there is still plenty of talent in Jackson.

Looking at the schedule, the standout date is the Sept. 7 matchup with Alabama State. It's an early season game that could mean a lot by the end of the season. With so many new pieces in key positions at ASU, I like JSU at home. While I feel more comfortable picking Jackson State to win the SWAC, I don't know that there will be that much separation between the two schools. The could end up with identical records, let's say 7-4, the winner of that game would hold the tie breaker and represent the SWAC East.

Prediction: 8-3, SWAC East Champs





WSSU-A&T Renew Rivalry In War of Words


The rivalry between NC A&T and North Carolina A&T has been on the shelf for nearly three years. (NC A&T Photo)


The rivalry between North Carolina A&T and Winston-Salem State has been put on the shelf for almost three years, but apparently the fire still burns pretty hot. A blog post by the Winston-Salem Journal's John Dell about WSSU's wish to revive the currently-on-hiatus rivalry hit the internet last night and the back-and-forth began almost immediately. 

The athletic directors at both schools, Bill Hayes at WSSU and Earl Hilton at NC A&T both said that no discussions of reviving the rivalry have happened of late. But Hayes, who is owns the record for all-time wins by an A&T football coach, and WSSU coach Connell Maynor who played for both A&T and WSSU say they would like for the game to come back.

"We would love to start the rivalry up again with A&T and get a big-money game for both schools,” Maynor said. “I think the game has to be played. We need to get it back together and work it out and just play. Fans are always asking why we don’t play either Central or A&T, so we need to do it.”

One of the more controversial parts of the article was Hayes wish for a 40 percent guarantee on the gate for WSSU. That statement inspired this Youtube response from a current A&T student. 

It's been nearly three years since the two two teams last met on the football field, when Maynor led WSSU to 21-14 upset against his alma mater. That was the last of a five year stretch in which the two schools, separated by a few miles on Interstate-40, met each year. During four of those years, however, Winston-Salem State was in transition to Division I and a provisional member of the MEAC, the same conference A&T has belong to since 1970.


As always, there are two sides to this story. Many A&T fans feel that as the Division I school, the Aggies are in control of the situation, and if WSSU wants to play, it will have to do so in its terms. Conversely, many WSSU fans feel that A&T is dodging the matchup for fear of loss against at Division II program, albeit a powerful one. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.




The two schools are natural rivals, based on proximity and their status as state-funded institutions. I covered the first three WSSU-A&T matchups in the 21st century as a student reporter, and the atmosphere for that game was electric. One of the reasons I argued for WSSU to keep on the Division I route was the opportunity to play peer institutions like NC A&T, NCCU, Norfolk State and others. WSSU has had a lot of success at the Division II level, and it's hard to argue with success. Still, one has to wonder what this rivalry could become if the two teams played in the same conference, met every year and funded a similar number of scholarships.

Will we see these two teams play again? My guess is yes, but don't look for it to happen anytime soon. It doesn't look like either program is budging from what it feels like is a valid argument for the rivalry to be played on their terms. As long as this rivalry stays on the shelf, the real losers are the fans.


HBCU Gameday Podcast: NC HBCU Football In Focus









We finally did it. After toying around with the idea for months, the HBCU Gameday Podcast is now a reality. Our first show aired last night at 11 pm EST. We stuck to three simple subjects last night.

*The news of NCCU football coach Henry Frazier's arrest
*WSSU's new Division I transfers
*The John Dell blogpost regarding the status of the NC A&T/WSSU football game

This podcast will give voice to the fans, students and alumni of HBCUs regarding their programs. We hope to do the show at least twice a week, possibly on Tuesday's and Thursdays. More details to come.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Breaking News: NCCU's Frazier Suspended After Arrest

North Carolina Central coach Henry Frazier III was arrested on Aug. 19 by Durham County police for violating a domestic violence protective order. (Arrest.com photo)

Less than two weeks from the start of a new season, North Carolina Central's Henry Frazier is in the news for something other than his up-and-coming football squad. According to an online arrest database, the 45 year old head football coach was arrested by Durham County police on August 19 for violating a domestic violence protective order. He was released on $5,000 bond for the misdemeanor.

Frazier has been suspended with full pay according to the release by the university. It states:

"North Carolina Central University is aware of the arrest of Henry Frazier III, head football coach, on yesterday, August 19. Coach Frazier has been suspended with full pay in accordance with university policies and procedures while the matter is being investigated by legal authorities. Dwayne Foster, assistant head coach, will serve as acting head football coach. "

Frazier's arrest comes less than 18 months after he was originally arrested for allegedly assaulting his then-wife in their Morrisville, NC home. Frazier was reinstated that July, and led the Eagles to a 6-5 record in 2012. 

UPDATE:

Late Tuesday night, the Durham-Herald Sun posted an updated story by NCCU beat writer John McCann. McCann talked to attorney Rodney Frazier, who represents the coach. Frazier says that his client had no physically contact with his ex-wife Lanier Turner-Frazier, the individual whom the order was created to protect. 

According to Frazier's attorney, Frazier's son delivered a note to his ex-wife regarding a proposed payment adjustment of their alimony agreement based off payment for a parking ticket.
"In the note, Frazier, in a non-threatening way, explained that he’d taken care of the ticket and would deduct what he paid from Turner-Frazier’s alimony, Frasier said. The letter was hand-delivered by the son, in keeping with “the pattern of practice” that Frazier and Turner-Frazier have used since their separation to communicate about financial matters, Frasier said."
North Carolina Central will open the 2013 season against cross-town rival Duke in the Bull City Gridiron Classic.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Several MEAC QB Spots Up For Grabs

Sophomore Kwashaun Quick has emerged as a contender for the A&T quarterback job. (NC A&T photo)

North Carolina A&T: Last season NC A&T finished with its best season since 2003 with less-than-stellar quarterback play. Lewis Kindle started most of the team's games, but threw for just three touchdowns while tossing 11 interceptions. Still the senior appeared to be the favorite until off-the-field problems got him suspended from the team in July. Kindle is back with the team now, but that doesn't mean his spot is safe. Here are the contenders:

*Lewis Kindle, senior has a 10-10 record as a starter
*Kwashaun Quick, started four games as a freshman last season, throwing one touchdown and four interceptions
*Jordan Dawson, the true freshman from Cary, NC is the son a 10 year NFL vet
*Oluwafemi Bamiro, this DC product redshirted last season

Tedarius Wiley has emerged as a challenger to Richard Cue as SC State quarterback. (TheTandd.com photo)
South Carolina State: South Carolina State was picked to finish second in the MEAC at the annual media day, but that doesn't mean the Bulldogs will play it safe. Last year the team struggled with consistency, finishing 5-6 in 2012. No one was more inconsistent than quarterback Richard Cue. Cue has spent the last few days splitting time with Tedarius Wiley. Three weeks away from the start of the season, head coach Buddy Pough says he doesn't know who will start for SC State, but he anticipates both quarterbacks will get their chance in live action.

“As far as the actual battle between the two, I kind of think that we’re going to probably end up playing two. I really do. We’ve just got to figure that out. That’s a hard thing to do, but we’ve got to figure it out because I believe both of those guys deserve to play.”



Tidewater native Tyler Clark transferred from Old Dominion to Norfolk State. (HamptonRoads.com photo)

Norfolk State: Last season quarterback play was a big problem for NSU as Spartan quarterbacks combined to throw 21 interceptions. Nico Flores, last season's leading passer, is academically ineligible, so that means someone will have to emerge as the starter. Norfolk State has some talented playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, so quarterback play could propel this team towards the top of the MEAC, or keep it near the bottom. The candidates for the job are:

*Tyler Clark, a 6'6 lefty transfer from Old Dominion
*Malik Stokes, a dual threat transfer from Bowling Green,
*Omari Simmons, a former JUCO QB

Coatesville (PA) High product Emmett Hunt is one of four players vying to start at quarterback for Delaware State this fall. (DailyLocal.com photo)

Delaware State: The Hornets have the unenviable task of replacing Nick Elko, the reigning MEAC Offensive Player of The Year at quaterback. DSU head coach Kermit Blount says the competition is still open. Whoever winds up the starter, they'll be working with a crew of receivers vastly different than the group Elko had. The candidates for the job are:

*Cory Murphy, a former JUCO star who served as Elko's backup last year
*Esayah Obado, passed for 3,690 yards and 42 touchdowns in his prep career
*Emmett Hunt, the 6-2, 210-pound Hunt threw for 3,113 yards and 44 TDs as a high school senior
*Garrison Duncan, passed for 1,510 yards, rushed for 1,405 and accounting for 34 touchdowns as a senior at East Forsyth HS

Jaylian "J.J." Williamson is one of the players hoping to start at quarterback for the Pirates. (Daily Press photo)
Hampton: 2012 was another down year for Hampton, and inconsistency at the quarterback position played a big role in that. Last year's leading passer, Travis Champion, passed for just eight touchdowns while throwing 11 interceptions before leaving the program. Here are the candidates to replace him.

*Brian Swain, a 6'0 sophomore who is also the team's leading returning rusher
*Jaylian Williamson, the 5'10 sophomore pulled of a win in his lone start of the 2012 season against Savannah State.








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Steven J. Gaither is a multimedia journalist and founder of HBCU Gameday. Steven began covering HBCU Sports nearly a decade ago as a student at Winston-Salem State University. His work can also be found at The Shadow League, Diverse Issues In Higher Education and Slam Online.