Along with a new football season comes new goals, expectations and faces. Currently freshman football students are trying to transition from a high school to college football team.
Each year the University brings new Rattlers to the nest in order to make a “complete football team, ” said head football coach Joseph Taylor. “Each year we recruit based on need,” Joseph said. “Our coaches did a great job of evaluating the new players – they are very talented.”
Lavante Paige, a freshman running back from Atlanta, said the coaches reached out to him. “They showed me love,” Paige said.
Sean Rush, a safety from San Diego, said he sent a tape to FAMU coaching staff and signed to the university without even visiting.
“I wanted to go to an HBCU and a school in florida,” Rush explained.
Although the new players have impressed the football staff, for some it was still an intimidating experience.
“The hardest adjustments our student athletes are faced with is not on the field, it’s being away from home,” Taylor said. “They have to make decisions on their own and be responsible.”
Taylor said student athletes are also expected to produce on the field and more importantly in the classroom.
“This group of freshmen is very skilled on the field and good students,” Taylor said. “They understand the importance of education.”
Taylor said in addition to taking care of their responsibilities in the classroom, it is important that athletes display their skills and execute on the gridiron.
Playing football on a high school level is very different than playing on the collegiate level, according to Sean Rush.
“Everybody is big and fast…success all depends on who works the hardest,” Rush said.
“The intensity and speed is serious,” Paige said.
Despite the game’s speed and intensity, the players are expected to adjust and succeed at the college level.
Steve Brazzle, 21, a junior criminal justice student from Coatesville Pa. said some freshman have the experience to play and not be red shirted.
“Freshmen work hard and have motors that keep going,” Brazzle said.
The new freshman players plan on bringing their own style and contributing to the team in many different ways.
“I’m a good impact on special teams,” said Rush. “I bring attitude and hustle.”
Paige’s style of play was displayed in the Alabama State University when he scored the first touchdown of his collegiate career.
“It felt good to score in this environment,” Paige said.
Paige said when he steps on the field his adrenaline starts to rush.
“When I get out on the field, I’m zoned out,” Paige said. “I bring toughness, swagger and hard-nosed Georgia style of play.”