Honoring HBCU Football’s Best

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: December 15, 2009

NEW YORK (BASN) — For most of the 2009 season, the Bulldogs of South Carolina State have not only been one of the best teams in black college football, but one of the nation’s best teams in FCS football as well.

You can now call them National Champions as well. Buddy Pough’s squad was tabbed as the No.

1 team in the final BoxToRow.com/BASN HBCU Media Poll released on Monday.

The two-time defending MEAC champions received all but four first-place votes.

The Bulldogs’ 10-2 record marked the sixth time an SCSU team has earned 10 victories in a season and matched the best-ever marks of the 1976 and 1980 teams.

The year was also one in which a number of school records were established and one league record tumbled.

Prairie View A&M (9-1), fresh off winning the SWAC title last weekend, received the other four first-place votes and finished second in the final poll. The Panthers, who completed an incredible turnaround under Henry Frazier, won their first conference crown since 1964.

The rest of the top five included Florida A&M (8-3) at three, SIAC champion Tuskegee (10-2) at number four, and SWAC runner-up Alabama A&M (7-5) at five.

The Golden Tigers, who ended the season with a six-game winning streak, closed out their sixth consecutive season of 10 or more victories with another victory in Pioneer Bowl XI earlier this month.

The remainder of the final media poll has Grambling State (7-4) at six, Albany State (8-3) at seven, Norfolk State (7-4) eight, Shaw (8-2) at nine, and Morgan State (6-5) rounds out the poll at number 10.

FINAL BOXTOROW.COM/BASN HBCU MEDIA TOP 10 POLL (Records through December 12th) School W-L Pts LW 1. South Carolina State (11) 10-2 146 1 2. Prairie View A&M (4) 9-1 138 2 3. Florida A&M 8-3 112 3 4. Tuskegee 10-2 100 4 5. Alabama A&M 7-5 76 7 6. Grambling State 7-4 69 8 7. Albany State 8-3 51 6 8. Norfolk State 7-4 47 10 9. Shaw 8-2 38 9 10.

Morgan State 6-5 18 NR Other receiving votes: Southern (6-5) 17, Fayetteville State (8-4) 15, Elizabeth City State (7-4) 7, Texas Southern (6-5) 6, Benedict (8-3) 4, Hampton (5-6) 2, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (5-5) 1.

FORD, ANTHONY HIGHLIGHT ALL-AMERICA TEAM; FRAZIER NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR Following their stellar 2009 campaigns, it’s no surprise that Grambling State defensive end Christian Anthony and South Carolina State running back William Ford lead the Boxtorow.com/BASN All-American team as chosen by selected members of the media that cover Black College Football.

The team is comprised of 25 of the top HBCU football players in the country.

Christian Anthony

Christian Anthony

Anthony, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound native of Birmingham, Ala., was voted the 2009 BTRC/BASN Defensive Player of the Year. This is his second-straight season making the squad. He led the SWAC in solo tackles (55) as he tied for sixth in the conference with 76 tackles.

He was third in the conference in sacks (8.0), second in tackles for loss (15.0), and was the only defensive linemen in the country with five interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns.

Anthony also led the SWAC in forced fumbles (5) and fumbles recovered (3). He was also tabbed as the SWAC’s Defensive Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award for the best defensive player in FCS.

Will Ford

Will Ford

As for Ford, who was tabbed as the BTRC/BASN Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior from Travelers Rest, S.C. became the MEAC’s and Bulldog’s all-time leading rusher this season producing 1,010 rushing yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry with 8 TDs.

He became the MEAC’s all-time leading rusher with 4,650 career rushing yards, surpassing the mark of Hampton’s Alonzo Coleman (4,648) set in 2006. Ford finished eighth in voting for the Walter Payton Award for the best offensive player in FCS.

Joining Ford in the BTRC/BASN backfield is a pair of standout senior performers — Florida A&M quarterback Curtis Pulley and Alabama A&M running back Ulysses Banks.

Pulley led the MEAC in total offense with 2,705 yards and ranked third in rushing and passing. He completed 60-percent of his passes (137-of-226) for 1,824 yards and 12 touchdowns. He rushed for 881 yards on 122 carries and 6 TDs.

The 6-foot-4, 20-pound Hopkinsville, Ky. native earned five conference Offensive Player of the Week honors and was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award.

Banks led the SWAC in rushing with 1,123 yards and was tabbed as an All-SWAC first-team selection for the third time in his career. In 2006, he was the nation’s top kick returner and earned SWAC Freshman of the Year honors.

As a sophomore, he was a first-team running back.

Both Banks and Ford have a teammate featured on the BTRC/BASN offensive line. SCSU’s Johnny Culbreath and AAMU’s Xavier Manuel, both all league selections, are part of this season’s five-man blocking unit.

Manuel was the only unanimous BTRC/BASN selection.

Joining the 6-foot-6, 310-pound Culbreath and the 6-foot-1, 307-pound Manuel are seniors Robert Okeafor of Florida A&M (6-foot-4, 295) and Grambling State’s Revay Smith (6-foot-1, 305), as well as 6-foot-6, 350-pound junior Joseph Ephrem of Albany State.

The receiving corps is led by senior wide receiver Juamorris Stewart of Southern as he led all HBCU players in receiving yards (1,385) and had 76 receptions with 12 TDs.

The other choice is South Carolina State’s Oliver “Tre” Young, who led the MEAC in catches (65), receiving yards (995) and set Bulldog career records for receiving yards (2,064) and catches (128), was also chosen at wide out.

The tight end is Langston’s Tony Cotton, who was All-CSFL for the second straight season. The 6-2, 215, Sr. from Kelly, Ok., led all HBCU tight ends in receiving yards (601), while recording 35 receptions and 5 TDs.

Defensively, Anthony is joined on the line by 6-foot-6, 240-pound Marcus Crump from Saint Augustine’s, Stillman’s Junior Galette (6-foot-2, 255 pounds), and 6-foot, 244-pound Jeremy Maddox of Alabama A&M.

Crump ended his senior season ranked second in the CIAA in sacks (10) and third in tackles for loss (15). Nationally, he was tied for seventh in sacks and tied for 25th in tackles for loss.

Galette led the SIAC with 9.5 sacks on the season He also recorded three forced fumbles, and 17.5 tackles for loss. Maddox, a two-time All-SWAC selection, was second in all of FCS in sacks with 12.

He was also a nominee for the Buck Buchanan Award.

The linebacker corps featured two defensive players of the year in George Howard of Morgan State (led the MEAC in tackles with 130) and West Virginia State’s Andrew Eggleton (led the WVIAC in tackles with 109).

The third linebacker is Alabama State’s Adrian Hardy who finished with 104 tackles this season leading both the team and the SWAC. His average of 9.5 stops per game also led the league and ranked him 34th in the nation.

The BTRC/BASN secondary includes Anthony Beck of Prairie View A&M, Southern’s Jason House, Quintez Smith of Shaw, and Norfolk State’s Terrell Whitehead, a 2008 BTRC/BASN returnee.

This quintet combined for 27 interceptions and over 200 tackles. House led the nation in interceptions (10) while Smith recorded nine and returned four for touchdowns.

Beck and Whitehead are two of the premier safeties in the country.

Florida A&M All-American return specialist Leroy Vann leads the BTRC/BASN specialist’s squad. Joining Vann is Grambling State freshman kicker Ari Johnson and Hampton senior punter Jahmal Blanchard, another BTRC/BASN 2008 returnee.

The 5-foot-9, 182-pound Vann returned five punts for touchdowns in 2009 and finished his career as the fifth player in FCS history to record over 1,000 yards on both kickoff and punt returns.

He also led the nation in punt return yards (569).

Johnson, who was named the BTRC/BASN Rookie of the Year, led all Black college field goal kickers and was fifth in the nation in made field goals (18) and led the SWAC in scoring (90 points).

He also connected on 78.3 percent of his field goals. A three-time All-MEAC selection, Blanchard ranked third in the nation in punting average (43.9).

Henry Frazier

Henry Frazier

In his sixth season at the helm of the Prairie View A&M program, Henry Frazier was named BTRC/BASN Coach of the Year. Frazier guided the Panthers to their first SWAC Championship title since 1964 with a 30-24 victory over Alabama A&M in the SWAC Championship Game.

The Panthers finished the season 9-1.

In its third year, The BoxToRow.com/BASN HBCU Football Media Poll and All-American team is a collaboration between DWCommunications, LLC, the parent company of the nationally syndicated sports talk show FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW and www.boxtorow.com , and The Black Athlete Sports Network, the leader in the coverage of African-American athletes in the world of sports.

The voters are comprised of some of America’s top writers and media members who cover Black College Football.

Note: The final Boxtorow.com/BASN FCS Coaches Top 10 Poll presented by Classics Sports Radio Network will be released on Monday, December 21.

2009 BoxToRow.com/BASN HBCU All-America Team

OFFENSE

QB: Curtis Pulley, Florida A&M, 6-4, 200, r-Sr., Hopkinsville, Ky.

RB: Ulysses Banks, Alabama A&M, 5-11, 200, Sr., Birmingham, Ala.

RB: William Ford, South Carolina State, 5-11, 185, Sr., Travelers Rest, S.C.** OL: Xavier Manuel, Alabama A&M, 6-1, 307, Sr., Vineger Bend, Ala.

OL: Robert Okeafor, Florida A&M, 6-4, 295, Sr., Jacksonville, Fla.* OL: Johnny Culbreath, South Carolina State, 6-6, 310, r-Jr., Monroe, Ga.

OL: Revay Smith, Grambling State, 6-1, 305, Sr., Port Allen, La.

OL: Joseph Ephrem, Albany State, 6-6, 350, Jr., Troy, Ill.

TE: Tony Cotton, Langston, 6-1, 210, Sr., Kellyville, Ok.

WR: Juamorris Stewart, Southern, 6-3, 195, Sr., Baton Rouge, La.* WR: Oliver “Tre” Young, South Carolina State, 6-1, 180, Sr., Charleston, S.C.

DEFENSE DL: Christian Anthony, Grambling State, 6-4, 246, Sr., Birmingham, Ala.* DL: Marcus Crump, St.

Augustine’s, 6-6, 240, Sr., Pittsboro, N.C.

DL: Junior Galette, Stillman, 6-2, 255, Sr., Spring Valley, N.Y.

DL: Jeremy Maddox, Alabama A&M, 6-0, 244, Sr., Grand Bay, Ala.

LB: George Howard, Morgan State, 6-1, 245, Sr., Chesapeake, Va.

LB: Adrian Hardy, Alabama State, 6-2, 197, Sr., Selma, Tex.

LB: Andrew Eggleton, West Virginia State, 5-11, 215, Sr., St. Albans, W.V.

DB: Anthony Beck, Prairie View A&M, 5-11, 175, Sr., Channelview, Tex.

DB: Jason House, Southern, 6-0, 190, R-Jr., Laurel, Miss.

DB: Quintez Smith, Shaw, 6-1, 195, Sr., Dublin, Ga.

DB: Terrell Whitehead, Norfolk State, 6-2, 200, Sr., Virginia Beach, Va.* SPECIALISTS PK: Ari Johnson, Grambling State, 5-11, 180, Fr., Corona, Calif.

P: Jahmal Blanchard, Hampton 6-3, 182, Sr., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.* KR: LeRoy Vann, Florida A&M, 5-9, 182, Sr., Tampa, Fla.* HONORABLE MENTION Offense QB: Bryant Lee, Southern; K.J. Black. Prairie View A&M.

RB: Donald Babers, Prairie View A&M; Demetric Johnson, Albany State; Quinn Porter, Stillman.

OL: Colin Cordell, Fort Valley State; Ramone Harewood, Morehouse; Gabriel Manns, N.C. Central; Edawn Coughman, Shaw; Dylan Stivers, Elizabeth City State.

TE: Warren Matthews, Southern; Lamont Bryant, Morgan State.

WR: Chris Bell, Norfolk State; Antoin Mitchell, Tuskegee; Robert Holland, Chowan; Thomas Harris, Alabama A&M.

Defense DL: Brandon Fortune, Virginia State; Malcolm Jenkins, Elizabeth City State; Dexter Jackson, Bethune-Cookman; Justin Lawrence, Morgan State; Tyrell Henderson, Kentucky State.

LB: David Erby, South Carolina State; Marcos Esquivel, Fayetteville State; Cliff Exama, Grambling State; Julio Sanchez, Hampton.

DB: Phillip Adams, South Carolina State; Eugene Clifford, Tennessee State; Malcolm Palmer, Jackson State; Justin Hamilton, Elizabeth City State; Justin Hannah, Tuskegee; Mario Fuller, Albany State.

Specialists PK: Austin Turner, Fayetteville State; Trevor Scott, Florida A&M; Blake Erickson, South Carolina State.

P: Pedro Ventura, Prairie View A&M.

KR: An’Thon Harris, Fort Valley State *2008 Boxtorow.com/BASN All-American ** 2008 Boxtorow.com/BASN Offensive Player of the Year AWARDS

Coach of the Year: Henry Frazier, Prairie View A&M Offensive Player of the Year: RB William Ford, South Carolina State Defensive Player of the Year: DL Christian Anthony, Grambling State Rookie of the Year: PK Ari Johnson, Grambling State