BCSP Begins 16th Year
What to watch in 2009 football
The preseason football events are over. The players reported
to camp this week and are on the practice fields pulling two-a-days.
The smell of football is in the air!
So, here we go again! What broadcaster Mark Gray
calls, 'the black national pastime,' is about
to jump off.
Black college football 2009 officially kicks off when
Tuskegee travels to Benedict on August
22 for a 6 p.m. showdown.
Until then, let us catch you up on a couple things to look for as
we come up on the end of the first decade of black college football
in the 2000s.
We'll miss you, Steve McNair
This week's edition begins our 16th year of publishing the
Black College Sports Page. It's hard to believe it's been
that long since the late great Steve McNair
of Alcorn State graced the top box of the first edition of
the BCSP in August 1994, the beginning of his final year of
No player on the black college scene, football or otherwise,
has come close to accomplishing what he did. Nor are we likely to
see another one like him breaking and setting records for offensive
prowess that still stand today, finishing third in the Heisman Trophy
voting, and being the third pick in the NFL Draft.
McNair will continue to be the yardstick by which all others
Another special talent
But there's a guy down in Tallahassee, Florida playing for
Florida A&M that may put some in the
mind of the man they called "Air."
He certainly doesn't have the gaudy stats or high profile
career McNair had entering his final season at Alcorn State, and no one,
to my knowledge, has constructed or is pondering (hint to FAMU SID
Alvin Hollins) a Heisman Trophy PR campaign, but FAMU senior
quarterback Curtis Pulley has that rare combination of size (6-4, 200),
speed, arm strength and talent that comes along at the quarterback position
in black college football about once every about 20 years.
Just last season, after joining the Rattlers two weeks before
the season started, and only becoming the starter for the last six
games, Pulley played well enough (98 of 178, 55.1%, 17 TDs, 3 ints.,
118 carries, 885 yards, 7 TDs) and impressive enough to earn first
team all-MEAC. That was likely just a sampling
This is what his head coach, Joe
Taylor, had to say about Pulley at last week's MEAC kickoff
press luncheon in Newport News, Va.
"You don't see a guy like this at this level too often. Not only
does he have a strong arm, but he's very athletic. When the pocket is
breaking down, he has the ability to make something out of nothing. But
then too, he's a good leader and he's a great competitor. He's one of
those guys that the bigger the stage the better he plays. He's definitely
a difference-maker. We're just glad he's on our side."
Bottom line see Curtis Pulley
play. You won't be disappointed.
More to watch
While many eyes will be on Pulley, save some eye-time for
South Carolina State running back
Will Ford has rushed for 752, 1,433 and 1,499 yards in his
three seasons with the Bulldogs (3,684 total) and enters his senior
season needing less than 1,000 yards to become the MEAC's all-time
leading rusher. The mark of 4,648 yards was set in 2006 by
Hampton RB Alonzo Coleman.
Got an e-mail from SIAC sage Hal Lamar
saying, Morehouse, not Albany State
(who the coaches picked), nor three-time champ
Tuskegee will win that conference. The reason, according to Hal
the Maroon Tigers' 6-1, 220-pound senior quarterback
Brack pulled off a Pulley (a la FAMU's Curtis) finishing just
the final three games last season as the starter for Morehouse. During
that stretch he brilliantly engineered wins over Albany State,
Stillman and Kentucky State brilliant
enough to earn him the preseason nod this season as first team all-SIAC QB.
It's becoming old hat by now, but Prairie View
head coach Henry Frazier has beaten every other
team in the SWAC except Grambling
State. Last year's State Fair Classic in Dallas, where the two meet
each year, began with Prairie View jumping out to a 9-0 lead. Four GSU
QB Greg Dillon TD passes later and the Panthers bowed again, 40-16.
Pencil in Oct. 3 when they meet this year in Dallas.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Texas Southern senior do-everything William Osbourne was second in the nation in all-purpose
yards with 2,308, 192.3 yards per game. Osbourne (82 rec., 1,092 yds., 7
TDs) also was one of the SWAC's three 1,000-yard receivers. The others
are Juamorris Stewart of Southern (76 rec., 1,138 yds., 12 TDs) and Thomas Harris of Alabama A&M (72 rec., 1, 208 yds., 7 TDs). One
other returning black college receiver knocked on the 1,000-yard door,
but didn't get in Jeremy Franklin of Johnson C. Smith (64 rec., 984 yds., 9 TDs).
In addition to Ford, the
returning 1,000-yard rushers include: DeAngelo Branche of Norfolk State (1,055 yds., 10 TDs), Donald Babers of Prairie View (1.085
yds., 11 TDs), Devan James of Morgan State (1,320 yds., 8 TDs), Taron Hampton of Virginia State (1,067 yds., 8 TDs) and Winston Thompson of Clark Atlanta (1,234, 5 TDs).
A bevy of kick returners will be showcased this year.
Florida A&M kick returner LeRoy Vann, who's made several preseason FCS all-American teams after bringing back three punts and three kickoffs for touchdowns last season, is the ringleader.
Perhaps you don't know about Fayetteville State RB/KR Richard Medlin who led all of Div. II averaging 41.6 yards per kickoff return and brought two back for scores. Medlin also rushed for 688 yards and 10 scores for the Broncos. Shaw running back Raymond Williams also brought back two kickoffs for scores while rushing for 768 yards and 8 TDs for the CIAA champion Bears.
© 2009 Azeez Communications, Inc.